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Parisians forced to face up to fears one week on

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Parisians forced to face up to fears one week on
An Eiffel Tower statue left at one of the vigils around Paris. Photo: AFP
16:18 CET+01:00
Emotion and tension is still high in Paris almost exactly a week on since the massacres, but locals are putting aside their fears of venturing out and will mark Friday night's anniversary, not with silence but with noise and light.
At this time last week - late Friday afternoon - countless Parisians were deciding what to do with their Friday night. 
 
Where to go for dinner? Whether to have a drink before? Whether to stand at the back or the front of the mosh pit at the Bataclan concert?
 
These choices ended up being the difference between life and death for hundreds, with the attacks later that night killing 130 innocent people at cafes, bars, restaurants and the music venues.
 
One week on and Paris has another psychological barrier it must pass on the road to recovery, with many in the city deciding whether to venture out.
 
While many Parisians will undoubtedly think twice about heading out on Friday night, scores have vowed to turn up the volume and shine their brightest lights in a supportive memorial. 
 
The tribute was launched after a letter from around 200 cultural figures was published in the French Huffington Post, calling for solidarity from people of all races and backgrounds. 
 
"One week on, we must turn on the lights and the candles in our cafes, streets, squares, towns, and make ourselves heard through the music which they hate. Make noise and shine light so they understand they have lost," they wrote.
 
Parisians have since taken to social media to share the hashtag #21h20 - referring to 9.20pm, the time the terrorists struck, and the time at which's tonight's memorials will begin. 
Many of The Local's readers have said they will join the tribute. 
 
Dan Kennedy on The Local's Facebook page said he would treat it as "a normal Friday night", adding that he planned to go out for dinner. 
 
"We heard that a lot of cafes will have people go out onto the street and hold hands at 9.20 as a show of solidarity. We are hoping our local cafe will do the same," he said. 
 
Another follower, Kelly O'Neill Houle, said she had made reservations at a local bistro and planned to have a drink at another on the way. 
 
"Too bad the weather is so bad," she said. "But we will do our best to support our restaurants."
 
Parisians have shown a brave face so far, perhaps most notably on Sunday when many were out in force enjoying the sunshine.
 
Even though many told The Local at the time that they would never let terrorists win and change their lifestyles, a false alarm just hours later sent crowds stampeding through the streets in a blind panic, leaving some fearing that they were about to be killed too. 
 
Other stats have suggested that Parisians are afraid, such as the fact that ticket sales for concert in Paris have fallen by around 80 percent in the week since the attacks, promoters said on Friday.
 
Still, Parisians haven't stopped flocking to their beloved terraces in the days and nights since Friday, many making a special effort on Tuesday following a social media campaign that urged locals to head outside.
A man from western France was among those who ventured out, taking in the England vs France football game in a bar on the Left Bank.
 
"It just felt normal to come out and meet my friends despite everything that happened," he told The Local at the time.
 
"I'm not worried or anxious. Life has to carry on. The worst thing to show to people is that you're scared"
 
Another Parisian who was out at the time, David, said he "didn't even consider" being scared.
 
"I'm not scared - I'm 41 years old. It's not like with generation X, who are probably more afraid. Me, I don't even think about it," he said.
 
"I know what's going on around the world right now, so I'm not surprised about what happened in Paris. If you read the news you know the world is messed up. My dad called me in tears on Saturday morning but two days after he said: 'Just live your life'."
 
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