‘The City of Light is in darkness’

By admin
16 November 2015

The savage terror attack of Friday the 13th November has plunged Paris in mourning. Here Shané Barnard, a freelance journalist and former YOU writer, describes the sombre atmosphere prevailing in the City of Light.

Shané moved to France in September 2014 when her husband, Francois, embarked on his masters degree in sustainable development there.

“Paris awoke beneath a grey blanket of cloud on Saturday morning.

The shrill sirens of ambulances and police vehicles which could be heard echoing throughout the city the previous night have made way for restrained chats between neighbours while in the background newsreaders keep relaying the latest news about the grim assaults.

In an apartment block across the road from us an elderly woman has raised the French flag on her balcony.

Schools, museums and other public places like gyms, swimming pools and cinemas are closed now in terms of the nationwide state of emergency announced by President François Hollande.

We’ve been advised to stay at home.

Today the streets that normally buzz with shoppers, people visiting tourists spots or eating in restaurants are almost completely deserted. Even the bakery on the corner has pulled the steel door across its entrance.

At Place de la Republique, a stone’s throw from the Bataclan theatre where the hostage drama unfolded, people have dotted the pavement with flowers or lit candles.

But there’s no sign of the hundreds of thousands of people who marched here in solidarity after the Charlie Hebdo shooting 10 months ago.

The 20 000 lights that usually light up the Eiffel Town were switched off on Saturday night in a gesture of sympathy with the victims and their families.

The City of Light is temporarily plunged in darkness. But by Sunday evening things again started lightening up here and there as the flickering of thousands of lit candles could be seen in windows across the city.”

Read more about the tragic attacks in this week’s YOU (26 November).

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