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I Love Paris, but... - The Traveling Alphabet

I Love Paris, but…

Paris is a beautiful city with stunning sights of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, exquisite museums like the Louvre or Musee de Orsay, and culinary delights such as croissants and macaroons. But, it is the place where I was most concerned for our security.

Rarely while in Central America, South America, or Africa did I worry about our safety. Even in the Middle East, while I was aware of our surroundings, I was not majorly concerned. But Paris was different. People (really my mom) were worried about us visiting Israel and Lebanon but I knew there was a likely a greater risk in France. Just watch the news and you will hear about more terrorist bombs in France, England, Belgium, or Germany than most other places. In fact, yesterday there was an ISIS fanatic who killed 3 people in Belgium and there have been several terrorist activities in France and Germany while we’ve been away. The odds, however, of getting caught in a terrorist act are so low but the chance of being pick pocketed or caught in a demonstration is high. Especially in Paris.

Today as we were going through Passport Control and getting ready to leave this beautiful city on the 9:13 a.m. train to London, a gentleman came over the loud speaker and said (in French of course), “Please evacuate the terminal.” Police and military presence increased and forced us out of the building to a more secure area because of a ‘suspicious bag.’ We later learned some dumb ass (my term) tried to carry an antique missile through security in his suitcase. In case you were unaware,

You cannot take a missile through security!

After an hour of standing around we went back through Check-In, Security, and Passport Control. It was a fitting way to end our time in Paris because our first day started with tear gas and a riot just around the corner from our apartment. As Audrey and I went out for a walk (yes, we left the kids home alone) we noticed over 40 police vans (not cars, but vans) rushing down the street with sirens blaring and over a hundred police officers surrounded the area. I asked a local what was going on and he nonchalantly said,

“Oh it’s France, probably just some protesters wanting to work less or get more money.”

We left after seeing clouds of tear gas penetrate the air. We later read in the newspaper that the local was correct.

A few hours earlier as we were on the metro, someone tried to pickpocket me. Decker noticed it and I felt it. Fortunately my pockets were zipped so nothing was lost. Another teachable moment about safety on metros and keeping an eye on each other.

It’s a beautiful city and one I love visiting but I feel safer as we take the first-class train through the Chunnel. We will be in London for 9 days before heading to Washington D.C. for our final week of the trip. On June 16 we fly home.

Stop by our house on June 23 from 2:00 – 5:00 for our Open House if you are in the area as we would love to see you.

Bryan Gillette

Bryan Gillette is the founder and principal consultant for Summiting Group focusing on Leadership and Organizational Development. He has traveled extensively for both work and personal reasons visiting almost 60 countries and 40 United States. He is an avid runner and cyclist and ran 200 miles around Lake Tahoe in 76 hours as well as cycled across the United States. He recently spent one year traveling the world with his family.

This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. Brian, what an adventure you’ve all been on. I’ve loved reading each and every one of your posts and hope to talk to you about it one day. If there is any way we can swing being in Northern Ca on June 23, I’ll do it! Stay safe and enjoy these last few weeks.

  2. Bryan,
    I definitely agree!! While traveling through China, Italy, Ireland and many other countries we have never felt an anxious moment or fear. Yet while traveling in The Netherlands, Germany or even in the US I’m always concerned and on higher alert. Be safe. Hard to believe your year is almost over.

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