“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” - James Michener
"I love You" Wall
I didn't see the elevator at the Abbesses metro stop so I unwittingly went up the stairs which winds up 118 feet (or 200 steps according to Wikipedia). Abbesses is one of the deep stations in the Paris metropolitan system. I had to stop twice on the way up to catch my breath and rest my leg muscles. It was quite a climb! I heard the people behind me panting and moaning. We were definitely in Montmartre, high above the rest of Paris. And I came for a specific reason - to see the "I love you" wall or Le Mur de Je t'aime at Place des Abbesses. I had read an article about it on Valentine's day and I was intrigued. How serendipitous that I had this chance to be in Paris! The wall is just behind the entrance to the metro station.
Le mur is made of blue tile and scrawled across it are over 300 greetings of love in 250 languages. I recognized a few like Iniibig Kita and Te quiero. I did a search to find out about Ljubim te and learned that this is a Slovenian/Serbian greeting meaning "kiss you". Alas, I didn't find the language of origin for Yiku Zolele.
As it was the lunch hour and the sun was shining in early March, many visitors were in the cozy size garden area, some with their sandwiches while schoolchildren discussed the messages on the wall with their teachers. A few couples sat across from the wall and were perhaps contemplating about love or at least, drawing inspiration from the generous ways in which to express "I love you".
The creators of the wall have this to say about it: "In a world marked by violence and dominated by individualism, walls, like frontiers, are usually made to divide and to separate people and to protect them from one another. On the contrary, The Wall is a link, a place of reconciliation, a mirror which reflects an image of love and peace." Beautifully said!
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