Football ⚽

Congrats Giroud and all the best Cavani!

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Today was a good day for Olivier Giroud! He played his 100th game for France becoming only the 8th player to do so for Les Bleus joining the likes of Hugo Lloris, Lilian Thuram, Thierry Henry, Marcel Desailly, Zinedine Zidane, Patrick Vieira, and current Les Bleus manager, Didier Deschamps. It was only a friendly against Ukraine in which Les Bleus won 7-1, but it was brilliant!

Welcome to the 100th club, Giroud.

Ollie is a World Cup winner and France’s second-highest goalscorer at 42 goals. Only Henry stands in his way with 51 goals. I’ll love to see Ollie beat that. Only today I was reading an interview about Ollie talking about his new book, ‘Always Believe It’ and he said something that stuck with me, so I’ll share that here: 

“I am a very religious person who asserts his Christian faith more and more in recent years. It allowed me to overcome trials, to put things into perspective and to always believe in my chances, in his destiny and in Jesus, who is there, at all times, to watch over me.” 

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And Edinson Cavani is a new-mint Manchester United player. I’m no fan of anything Man U, but all the best, Cavani… even though that red shirt is going to hurt mi eyes. Show the English why we call you ‘El Matador’! I’ll also leave something from Cavani’s interview that resonated with me:

“I believe that in life things come when they are meant to and sometimes, no matter how much you want something, if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.”

The 33-year-old put pen to paper on a two-year deal on around £210,000 per week after tax

**GIFs/Images that don’t belong to LPM are via Google Search (Right-click for original source)

Disclaimer

Espresso Shots ☕, Football ⚽

July 15th: a special day! 💙

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How have you been? I’ve been well and while things on my end are cooling down, I’m not sure if I’ll be returning to blogging full time as yet. Anyways, I’ll leave this for another time. I want to see how this week goes first. So, it’s July 15th and a very special day for me. 😄

Les Bleus

It’s exactly one year since Les Bleus won the prestigious World Cup. Going into that WC, France was not one of the most prepared team, but during the tournament, Didier Deschamps went from strength to strength with each game. Although France produces some of the world’s best players (ask the EPL and the La Liga), they were not outright favorites going into the tournament. Many were favoring Germany, Argentina, and even Portugal. Many fans rooted for Croatia in the final because society demands that we root for the underdog. What does that accomplish in football? 

Legend has it that I am still celebrating our victory… Okay, I’m not. I’m actually over it. 

Speaking of football, I am delighted that Antoine Griezmann is now a part of FC Barcelona! 🎊 With 5 French players on the team, FCB is slowly turning into FC Francelona! 😅

This season of football is going to be interesting and I look forward to what Griezmann is going to bring to his new team. 😄

Birthday Girl

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Another reason why July 15th is so special? It’s the day my best friend and little sis was born! You guys may know her as Tammy over on Godinspiredart, but to me, she’s more than just Tammy. She’s a woman after God’s heart, a ray of sunshine, an inspiration, my best friend and little sister! She’s multi-talented and she uses them all for God’s glory. 

One day, I’ll tell you guys how God made us meet. 💙😃

Joyeux Anniversaire, mon amie! May you continue to chase after God’s heart and may He shower you with blessings and grace in Jesus’ Name. All the best on this special day as you celebrate the gift of life which was given by the King and may today be one of the most memorable of the year! 💙🎂

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah 1:5

Photo belongs to Tammy. She was gracious in letting me use it. 💙

And since it’s the beginning of a bright and new week, happy Monday everyone! 

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***GIFs via Google Search

Challenges/Tags/Fun Stuff

꧁30 interesting questions challenge ꧂

I love fun challenges and when I read the 30 interesting questions challenge over on Stories of Hope blog, I just had to participate. This post was supposed to have been done since last month, but I am always late to the party.

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Let’s do this!

1. What are your nicknames? What do you prefer to be called?

Well, almost everyone calls me Dee and I have no problem with that at all.

2. How often do you doodle? What do your doodles look like?

I don’t doodle much as before, but does this…

…count? It’s the last thing I did sometime back in November or so. 

3. What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep? Toss and turn? Try to get up and do something productive?

I recite Psalm 91 and pray. Another great one is Psalm 4.

4. Do people consider you as talkative or quiet?

I am both talkative (especially if we’re talking about God, the Bible, travels, etc.) and quiet.

