14 July, Bastille Day—in happier times a day of national celebration—was observed as a day of mourning throughout France, this week in the war, 1940.
In London, General de Gaulle laid a wreath at the Cenotaph and inspected soldiers of the Free French army.
His cries of “Vive l’Angleterre!” and “Vive la France!” were picked up and swept through the crowd.
In the Free Zone, the ceremonies held at the war memorials were small and sad. In the Occupied Zone, the Germans had outlawed the national tri-colour flag and forbade the singing of the Marseillaise.
This cover of Charles Glass’ Americans in Paris depicts Wehrmacht officers relaxing in a Parisian café, Bastille Day, 1940.
The book abounds with fascinating sketches of Paris during World War II: the Shakespeare & Company bookshop where Hemingway was one of the original ‘bunnies’ (from the French word abonné, meaning ‘subscriber/borrower’), the remarkable 22-year-old Polly Peabody, the débrouillarde [i.e. resourceful—the compliment was paid to her by Marshal Pétain, no less] American who had travelled through the chaos of Europe as Clare Boothe Luce had done a few weeks earlier; plus how life went on in general for US expats living in the ‘City of Light’.