MANILA, Philippines - A group of Filipinos celebrated the 117th anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal's martyrdom last December 30 by retracing the hero's footsteps in Paris, France.
The Knights of Rizal, the Kababaihang Rizalistas, and Las Damas de Rizal, together with the Philippine Embassy in Paris, organized a walking tour of the various places where Rizal lived in Paris.
The first stop: 65 Boulevard Arago in the 13th arrondissement (district). Dr. Jose Rizal briefly stayed here with Filipino painter Juan Luna. Famous painters such as Gauguin and Modigliani had also lived in the same address.
Next up were hotels where Rizal stayed in. This included Hotel de Paris in 37 Rue De Maubeuge in the 9th arrondissement, as well as the building currently occupied by Hotel Aramis in 124 Rue De Rennes in the 6th arrondissement.
The tour also made a stop at the former clinic of renowned ophthalmic surgeon Dr. Louis de Wecker in 55 Rue Du Cherche-Midi just a few steps from Hotel Aramis. Rizal trained here under Dr. de Wecker for four months from November 1885 to February 1886. This was also where he learned the cataract-surgery technique which he used on his mother, Teodora Alonzo.
Last stop was Place Jose Rizal in the 9th arrondissement, located in front of 55 Rue De Maubeuge.
Rizal first arrived in France in the summer of 1883 and ended up staying for three months before embarking on his studies in Madrid, Spain.
He later returned to train under Dr. de Wecker in 1885-1886 and then travelled to France intermittently up to 1891 when he finished writing his second novel El Filibusterismo in Biarritz, France.
All of the stops visited above had markers erected by the National Historic Commission in partnership with the Philippine Embassy in Paris and the Filipino community.