5. What makes you cry?

When people accept/return to God acknowledging Him as their EVERYTHING. And humanity…

6. What is your biggest pet peeve?

When the Lord’s name is taken in vain. I also dislike it when people listen to music via their headset really loud. Like, what’s the use of having a headset if other people are going to be hearing your music?

7. How many times a day do you look at yourself in the mirror?

I normally look in the mirror when I’m leaving the house.

8. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

That people entered inside the television set from behind to be on TV. 😆

9. What is one guilty pleasure you enjoy too much to give up?

Guilty pleasure? What is that? Here I quote the great Matthew Gray Gubler: “Don’t feel guilty if you like something.”

10. Who performs the most random acts of kindness out of everyone you know?

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11. How often do you read the newspaper? Which sections?

I don’t read the newspapers, but I do read news online once or twice a week.

12. Which animal scares you the most? 

This question is very subjective so I’ll give a pragmatic answer: diseased animals.

13. Are you more likely to avoid conflict or engage it head-on?

I run away from conflicts. 

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14. What was the most recent compliment you received?

It was from my sister in Christ, Leiya. She said that she enjoys watching me grow in Christ. 💙

15. What question are you tired of hearing?

Do you watch Game of Thrones? No. Just no.

Is Annie okay? Of course, she is! She was a CPR mannequin for Smooth Criminal’s sake! She saved millions of lives!

Why do you like Tom Cruise? You, do you.

Why do you support France and not Spain? Last time I checked, Messi wasn’t Spanish and it was Les Bleus who got me into football, not FC Barcelona or Argentina for that matter.  

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16. What is the strangest thing you have eaten?

I’m not an adventurous eater so I have to go with pepperoni. 👎

17. Do you have a whole lot of acquaintances or just a few very close friends?

Close friends that I cherish and love.

18. Do you have a catchphrase?

None I can think of at the moment so I guess I don’t have one.

19. What’s your all-time favorite town or city? Why?

San Fernando! It’s the most beautiful place in the south and it should’ve been the capital of Trinidad. The people there are very different than the town people and they don’t have time to mind your business. And the hill’s got a panoramic view!

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20. If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?

I love the name my parents gave me so I don’t see the need for changing it.

21. When was the last time you lied?

Let’s see…

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22. What’s something that amazes you?

Simply God. Especially the way He answers prayers! 

23. Would you rather be the first person to explore a planet or be the inventor of a drug that cures a deadly disease?

The inventor for I wouldn’t be able to explore another planet anyway given the firmament God put in place.

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24. What is your favorite amateur activity?

Reading and also walking to clear my mind while communicating with God.

25. What was your first thought when you woke up this morning?

Another day? Thank You, God! 💙

26. What is your favorite song (at least for the moment)?

“All I Want” by Michael W. Smith.

27. List someone you know, and describe them in 5 words.

Lee is caring, eager, driven, focus, and learning.

28. You can select one person from history and have them truthfully answer one question. Who would you select and what would the question be?

Oh my! So many people! Here are a few:

Albert Einstein: Why can’t you take the time to fix your hair? And why would a grown man be sticking his tongue out of his mouth?

King Solomon: How did you ever make time to communicate with your 700 wives one on one?

King Louis XIV: You were four-years-old when you ascended the throne and you became the longest reigning monarch in Europe. How did your longevity affect your reign?

Napoleon Bonaparte: Why in the world did you continue to trust Talleyrand even after you found out that he was not trustworthy? 

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29. Which celebrity or artist do you resemble the most?

It’s been often said that I look like…

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…God! I was created in His image after all. I wouldn’t even give my left foot to look like any of these basic celebrities out here.

30. What do you want me to know?

Jesus is coming again. Are you ready?

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This fun challenge is open to anyone who wishes to participate. Thank you to Stories of Hope for allowing me to join in the fun. See her post here:

30 Interesting Questions Challenge

***GIFs and images via Google Search

Espresso Shots ☕

2018: a little look back 👀

It’s okay to look back at the past. Just don’t stare.

Benjamin Dover

Looking back at 2018 like…

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It went by in a whoosh, but it was a wonderful year for me despite some of the trials. If I had to sum up 2018 in one word, it will be “peace”.  

