Tales from

the Loir

A Weekly Column

May 8, 2001 - Armistice Day

On May 8, 1945, the American Army liberated Paris and the French celebrate this day every year with parades, ceremonies and memorial speeches. The ancient combatants of Lavardin put on their uniforms and marched to the cemetery with their flags and wreaths for the appropriate memorial services. Three French flags were on display on all government buildings and of course everyone took another four day weekend. The following weekend there were parades in every village and town in France. Over seven hundred ancient combatants marched in a parade in Montoire.

The month of May seems to be one long holiday and America seem to be a part of all these celebrations. Very few Americans venture into the Loir and Cher but most of the people here have good memories of Americans.

Montoire was the village where Marechal Petain shook hands with Adolf Hitler and agreed to surrender. Many French call this the most shameful day in the history of France and refer to it as the collaboration. The older people of this region still tell stories about hiding from the Germans who where hauling off young men and women to work in the factories in Germany. The American soldiers handing out chewing gum and chocolate were a stark contrast to the German soldiers who took their food and randomly shot people who were a problem.

The people of Montoire didn't even know that the meeting had taken place in their village until long after Hilter had left but they seem to feel responsible anyway. I have traveled all over France and met many nice people but nowhere matches Montoire's hospitality and warmth. Perhaps they feel an obligation to make up for the shameful event that occured in their town. Visitors can an exhibit of the events in the old railroad station where the meeting took place. One can also visit the tunnel in Saint Rimay where Hitler's train was parked to protect it from American bombers.

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May 2, 2001 - May Day
April 25, 2001 - Les Manouches
April 18, 2001 - Trôo
April 11, 2001 - Le P'tit Jules
April 4, 2001 - Men and Their Caves 
March 28, 2001 - Pissenlit
March 21, 2001 - The Egg
March 14, 2001 - Reliquary
March 7, 2001 - The Source of the Loir
February 28, 2001 - La Marseillaise
February 21, 2001 - Still on Wheels
February 14, 2001 - Marcel Proust
February 7, 2001 - La Chandeleur
January 31, 2001 - Winter Comfort Food
January 24, 2001 - Festival of Saint Vincent
January 17, 2001 - Guest Columnist Aprille Glover
January 10, 2001 - Muscadet
January 3, 2001 - Ode to Protein
Archive of Weekly Columns from 2000


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