Three days on from the attacks that shocked the world, life here in Paris goes on or so it would seem as I travelled around the city today to get a feel for the ground situation.
I rise out of my bed this morning to the sound of sirens going off in the background. It is the third day after the terror attacks in Pairs. I wanted to go around the city today to see if Paris has recovered after the shocking events that left 129 dead and over 300 wounded. I head down to breakfast where I meet a couple staying in the hotel and we got talking as they live in the United Kingdom but are regulars here Paris. I ask them how they feel and what the city is like they had the following to say:
“The city is quite very quite its like a Sunday here, and that is a shock for us. Usually the place is booming with people but these few days people have been staying in. We feel safe but you never know, I mean they could be anywhere I just hope that get those responsible. This is beautiful city and it not right for people to be kept in due to fear. I think the city will return to normal soon”
I head on out to the centre during the day to see if the city is up and running again. It not long before I realize that the city is far from normal. As I drive down the streets there are police on every corner. They are armed and wearing body amour ready to do the business. It seems like every couple of hundred meters in the city centre they are there and waiting. Not just cops though, at some of the main attractions the French Foreign Legion is in place too. If France was showing the world one thing its showing them that we can and will protect our city, putting on a show of force in Paris. The place is on lockdown with police everywhere standing, guarding, patrolling, I mean foot patrols, vehicle patrols, horse mounted patrols, static positions, the full Monty. Some of the main attractions are still closed with the threat level still high. I spoke with a few people on my journeys today most were happy, some were worried, but the one thing that came up a more than anything was, “its too much, we must stop these terrorist scum and put a stop to this. France can not and will not go on like this, it’s too much”
As life starts moving again I can’t help but feel the frustration here, people are tired and sick of this terrorist nonsense, I have few French buddies of mine and I spoke to them today. Their answer was simple, “don’t pray for France, let us fight we are ready for war.” This was friend who is a former French Marine.
I spoke with my other buddy who is in French Special Forces and he had this to say: “I am ready to kill somebody. We all are. We are like caged animals, we are waiting all the time waiting…waiting.. it’s time we are all ready the whole of France wants revenge.”
Throughout the day I get that feeling that there is worry but also an unsettled feeling in the air. Is France going to be okay? Can the people of Paris bounce back? I think so, but not anytime soon. It is all good showing force and locking stuff down but when the security forces ease off, do they the capability to prevent another attack? Not only that, can Paris take one more blow like the one they did the other night?