A year on from the Paris attacks and life is the same yet different for Parisians

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November 13 marks the one year anniversary of the suicide bomb and shooting attacks in Paris.

Six co-ordinated attacks, which lasted several hours, killed more than 130 people and left hundreds injured. The terrorists sought out a football stadium and areas bustling with nightlife, and slaughtered 90 people at the Bataclan music venue.

Bataclan Theatre tributes
(Adam Davy/PA)

As events unfolded, pictures and video were beamed across the world, causing a global outpouring of sympathy and assistance.

One year one, we talked to some Parisians about their experiences on the night of the attacks and how the city has changed.

'My first reaction was oh not again'

A municipal police officer stands in front of a poster for victims of the shooting at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo - (Lionel Cironneau/AP)
(Lionel Cironneau/AP)


Sophie, 27, said her mind immediately went to the Charlie Hebdo attacks. "My first reaction was 'Oh not again' and then I thought about my friends in Paris," she said. "I messaged anyone and everyone I knew, or anyone who hadn't already marked themselves as safe on Facebook."

Frantically calling friends and relatives was a common theme among those caught up in the carnage. Malikah, 26, a British interpreter who has lived in Paris for six years, described being locked in a bar in the 8th arrondissement while people around her watched the television for news and tried to contact relatives.

Paris shootings
(Kamil Zihnioglu/AP)

"Mobile networks started having issues because so many people were trying to get in touch with loved ones," she said, "which only added to the hysteria."

Some experienced events unfolding on the ground, but others expressed feeling detached from the havoc being wreaked on their city.

Mourad, 36, told us he was with a group of friends in the 18th arrondissement that evening. He described feeling "as if I was watching a film, with an emotional distance".

'Living a real nightmare'

Spectators run onto the pitch of the Stade de France stadium after the international friendly soccer match between France and Germany - (Christophe Ena/AP)
(Christophe Ena/AP)


Most of the people we spoke to were adamant that the attacks had not changed the way they lived their lives, either in the immediate aftermath or once the dust had settled.

As with any traumatic experience, especially one lived through by the population of a city with over two million residents, reactions were wildly different.

Brigitte, 40, described the days afterward as "living a real nightmare" and said from her point of view "the atmosphere has not changed so much one year after; people are still very much stressed everywhere".

Hugo, 24, described how he fought against being cowed by the terrorists' actions by going to a bar on the Saturday after the attacks. "The few people who were also in the bar had the same mind set: we wanted to stick two fingers up at the terrorists," he said.

One of the bars near the attacks
(Daniel Ochoa de Olza/AP)


Perhaps referencing the Nice attacks and other incidents in the country, he added: "A year later, so many things have happened that we're not just thinking about the 13th of November any more."

Many people in the city embraced this kind of attitude. "Parisians refused to be driven into living in fear," said Malikah. "People were posting photos of them sitting on terraces with the slogan "même pas peur" ("Not even scared") to show that this wasn't something that we would take lying down."

Jeremy, a 22-year-old fitness instructor from Reunion, said the attacks didn't put him off moving to Paris for better job prospects and that recent events have changed the atmosphere in the city. "Euro 2016 brought a very festive atmosphere to France, which really helped to alleviate tension," he said.

'The body may have been injured, but the skeleton is still intact.'

People walk towards the illuminated Eiffel Tower - (Peter Dejong/AP)
(Peter Dejong/AP)

As the world looked on, changing social media profile photos to the tricolore in solidarity, Parisians came together to pick up the pieces of their shattered city.

Mourad says the attacks have changed how he interacts with his fellow citizens on a day-to-day basis. "The attacks have made me want to be more open and friendly with other Parisians, embracing our differences. More so than distrust and fear."

Memorials for the shootings
(Steve Parsons/PA)

Hugo said it made people look for the positives. "Paris is magical, there was a movement that brought together people all around the world. It was about creating something beautiful out of tragedy."

He added: "This city is the showcase of the French republic with its history, its revolutions, its values...The body may have been injured but the skeleton is still intact, in my opinion."

For others, life goes on. Olivier, 57, said: "I feel less safe but daily life hasn't changed."

Rising Islamaphobia

A Moroccan Muslim man holds a banner which reads
(Abdeljalil Bounhar/AP)

Malikah describes a "wave of Islamophobia" since the attacks, but thinks there hasn't necessarily been a rise in hate crime. She is critical of people conflating the issues: "For example, following the attacks there were calls to tighten immigration and to stop accepting Syrian refugees, even if in reality they are two completely separate issues.

"I think that some of the extreme right-wing parties are playing on this fear, especially ahead of the upcoming elections."

The opinion that Islamaphobia is on the rise is shared by many of the people we spoke to, though most seemed reluctant to expand on their views. Sophie said: "I wouldn't say that before the attacks, being a Muslim was easy and I think these attacks will only serve to aggravate these tensions."

'Make no mistake about it, there will be other attacks'

Candles at the Bataclan concert hall
(Christoph Ena/AP)


Other terror attacks aimed at France have been a stark wake-up call for the nation that Paris would not be a one-off incident. Olivier paints a bleak picture when asked about the likelihood of another attack.

"Make no mistake about it, there will be other attacks. They strike when they want, where they want. I think that there'll be another event before 2017... They are everywhere and nothing will stop them."

Paris Terror attack
(Steve Parsons/PA)


Sophie concedes that an another attack could happen, as much as it is likely to happen in any other city, but she wants the government to focus on prevention. "These incidents shouldn't be taken at face value, we should try and understand why these things happen and maybe we can prevent further attacks," she said. "It's complicated."

It is complicated, but the fortitude and resilience of the Parisian people will keep the city functioning in its stylish way well into the future.

Some participants have asked for their names to be changed.