Peace came to me

I didn’t go looking for peace last year, but it was what I actually needed in my life and God granted it to me in many ways. This is something I’ve been open about last year on this platform. What does peace means to me? It means that I’m fully content and fulfilled. It means I feel light for my burdens I’ve laid at His feet. It means that despite what I’m going through or what I may go through, I have a God willing to fight for me. 

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Growing spiritually

This is a continuous cycle. I don’t have everything under control; that’s what I have God for. He’s the reason I wake up on mornings to face each day. Without His strength, I am nothing. There are multiple times when I fall short of His glory, but I go to Him and pour out my heart in prayer. Reading/studying/discovering His Word has left a great impression on me. There’ll be hard times for God never said the Christian life is all about comfort and laziness, but it’s through these moments, we learn that God is with us no matter what we face and it’s also when we become strong/er. He is our light in dark times.

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Most spectacular moment

Les Bleus lifting the World Cup of course! In 2014, I wrote a fictional Les Bleus story based on the Euro then, which we lost, but I did say that we were going to win the World Cup in 2018 at the end of that story and it gave solace to a Parisian football fan who was actually following the story. It took 4 years of waiting and one patient final, but it was worth it. It was lovely seeing France lift another cup after 20 years. 

Euro 2020 come on!

Learning Languages

Well, it’s no secret that I love the French language. I also love a few other languages including Italian, Japanese, and Greek. Last year, I set out to learn those languages, but my mind was not entirely focused and I was not making the time to learn anything foreign. At the moment, I am not bothered anymore in becoming fluent in another tongue. I’ll still learn here and there as I love learning how to say certain words and phrases in another language, but that’s about it.

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On Writing

I’ve experienced the highs and the lows of writing. It once consumed my life. Last year, I saw a dip in my writing and I lost interest up to a certain point. Every time I tried to explain to someone the new direction my writing is going in, they failed to understand. They couldn’t comprehend why I don’t want to work on a novel of sorts to gain a profit. I only write when I’m inspired to especially when I’m led to write for God in all things for His glory. Yes, God has given me the gift of writing although I’m not a wordsmith and I don’t want to waste it writing books for profit. I’ll be going in depth on this topic later on.

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Merci!

In short, despite the ups and downs, 2018 has been a blessing for me and I thank God tremendously. I also want to thank each and every one of you who have read, liked, followed, and shared your thoughts! I pray that 2019 would be/is a blessing and that you put Jesus in the center of everything. We have been given 12 new chapters and 365 chances to make 2019 memorable so take every opportunity to do just that. 

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***GIFs via Google 

Entertainment

Les Bleus: thank you for the memories!

Mes Amis, this is my final post on the World Cup tournament. 😃

We came to the end of a wonderful World Cup tournament two weeks ago and I already have wonderful long lasting memories. I just want to look back on a few moments. 

THE SUPPORTERS

The fans were incredible from the very beginning. They soaked in the atmosphere of the game and enjoyed every minute of it. I didn’t hear of any hooligan reports which was good. Some French fans said the locals were very accommodating and allowed them to couch surf. 

DIDIER DESCHAMPS

Deschamps implemented discipline and a sense of togetherness in this young team. He even showed Jose Mourinho how to get the best out of Paul Pogba. 😉 One of my favorite moment is when some of the players gatecrashed his post-conference, chanting his name. It shows that the players have a special bond with him regardless of what the media thinks.

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LES BLEUS

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The various backgrounds blending together really enriched the squad.

They didn’t start well, but they grew during the tournament. When I look back at their victory against Croatia, I’ll always remember Les Bleus standing in the pouring rain, golden confetti stuck to their skin and sparkling in their hair, as they hoist the trophy over their heads. They deserved this victory. They and their people.

THE EMIR PRINCE OF QATAR SHEIKH TAMIM

The French media praised him for offering his front-row seat to the French First Lady Brigitte Macron. Little things that the media don’t talk about, but I want to highlight it anyway. 

THE FRENCH & CROATIAN PRESIDENTS

Emmanuel Macron was such a delight! After his team won the WC, his animated display made one of the best highlight and iconic photo when he lept to his feet and punch the air. Credit goes to Alexei Nikolsky for this superb capture!

Golden Glove - Thibout Courtios

His celebration with the team in the locker room – notably with Mendy and Pogba who got him to dab – made headlines.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JULY 15: French President Emmanuel Macron dabs with Paul Pogba during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Final between France and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium on July 15, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Michael Regan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Monsieur Président so chill, eh?

