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Stunned, shocked, saddened...

I had gone to bed in Volnay just before the terrorist attacks began in Paris on Friday night. I awoke Saturday morning to a flurry of text messages from friends all over the US asking if I was OK. One click on the iPhone brought me the horrible news. The world had literally changed overnight. There are no words to fully describe the pain, the deep sadness, the horror.

There is something in the air here - you can see it and feel it everywhere. It reminds me of the way things looked and felt after 9-11 in the US. Suddenly everything is just different. The old men drinking beer at 7am at the bar in Pommard where I pick up the newspaper every morning were still there, but they weren't drinking or shooting the bull. They were just sitting there, stunned. The streets of Beaune are filled with thousands of visitors here for the famous Hospices de Beaune weekend, but the festive air has just been let out of the balloon.

All of the local and regional government officials got together yesterday morning in Dijon - they had some big decisions to make, and quickly. It wasn't until just after 12 noon that they announced the Beaune semi-marathon would go ahead as scheduled at 2pm, and that the Hospices de Beaune auction would also go ahead the next day, but all of the festivities, concerts, parades, etc. would be cancelled effective immediately.

I suited up and headed over to the starting line in Beaune, surrounded by runners with "Je suis Paris" signs pinned to their jerseys. Before the starting gun, the MC called for everyone to sing the Marseillaise, the French national anthem. It was incredibly moving and stirring. The local paper captured a bit of it on video here...

I had a decent run. I ran for Paris, I ran for peace, I ran for the grieving parents who lost their children. I ran because life must go on, we cannot be defeated. They've announced that a chunk of the money raised from the auction will go directly to the families of those killed in the Paris attacks. If I am successful in bidding on a barrel today, I will also pledge a portion of our proceeds from the sale of the wines to the cause. Wish me luck, and stay tuned.

It is certain to be a very unusual vibe at the auction - which is fairly dull in the best of times, to be honest. I also imagine that the atmosphere at the normally raucous and celebratory Paulée de Meursaullt will be rather subdued, to say the least. At any rate, here's a shot from happier times, just an hour or so before the attacks, in the tasting room at Huber-Verdereau with Thiébault and a group of Caveau customers from Cincinnati that I had actually never met before. 

Aujourd'hui, nous sommes tous Parisiens...