This walk through the heart of Paris will evoke the World War 2 “dark years” and the days from August 20 to August 26, 1994, when Paris’s uprising led, by the Resistance, ushered in the liberation of the city, with the support of the U.S. 4th infantry division.
During this 3-hour walking tour, discover the Parisians’ everyday life during the German occupation, as well as the German soldiers and the Resistance fighters’ daily struggles. How was the “black market” ruled? How did people live clandestinely? What role did the police and the French authorities play? Answers to these crucial questions will be provided by a WWII expert historian, while going from the Opera House district to the Tuileries Gardens, from the Louvre to Notre-Dame cathedral, and to some more surprising locations…
You’ll meet your guide in front of the Garnier Opera House, the embodiment of Parisian nocturnal pleasure. Discover also how this mecca of entertainment was used by the Resistance. Although Hitler did not like Paris, he decided that every soldier and officer in the German army should be granted a 3-day leave to the City of Lights. Activities in the program included: concerts, cinema, fun with French girls…
Get into a fascinating part of history with this World War 2 tour!
Then, head towards Place Vendôme and listen to the story of the celebration of the liberation of Paris by war correspondent Ernest Hemingway. Not far, on Rue de Rivoli, you’ll see the hotel windows behind which the Germans surrendered to the Allied forces. Terrible fights took place between the latter and the last German troops in the Tuileries Gardens and around the Carrousel du Louvre.
Your next step is the Ile de la Cité, where the institutional buildings had been displaying swastika flags since 1940. In the Prefecture, some policemen arrested Jews, Resistance fighters, and black marketers. In neighboring offices, others warned discreetly about the next morning’s arrests and gave the Resistance information about current inquiries and stakeouts. In the courthouse, French judges applied Vichy laws; along with German military judges, they pronounced massive numbers of death penalties.
Facing Notre-Dame, you’ll remember General de Gaulle’s famous speech before wandering across the Latin Quarter. You’ll certainly be emotional when spotting a significant number of commemorative plaques, honoring the courage of fallen men and women who were killed fighting for Freedom. That’s also the district where many American soldiers were accommodated in the weeks following August 25. They got permission to play their music only in bars’ cellars. That’s how liberated Paris soon entered the jazz era.
And if you are passionate about Paris and WWII history and want to go deeper into it, have a look at: Normandy Tour from Paris by luxury van!