What’s the purpose of the dab anyway and didn’t that fad fade away? Anyway, I loved watching Macron and the Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović embracing the players in the pouring rain. One can see the genuine warmth and affection they had for the players.

French President Emmanuel Macron awards Kylian Mbappe of France with the FIFA Young Player Award as President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic look on following the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final between France and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium on July 15, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

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Putin is smugly standing under his umbrella watching the other two presidents get wet. What poor protocol! They are guests in Moscow and one of them is a woman. Macron took time to visit the Croatian players and the madam did the same for the French players.

However, people can’t get over that the Monsieur and the Madam were too close during the game. Someone even asked if she was his wife. 

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No, this is his wife:

Patriotic: Macron donned a navy suit and tie as well as a red, white, and blue rubber bracelet that matches France's tricolor flag

 Lloris looks at the pair with such fondness! 

I’m thankful for the French memories.

TO RUSSIA WITH LOVE

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Kudos to you, Russia, for organizing an unforgettable tournament! It’s the best World Cup I’ve had the pleasure of viewing since 1998 and I can only say, merci beaucoup.

VIVE LA FRANCE!

***Photos and GIFs via Google Search save the last GIF which was my attempt at creating my first GIF. 😄 It didn’t work out how I planned it, but that’s what practice is for. 

Espresso Shots ☕, Football ⚽

My World Cup story ⚽

Just two more World Cup posts after this one and I’ll get back to regular posting. 😄

I’ve been so excited to share my World Cup experience during the tournament that I forgot to talk about how I became a fan of the beautiful game and why I support Les Bleus. So today, I present my World Cup story. I hope I won’t go overboard while writing. I’ll try to keep it as short as I can. 

FRANCE 1998

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If you’re born in Trinidad like me and you enjoy football, you root for two teams: Brazil or Mexico. Well, back then. My father grew up thinking that Pelé was the greatest (I went with Diego Maradona later on after watching his style) and Brazil was perhaps the best team to ever play the game. Dad used to play football with the local community team and although he had talent and what it took for him to represent Trinidad on the big stage, he never took up on the offers, instead choosing to see out the rest of his teenage years before going out into the world of work.

Dad insisted that I watch the World Cup for he wanted me to see why he supported Brazil. I was kind of reluctant for I did not want to sit and watch men kick a ball around for 90 minutes. I had to take my words back for later on, I came to love and enjoy football. Anyways, so I watched dad’s team Brazil and I was not impressed although they were the favorites to win it all. But then, then I saw this beautiful team:

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This beautiful multicultural French team led by captain Didier Deschamps had my attention. They were nicknamed Black-Blanc-Beur (Black, White & Arab) and they defied stereotypes and they were the underdogs regardless of how great they were doing and this is how Les Bleus became the loves of my footballing life. As the competition wore on, I tuned in for all of their games. At that time, a resident psychic thought she saw it all and made a bold prediction about Brazil winning the WC. I laughed because I knew they weren’t going to beat the French team to it. Even dad was like, “But the psychic said…” I was like, “Dad, I love you, but Brazil is going to Samba back to their country without the ultimate prize.”

On July 12th, the final between Brazil and France was intense, but France’s multiracial Rainbow Warriors won it 3-0 and lifted the trophy with pure joy. 

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Back then, everyone was talking about Zidane this and Zidane that, but two players stood out for me and they were Didier Deschamps (the captain) and Marcel Desailly.

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They had a great friendship and still do. They’re the godfathers of each other’s sons and they always talk fondly of each other.

RUSSIA 2018

Twenty years later, a new generation arrived with Didier Deschamps at the helm once again, this time as coach. Deschamps has led France to its second World Cup victory, twenty years after winning it as a player.

Hugo Lloris

And watch the diversity of our goalies:

I talked a lot about France over the course of this year’s World Cup tournament so I won’t do that here now. This beautiful diverse team is not going to stop racism, but they’re an example of what people can achieve by working together as a team regardless of the color of skin or background.

ALLEZ LES BLEUS!!

Football ⚽

N’Golo Kanté: unsung hero of the World Cup

The engine of France and a beautiful soul.

The first time I saw N’golo, he was creating havoc in the midfield at Leicester City in 2015. The other time I took notice of him, he was individually greeting the staff of Clairefontaine with a big smile on his face. That was 2016 when he was called up for Les Bleus. Over time, I’ve come to realize that he is extremely polite, quiet, humble and he smiles a lot. He’s probably one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. This, I can guarantee. He lives a simple life and doesn’t have a drop of arrogance. The man is worth millions and he still drives to work with a second-hand Mini Cooper.

