Today's post comes from my awesome assistant and Community Manager over at Time Traveler Tours & Tales, Caitlin Hoffman. Caitlin (bio here) has been fascinated by history for as long as I've known her. We met when she was a high school student at the International School of Paris. From there she went on to read History at Royal Holloway, University of London. For her high school senior thesis (those of you who are IB aware will know it as the Extended Essay), Caitlin researched and wrote about the US's little known 23rd HQ Special Troops, whose main mission was to deceive the Nazi army with inflatable tanks and fake radio transmissions.
No wonder they were referred to as the Ghost Army!
Caitlin knows so many great tales and tidbits of trivia about World War II, especially from the French perspective. So on this occasion of the 70th anniversary of D-Day, I asked her to share a few.
Thanks, Caitlin, for this thoroughly enjoyable post!
70 Years On... Paris and the Legacy of D-Day
Living in Paris, I am always impressed by the little nods that the city gives to those who fought in World War 2. You see it in the very fabric of the city. So next time you’re in Paris look out for these reminders:
The Ringing of the Sirens
On the first Wednesday of every month, air raid sirens can be heard throughout the streets of Paris. Don’t worry - they aren’t preparing against an invasion. It’s meant as a tribute to the city under occupation. It also has the bonus side effect of testing out the equipment.
Next time you’re having a stroll, listen out for the siren that stands out oddly against the bustling sound of a modern city.
If you’ve been to Paris before then odds are you have either seen or been up the Eiffel Tower, but have you ever looked closely at the building way across from it, on the other side of the Champs de Mars?
The Ecole Militaire, also known as the French Military School, has some interesting stories to tell. During the liberation of Paris in August 1944, the Nazis were convinced that hiding in beautiful old buildings would stop them from getting bombed.
They were right, but this didn’t stop the French Resistant fighters from engaging in guerrillawarfare. In fact, you can still see the bullet holes on the side of the building today!
It’s the only monument in Paris that has kept them as a reminder of the fierce fight for liberation.
The Writing on the Wall
On almost every residential building in Paris you can see a plaque on a wall. Sometimes it’s about a famous person who once lived there, but often it’s dedicated to a fallen French soldier during the Second World War.
Next to the plaque is usually a metal ring, which during national holidays holds bouquets of flowers. It gives the city a colorful tinge as you walk down the street, reminding us to celebrate the freedom that these individuals lost their lives for.
You can follow these plaques around Paris like bread crumbs, piecing together the entire war from occupation to liberation.
Let’s hope that humankind never forgets. But if the memory begins to fade, Paris has thousands of reminders.
That’s right, as we slip into 2014, Team Time Traveler Tours & Tales is finally official. And in the lead up to the launch of our new company website (coming soon!), we would like to introduce you to each and all of our members.
Today we present the ever talented and wicked smart new Administrative Assistant & Community Manager:
Caitlin L. Hoffman!
Please click “comments” to the right of this post to add your applause and comments of welcome and congratulations!
Caitlin left the U.K. in 2012 with a BA in History in her hip pocket and a burning desire to apply her passion for the past to new digital media for educational purposes. She set out to cultivate experiences that would enable her combine these personal interests in a professional capacity. Since then, she’s been developing her communications chops and new media skills at a variety of internships in museums and non-profit organizations in New York, London, and Rome.
When she learned that Time Traveler Tours & Tales was looking for a Community Manager, she saw an opportunity to join a start up with a winning concept focused on history, digital media, and education (just her thing!), as well as a great excuse to return to her birth city: Paris, France.
Caitlin is comfortable and capable on a range of social media platforms. In her now three weeks with Team TTT&T she has already made a huge difference in helping to keep our communications frequent and on point and our messaging solid. Her French-English bilingualism and bi-culturalism will prove an asset to the further expansion of TTT&T bilingual products in France as she will also assist in copy-editing and preparing marketing materials for both Anglophone and francophone audiences.
A keen learner, Caitlin is dedicated to keeping up with the latest trends in the digital arena. She stays active on all her social media channels, as well as now the TTT&T’s. She even has her own blog. Be certain to check her out there!
Welcome to the Team, Caitlin! Looking forward to making history together!