Beware for I am Fearless and Therefore Powerful
|What's that? Oh just the ghosts of thousands of dudes who died 1900 years ago|
Might make this a regular feature. Because let's be real Paris isn't getting any newer. I am a history nerd. I may love/hate Paris but she gives good history. I live next to Champ de Mars but my preferred spot is the esplanade Invalides. It’s been that way since 2016 because I knew what's what. It's usually less of a hassle and the Pont Alexandre on one end and the Invalides on the other make it a pretty spot. Plus less tourists. I guess a part of me could sense the Mars has bad juju…
I’ve always kind of disliked my neighborhood because it’s not old-old. When I first moved to Paris I lived in two flats on Ile Saint Louis, and that area is so old-old it smells like damp everywhere you ago. It's the reason my Proustian memory sense recall associates that smell with Paris (and only Paris cause damn fix yo' shit). I didn't know what mold was before I came here. In the grand scheme my little 1930’s neighborhood doesn’t cut it.
Well it turns out I shouldn’t have knocked my bougie little jewel because the area was older than I thought. I learned recently that the very first Parisians weren’t actually in Paris, they were in Nanterre (debatable apparently because French people really hate change). When the Romans came to invade them they made the mistake of winning the first battle. The Romans were pissed so they went down to Melun and slaughtered the inhabitants. I guess they needed an easy win to feel manly again. Then they came back to try their way again.
The Parisii saw the writing on the wall: they were fucked. So they burned their town to the ground so the Romans would get squat, and basically said in the name of Camulus 'go down swinging'. That’s my kind of energy.
|Vibes. At least once a day since 2003 this runs through my head.|
Now that their village was nothing but soot and ash they moved the spot up the river. That spot was on Garanella, later the field of Grenelle, which is now a neighborhood of the 15th (not the be confused with rue). They put up a fight, but the battle was basically a slaughter. The Romans were impressed so in honor of they christened the spot “Champ de Mars” (Mars being the god of war, who they prayed to before they killed every last Gaul).
This all predates the Champ de Mars massacre, and happened before the Gauls/Romans settled Ile de Cite, making the Champs de Mars really fucking old, so old it predates Paris proper (Lutetia and Civitas Parisiorum).
So next time your laying on the grass, sunning, having some rosé (it’s summer so you’re allowed now), pour one out for the thousands of Parisii who sacrificed themselves (and their language and culture) on that grass.