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During France’s amazing run in the 2018 World Cup, many were in awe of Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba, and Kylian Mbappé and rightly so, but one man was not getting the credit he deserved – well, 3 inclusive of Hugo Lloris and Olivier Giroud, but this is not about them – and that is N’Golo Kanté. At only 5’6″ he is the anchor of the French midfield and made Pogba look good. He covers a lot of ground and he reads the game brilliantly. 

Kanté did not have the best match in the World Cup final and had to be subbed off in the second half. Afterward, we learned that he played with a stomach bug.

France v Croatia - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Final

Coach Didier Deschamps summed up our shy midfielder best:

“N’Golo is a real ray of sunshine, a true joy. When he came off, I asked him if he was OK. His quiet reply was: ‘No, no, do not worry – I am fine, coach.’ Everybody loves N’Golo – he is a little phenomenon.”

Kante (left) shakes hands with a member of plane staff as fellow France midfielder Corentin Tolisso (right) watches on

And his teammates simply love him! His French mates sung his heroics after they won the World Cup. Here’s how it went down:

🎶N’Golo Kanté. Phalalalala
Il est petit
Il est gentil
Il a stoppé Leo Messi
Mais on sait tous
C’est un tricheur
N’golo Kante

“He is short, he is nice, he stopped Leo Messi, but we all know he’s a cheater (at cards).” Haha! Right, as if he’ll ever cheat at cards! But the chant was not meant to be taken seriously and Kanté was almost embarrassed by the praises his teammates showered upon him. He was like, “No, we stopped him (Messi) together!” 😃They even changed the lyrics to welcome him to the Champs-Élysées. 

During World Cup celebrations on the pitch with the trophy, Kanté was so shy to ask for the trophy himself so he can pose for a photo in the heavy pouring rain with it, that Steven Nzonzi had to take the trophy after Florian Thauvin posed with it and hand it to Kanté. This epic photo is the result:

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This man works hard and shuns the nightlife. In 3 years, he has won 2 EPL titles (with Leicester and Chelsea), an FA Cup (with Chelsea) and a World Cup (with France). He was also the EPL Player of the Year in 2017. A humble, polite, and hard worker who is not interested in selling his image and flaunting his wealth? Many other footballers need to get on his level. I hope I won’t have to take my words back in the future! 😉

MERCI KANTÉ AND NEVER STOP SMILING. 😄😄

Football ⚽

Rain pours down on France as they celebrate World Cup title. 🏆

The tournament is over, but I’ll be wrapping up WC blogs this week.

July 15th, 2018 is a day that I'll always remember 

July 15th, 2018. 

Another unforgettable experience in my book. France won the World Cup for the second time and it was also my bestie’s birthday. 💙

France faced Croatia in the final of the World Cup and won 4-2 in what was an entertaining final. Les Bleus took the lead on 18 minutes when Mario Mandžukić scored an own goal from an Antoine Greizmann freekick. I dislike his Fortnight celebration, though. 

     

Croatia equalized in the 28′ from a wicked left-footed finish via Ivan Perišić and it was game on for both sides!

     

In the 36′ France was awarded a penalty after the use of VAR decided that Perišić handled the ball. After what seemed like ages, Griezmann converted from the penalty spot to make it 2-1.

     

In the 59′ Paul Pogba missed with his right foot, but he made no mistake with the left curling home a great effort that extended France’s lead.

Six minutes later, Kylian Mbappé joins the party with a wicked strike to put the French in the driving seat.

There were no more goals to come from the French, but Hugo Lloris made a disastrous error in the 69′ which saw Mandžukić pull one back for Croatia. 

     

Other than that, Lloris had a great game. 

France did not lose a game in this tournament and they performed well to the very end. Croatia also had the tournament of their lives. There were some fans whining about possession, but here’s a news flash: modern football is not about statistics and it certainly does not care about possession for possession does not win games. You have to be decisive in front of goal and the French were just that. 

And nature came out to celebrate victory with the French after winning their second WC after 20 years. 

     

France Achievements:

1998: World Cup champions

2000: Euro champions

2006: World Cup finalists

2016: Euro finalists

2018: World Cup champions

Vive la France et vive la République!