Last Tuesday, June 18, was the first day of Carcassonne’s umbrellas above our pedestrian street in La Bastide! They’ll be there for about three months. This is only the second year that the city has done this, and people love it! They shade us from the sun, protect us (a little bit) from the rain, are fabulous in photos, and add so much summer color!

And this is the first year that the city has also decorated Rue de Verdun (our main street through La Bastide) plus many other side streets. So festive!

Also on June 18, walking home across Square Gambetta, I stumbled upon this celebration, with a children’s choir, speakers, local and regional dignitaries, and the laying of flowers at the foot of our (WWII) Monument to the Resistance and Deportation. I learned from a friend that the ceremony is the annual commemoration of the June 18, 1940 Resistance speech of Charles de Gaulle (who was not well known at the time) after France fell to the Nazis on June 14, 1940.

De Gaulle strongly opposed the French politicians who wanted to sign an armistice (truce) with Nazi Germany; he was forced to flee to London because of his opposition, and his speech (delivered from London) is considered to be the origin of the French Resistance to the Nazi occupation. Unfortunately, the France/Nazi armistice was signed June 22, 1940 (the French perpetrators were later found guilty of high treason and sentenced to death.) It took more than four excruciatingly difficult years, but fortunately, the Nazis surrendered in Paris and Paris was liberated on Aug. 25, 1944.