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France

Venues popular with young Parisians targeted in terror attacks

© Sarah Leduc | Candles, flowers and expressions of support are laid out in front of the bar and restaurant that had come under attack

Text by Sarah LEDUC

Latest update : 2015-11-15

Paris’s Le Carillon bar and Le Petit Cambodge restaurant were both targets of the terrorist attacks late Friday night, both of them popular with young Parisians.

The day after, large crowds gathered outside the bar and restaurant to mourn the victims of Friday's shocking terrorist attack at these local institutions.

The details of "Happy Hour" chalked on a blackboard at the entrance of Le Carillon struck a false note this Saturday. Gunmen stormed this bar, as well as Le Petit Cambodge (Little Cambodia) across the street, on a busy Friday night, killing at least 15 people.

The two establishments on Rue Bichat in the 10th arrondissement are both very popular with hip young Parisians (known locally as "bobos", short for “bourgeois-Bohemian”). The beer is inexpensive, the terraces sociable, and the welcome is warm and unpretentious. They are also close to the Canal Saint-Martin, an area popular with students, young professionals and trendy parents pushing the latest strollers.

But the usual lively atmosphere was shattered by Kalashnikov rifles.

Police lifted the security perimeter on Saturday morning, but the area’s normally bustling shops and cafes remained closed. Outside Le Carillon and Le Petit Cambodge, a police poster informs passersby that the venues remain sealed due to "criminal acts linked to terrorist activity".

Community comes together

At the entrance to the Saint-Louis Hospital, just opposite the scene of the attack, hundreds of people formed a queue to give blood following a public call for donations by medical authorities as the number of wounded reached 352.

By late morning, a hospital staffer announced that the wait to donate blood was more than an hour and 30 minutes long. But no one in the queue leaves. "It's the least I can do, even if it is only a small contribution," said Angelica, 30, who came from Nantes to spend the weekend in Paris.

Outside Le Carillon and Le Petit Cambodge, the tears flow silently as shocked local residents talk quietly of the carnage they witnessed. A young skateboarder, wearing a cap pulled down low over his eyes, makes the sign of the cross while a young woman kneels to lay a white rose at the spontaneous memorials that have sprung up outside the venues.

Candles are scrawled with "Je suis Paris", a reference to the “Je suis Charlie" proclamations of solidarity following the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks in January. Bouquets of flowers are everywhere alongside signs saying, "No to terrorism" and "Yes to education." No one can bring themselves to look at the sawdust that barely hides the traces of blood still staining the road. Locals speak quietly or stand quietly lost in their own thoughts. Almost everyone has, at some point, spent an evening with friends and loved ones in one of these places. Almost everyone feels attacked.

This is an adapt of an article written in French. To see the original article click here.

Date created : 2015-11-15

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