What Was It Like To Be in Paris Right During and After the Attacks?

How does it feel to be in Paris right now during the attacks? originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question.

Answer by Séverine Godet, Media and Social Media Consultant, Burson-Marsteller i&e (Paris, France), on Quora:

Just waking up now. Got to bed around 2:00 am. After watching french news BFM TV for 4 hours and hearing sirens in our streets, and helicopter, and checking social media to see if friends were safe.

I work in a 120 people company, 14 are unaccounted for this morning but I hope they are just sleeping at home, or at strangers homes, because many Parisians opened their doors to those stranded in Paris in dangerous streets or without key or an address to go to. [update at 2 pm : everybody accounted for, no victims. Lucky.]

I was lucky to be away from this, we live close to 9th/8th arrondissement. One of my colleagues was at Stade de France for the France-Germany game and got evacuated, crazy. I knew terrorism could strike so close (we had a bombing in the subway in 1995, at station St Michel, I think of it when I use this station, and we had Charlie Hebdo, and I see the army in front of every Jewish building in Paris). But it is one thing to know, another to live it.

I demonstrated for peace after Charlie Hebdo, but the political recuperation after this was awful, national unity with political plans behind, so this time I'll rather spend time with friends and tell them I love them.

[Update] Staying home drove us crazy So we went for a café/croissant in a café in the 9th arrondissement, near rue des Martyrs. Those croissants are for you stupid terrorists, to shove up your ass.


Answer by Claire Delavallée, Language professional, singer (see Vox In Rama), French, and more, on Quora:

I'm in a shock, I can hardly realize what's happening. I think hard to remember where those dearest to me are supposed to be at this moment. I look at FB and see that a friend of my niece's is stuck in the basement of a café near there. My heart misses a beat as I wonder if my niece is there too. Then her mother logs on and confirms they're all safely at home.

I was supposed to do things this Saturday, go out to meet people. I'm not sure if I should stay home or insist on going out and keep on living. I think twice about everything: should I go out to the market in my popular neighborhood? How will people react there? I hope to gods that Muslim people who live around here will still be able to feel that they are part of this country and that no one will blame this horror on them. I reflect that the madmen who did that are the ones who committed a blasphemy by claiming they did it for a god.

Fraternity must live.


Answer by Alex Schmidt, Parisian, on Quora:

It's hard to believe what is happening. I was at the bar next to the Bataclan tonight, and two of my friends were going to the concert but I didn't go with them. An hour or two later, while I was at another bar not too far from the first, I was told about the attack. Soon there were police cars and ambulances everywhere. I called my friend who was at the concert, and he had been able to escape to a building close by (edit: he was using the bathroom when he heard the shots, and after a while the people in the bathroom decided to escape through the back exit, after the attackers reloaded, and they realized it wasn't over). He was crying because he had no news from our other friend. (He wasn't answering his phone.) I went to a neighbor's apartment and we spent all night watching the news nervously. As we learned about the increasing number of casualties, we were slowly losing hope. Then we learned that there were at least 100 dead, and we thought that was it. At around 3am, we finally learned that he was in an ambulance on the way to the hospital, and that he was conscious. I still don't know if he's been seriously injured or not (at the time of writing, it's 5am).

That's all hard to make sense of, and I think I need to rest. But it feels like our country is under attack, it feels like war.

Edit: my friend was shot in the abdomen. He's stabilized, and will undergo surgery in the afternoon.

Edit 2: the situation is much worse then we initially thought. We don't know how many bullets he was hit with, but they can't perform surgery until he's completely stabilized. I'm with friends and family at the hospital, we're not losing hope. He's a tough one. It's now 5:30 pm in Paris.

Edit 3: the doctors were able to stop most of the bleeding. Obviously this is good; in any case he's in a better state than he was a few hours ago.

Edit 4: thank you all for your words of kindness and support. He has been in stable condition for 24 hours now, and the doctors should perform surgery tomorrow. If all goes well, he will be moved to another hospital, as they are too crowded here at the moment.

Edit 5: the surgery was a success. It's a huge relief. We are told that it may take months before he recovers, but he will live.


Answer by Gilles Reynaud, I live in Paris, on Quora:

Shocked, so shocked.

I feel like I have been attacked directly: everyone goes out on Fridays or on Saturdays, last Quora meetup in Paris was on a Friday night, people have been targeted, average people just meeting friends for a diner or a concert.

I am so angry.

I never sleep very well, I wake up very often between 2 and 4 am. I usually start to read something. This time I started to read my Quora feed and its first item is the news of the attacks.

I needed to know and started to read. Needless to say that I won't go to bed for a moment.

More than 120 dead, at least 250 wounded and still counting, I'm watching TV, looking at updates on major news websites.

I had to check my son, he's 6, but I needed to go check his room and kiss him.

Tomorrow, we'll stay at home, cancel all activities. Perhaps we'll go to the café down the street, he'll be happy and I'll be so glad to see him smiling or hear him laughing.

Update @14:00 on 14/11, I've been out to eat lunch with my son, the café we are used to go is nearly empty, I've discussed with the staff, the shopping mall nearby is closed, in usually animated streets like rue de la Butte aux Cailles almost all restaurants are closed, they probably did not want to take any chance on opening. This is sad, but understandable. Everything looks numbed like in a state of shock. Life will come back, but it seems many people are cautious to see how things evolve.

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