Where do I begin? At the beginning of course…it’s November 13, 2015: 9:30 pm Central European Time…
We were standing on top of the world. Not really but the top of the Arc du Triumph is awfully close. The world seemed so serene, innocent from that height, looking down the Champees Elysees toward the Eiffel tower for the 10:00 sparkle show to finish a jam packed day.
We started the day at the Picasso Museum, then walked though a non-touristy district down to Notre Dame, to the Latin Quarter to see the French Catacombs. Upon our finish there we took the metro up to the Louvre for a quick bite to eat and hit the must see pieces of the museum…after awards we wondered over to the Arc for the last sight of the day.
It was quiet, as quiet as a big city like Paris can be. You feel a little bit of elation standing there shivering from the wind watching one of the worlds most iconic buildings sparkle, for what seems like you alone.
10:15-10:30 PM- As, we headed back to our flat in the 11th district- Bastille. It’s early afternoon in the states, we are exhausted from a full day, ready to go to bed when, coming out of the metro with my husband and in laws I get a text from my best friend asking if we are ok. They are getting reports of shots fired in Paris. I immediatly tell her yes, and I will turn on the news when we get to the flat which we weren’t far from. Before making it back we notice several of the bistros, that were hopping the night before are closed, and one specific street is blocked by police with armor, large guns and a hummer like vehicle.
At the flat we turn on the news, terrorists outside of the French German soccer game north of Paris and hostages at a theater…oh wait…where is that? Bastille district? Oh shit, that is like 2 blocks from here…
Although I don’t speak or understand french very well, I am pretty good at reading it. I send her all the info, slowly via text message we currently are told via Parisian news. And I tell her not to tell my family. Not because I don’t want them to know, it’s just they worry so much. I know it is only a matter of time, international terrorism makes headlines pretty quick and based on the coverage it was getting in such a short amount of time, I knew it was a matter of moments before….
Then I get a text from my mom, my grandmother, and it begins. While we are safe in our flat, currently guarded by armed guards for the synagogue next door my dear family worries, as do most Americans.
Once I have calmed everyone with texts and photos, we start to climb into bed. It’s just past midnight when I hear POP POP POP…they just stormed the Bataclan…
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