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PARIS TERROR AFTERMATH

TERRORISM

France raises thousands for Paris terror orphans

Online donators have opened their hearts and their wallets for two children who were orphaned when their parents died in the November 13th terror attacks in Paris.

France raises thousands for Paris terror orphans
Photo: Private
Lacrimioara and her husband Ciprian were just two of the 130 people who lost their life in the Paris terror attacks – both gunned down at the Belle Equipe bar on the rue de Charonne in the city's 11th arrondissement.
 
The couple, who were originally from Romania but who had lived in France for years, left behind them two children – 18-month-old Kevin-Lucas and 11-year-old Tania.
 
The children have been sent to live with their grandmother since the attacks. 
 
Meanwhile, the manager of the Café des Anges, a block away from the Belle Equipe, has launched an online fundraising campaign to help the two children with “any legal and administrative fees as well as the children's well-being”. 
 

(Flowers outside the Belle Equipe restaurant on Thursday. Photo: The Local)
 
“Today, beyond grief, we face an emergency,” wrote the manager, Virgile, in the online campaign. 
 
“The two orphans are in an unbearable situation: their grandmother has no steady income and has been left to take care of her beloved grandchildren, as wished by the parents.
 
“It is important for the community to come together to raise funds to assist with this emergency and to also ensure that the children are raised together. It was their parents wish, but also our duty, to make sure that they receive French citizenship and the education they deserve.”
 
The older of the two children, Tania, was born in Romania to another father, who is also deceased. Her brother was born in France. Both had been living with their parents in Paris. 
 
Internet users have wasted no time in responding to the campaign, with almost 2,000 donors raising just under €90,000 since it was launched last week. The target has been listed as €100,000.
 
The children have both received special help from the government through the “pupilles de la nation”, a fund that was introduced during World War One to help families who have been hit by war or terrorism. 
 
It's not just in France that online donators have been busy lending a hand in the wake of the attacks. 
 
In the US, the “Friends of Fondation de France” has also launched an online campaign for the survivors and saw an impressive response from those on the other side of the Atlantic. 
 
“In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, hundreds of donations were sent in through the website from Americans who just wanted to do what they could do to show solidarity with the French,” the charity's spokesman Arthur Hickok told The Local. 
 

READER INSIGHTS

‘Painful’ – is Paris Charles de Gaulle airport really that bad?

Following a survey that said Paris Charles de Gaulle airport was the best in Europe, we asked Local readers what they thought...

'Painful' - is Paris Charles de Gaulle airport really that bad?

Recently, Paris Charles de Gaulle was voted the best airport in Europe by passengers.

The 2022 World Airport Awards, based on customer satisfaction surveys between September 2021 and May 2022, listed the best airport on the planet as Doha, while Paris’s main airport came in at number 6 – the highest entry for a European airport – one place above Munich. 

READ ALSO Paris Charles de Gaulle voted best airport in Europe by passengers

Given CDG’s long-standing reputation doesn’t quite match what the World Airport Awards survey said – in 2009 it was rated the second-worst airport in the world, while in 2011 US site CNN judged it “the most hated airport in the world” – we wondered how accurate the survey could be.

So we asked readers of The Local for their opinion on their experience of Europe’s ‘best’ airport. 

Contrary to the World Airport Awards study, users erred towards the negative about the airport. A total 30.8 percent of Local readers – who had travelled through the airport in recent months – thought it was ‘terrible’, while another 33.3 percent agreed that it was ‘not great’ and had ‘some problems’.

But in total 12.8 percent of those who responded to our survey thought the airport was ‘brilliant’, and another 23.1 percent thought it ‘fine’, with ‘no major problems’.

So what are the problems with it?

Signage 

One respondent asked a simple – and obvious – question: “Why are there so many terminal twos?”

Barney Lehrer added: “They should change the terminal number system.”

In fact, signage and directions – not to mention the sheer size of the place – were common complaints, as were onward travel options. 

Christine Charaudeau told us: “The signage is terrible. I’ve often followed signs that led to nowhere. Thankfully, I speak French and am familiar with the airport but for first time travellers … yikes!”

Edwin Walley added that it was, “impossible to get from point A to point B,”  as he described the logistics at the airport as the “worst in the world”.

And James Patterson had a piece of advice taken from another airport. “The signage could be better – they could take a cue from Heathrow in that regard.”

Anthony Schofield said: “Arriving by car/taxi is painful due to congestion and the walk from the skytrain to baggage claim seems interminable.”

Border control

Border control, too, was a cause for complaint. “The wait at the frontière is shameful,” Linda, who preferred to use just her first name, told us. “I waited one and a half hours standing, with a lot of old people.”

Sharon Dubble agreed. She wrote: “The wait time to navigate passport control and customs is abysmal!”

Deborah Mur, too, bemoaned the issue of, “the long, long wait to pass border control in Terminal E, especially at 6am after an overnight flight.”

Beth Van Hulst, meanwhile, pulled no punches with her estimation of border staff and the airport in general. “[It] takes forever to go through immigration, and staff deserve their grumpy reputation. Also, queuing is very unclear and people get blocked because the airport layout is not well designed.”

Jeff VanderWolk highlighted the, “inadequate staffing of immigration counters and security checkpoints”, while Karel Prinsloo had no time for the brusque attitudes among security and border personnel. “Officers at customs are so rude. I once confronted the commander about their terrible behaviour.  His response said it all: ‘We are not here to be nice’. Also the security personnel.”

Connections

One of the most-complained-about aspects is one that is not actually within the airport’s control – public transport connections.  

Mahesh Chaturvedula was just one of those to wonder about integrated travel systems in France, noting problems with the reliability of onward RER rail services, and access to the RER network from the terminal.

The airport is connected to the city via RER B, one of the capital’s notoriously slow and crowded suburban trains. Although there are plans to create a new high-speed service to the airport, this now won’t begin until after the 2024 Olympics.

Sekhar also called for, “more frequent trains from SNCF to different cities across France with respect to the international flight schedules.”

The good news

But it wasn’t all bad news for the airport, 35 percent of survey respondents said the airport had more positives than negatives, while a Twitter poll of local readers came out in favour of Charles de Gaulle.

Conceding that the airport is “too spread out”, Jim Lockard said it, “generally operates well; [and has] decent amenities for food and shopping”.

Declan Murphy was one of a number of respondents to praise the, “good services and hotels in terminals”, while Dean Millar – who last passed through Charles de Gaulle in October – said the, “signage is very good. [It is] easy to find my way around”.

He added: “Considering the size (very large) [of the airport] it is very well done.  So no complaints at all.”

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