Kisses (PIP 19)

Kisses – (PIP #19)

By Louise Peloquin

     Heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, bouquets of roses, colorful cards and the year’s gadgets are all exchanged on Valentine’s Day. So are kisses.

L’Etoile published the following photo 80 years ago. Pure joy emanates from the low-definition image. A guitarist strums a tune. Strangers become brothers, sisters, friends, lovers. It’s Valentine’s day in July.


L’Etoile – July 6, 1944

The reward of the Yankee victory 

     Surrounded by smiling comrades, two Yank heroes who helped take the port of Cherbourg (1) from the Nazis, were photographed at the moment when two grateful French women kiss them. This is but one of the numerous celebrations that took place in the city after the taking of the port. (2) 


Six years after the Cherbourg kisses, renowned photographer Robert Doisneau shot “The City Hall Kiss” in post-World War II Paris. Asked if he had randomly captured the famous image, he responded, “I never would have dared photograph people like that. Lovers who kiss in the street are rarely legitimate couples.” He explained that he had entirely fabricated the scene, commissioned in 1950 by the American magazine Life for a feature on lovers in Paris.


  1. Cherbourg in Normandy is a deep-water port on the English Channel that was vital to the success of the Allied troops on the continent during World War II because possessing it would enable American ships to navigate directly from the United States to mainland Europe. The bombardment of Cherbourg took place on June 25, 1944 when ships from the U.S. Navy and the British Royal Navy attacked German fortifications in and near the city, firing in support of U.S. Army units engaged in the Battle of Cherbourg.
  2. Translation by Louise Peloquin.