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Parades and the International Women’s Day

Motorcycles, placards, dancing and photos are a few of the festive ways Parisians are celebrating International Women’s Day (Journée des Femmes) on March 8.

Olivier Martel – Jardin du Luxembourg
Olivier Martel has chosen 80 of his portraits of women around the world to exhibit in Paris. The Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society opens the exhibit on the fence railings of the Senate along the Jardin du Luxembourg on March 8 and  continue until June 15. Martel is exhibiting women “…in her truth, her struggles and her hopes and asserting her dignity”….  Visit Mr. Martel’s “Ouvrages” page to see a catalog of the book Femmes Eternelles. Click on the his link “découvrir l’ouvrage interactif“.

Sunday walkPoster for Toutes en Moto parade Paris and Marseille
All of the activity centering around this international day, begins during a quiet Sunday walk on March 6 from Jardin des Plantes to Place de la Bastille. The quiet becomes very noisy. Bastille is always the sight of demonstrations of emotions from revolutions to the excitement of races. It is a great open space to make a lot of noise.

The sound of hundreds of motorcycles traverses the small streets linking Boulevard de la Bastille and rue de Lyon. Arriving at the vertex of these two streets, sirens, the vroom-vroom!! of the motorcycles and pink balloons pass in front of spectators. Someone in the crowd says that the cyclists must be upset (en colère) about something. Actually, on this sunny Sunday, they are celebrating International Women’s Day simultaneously in Paris and in Marseilles.

“For generations the motorcycle has represented, a perfect example of an instrument of liberty and autonomy and a means to discover the world,” according to Toutes en Moto. In January 2010, the Toutes en Moto association was created with one main idea: celebrate the International Women’s Day. They decided to present an image of women who take charge of their lives, are free, independent and free themselves of conventional attitudes, i.e., a modern woman. In the past, it was understood that women only rode on the back of the motorcycle.

For the association the motorcycle teaches boys and girls to respect one another, each other’s liberties and differences in society and the equality of the sexes.

Fete Grand'meres - Grandmother's Day Paris-BastilleGrand’mère
As we walk up rue de la Roquette, the policeman has his whistle ready to blow to direct the next demonstration of emotion.

The  “I Love ma Grand’mère” group waits for the motor cycles to finish their parade before moving along rue de la Roquette toward Place de la Bastille. The association “Fête des Grand’mères” organizes this entertaining way to “show love for your grandmother” with signs, organization and a cheer: “I Love ma Grand’mère!”. It is also a cute marketing technique for the coffee brand Grand’Mère.

Carnaval de Paris
[youtube][/youtube] In the setting sun of Sunday, the carnival parade reaches Place de la République. In a rush to catch those last rays of sunshine and rich colors, the next metro station, less than ten minute walk from Place de la République is Arts & Metier. Rue Turbigo is the best area to catch the pounding of drums, the dancing, and the spirit. The street is a straight shot to the Hôtel de Ville where the parade will end between 7 and 7:30 p.m.

Carnival route information from another blog entry if you are planning for next year.

Olivier Martel Femmes Enternelle ParisFemmes Eternelle Exhibition
“Presented by the Senate on the railings of the Jardin du Luxembourg and partnered by various organizations including the Women’s Forum, the exhibition “Femmes Eternelles” is part of discovery of 80 portraits of women. With sensitivity and finesse, photojournalist Olivier Martel presents beautiful portraits of women. This exhibition provides a kind of mirror of the world in its diversity and richness. The portraits are moving and one never forgets them. He gives us a broad variety of environments, thought-provoking. Women from Asia, Africa, Europe or America… their differences tend to fade in favor of common stories and realities.”

Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society
March 8 – June 15 at 8:00pm
Grilles du Jardin du Luxembourg
Place Edmond Rostand


  • Colleen's Paris

    Hi Elizabeth – sorry for the delay — out of the country – little WiFi!!! Plan on most everything being closed on Monday. Friday and Saturday will operate as usual. As far as large department stores, for example, Galeries Lafayette, it is too early for them to post the opening times for Monday. If you can be more specific, I can try to find out for you. Colleen

  • Elizabeth

    Sorry I won’t be in Paris for the Mar. 8 event. Will there be events around Easter? Will everything be closed Fri.-Mon.?