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It doesn't feel like Paris is under a state of emergency
Photos: AFP

It doesn't feel like Paris is under a state of emergency

Oliver Gee · 18 Feb 2016, 17:06

Published: 18 Feb 2016 17:06 GMT+01:00

Paris will never be the same after terrorists killed 130 and injured hundreds in November last year. The Bataclan concert hall, where 89 died, will be associated with the shooting for as long as it stands.
 
For years to come, people will think back to the attacks while they're sitting on the terraces in the hipster tenth arrondissement where dozens where shot dead. 
 
But now, in mid-February and over three months on, life goes on as normal for those in Paris, apart from those who were unlucky enough to be directly affected. 
 
People flock to the bars in the tenth, including to the Belle Equipe and the Carillon, which have not only reopened but have already cleared away all the tributes and flowers. 
 
The biggest evidence of "moving on" came on Tuesday night, when hundreds of survivors from the Bataclan showed up to see the Eagles of Death Metal "finish their set" at another venue in central Paris. 
 
One of them told The Local that he was there for closure, hoping for "a good night of rock and roll". 
 
Bataclan survivors confront trauma at Paris concertPhoto: AFP
 
This wasn't about laying flowers any more - this was about being strong and going on with their lives. The mourning is over now, it's time to go back to normal. 
 
Sure, the state of emergency is set to be extended until May, but to be honest, besides the soldiers in the streets, you wouldn't even notice. 
 
The extra security guards at restaurants and supermarkets have either disappeared or, if not, have scaled back their operations. 
 
For the first weeks after the attack, any big jacket or bag had to be opened for a check. I can't remember the last time I was asked to do that, now.
 
But, there's one aspect of daily life that isn't yet back to the old days, and that's among the tourists. 
 
Predictably, tourist figures took a big hit after the attacks. While it's not yet possible to determine the total impact of the attacks, Paris hotels have noted around a 20 percent drop in visitor reservations. 
 
Now is the time to change it. France is already working hard to bring tourists back, cutting visa waiting times for Chinese tourists and inviting Japanese and Chinese tour guides to reassure them of any security concerns. 
 
Photo: AFP
 
And Francois Navarro, head of the Paris region tourist board, says tourists are "reassured" to know that security has never been so high in Paris, adding that visitor figures were expected to pick up again in March.
Story continues below…
 
As for any potential tourists thinking of visiting, don't even think twice. Sure, the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has warned that "hyper terrorism is here to stay", but he was talking about Europe. If Paris is at risk, it's just like the rest of the world's big cities. 
 
Take inspiration from the survivors who are already back doing what they love, heading to a rock and roll concert again this week as they did on that fateful night in November. 
 
Come to Paris - take your selfies with the Eiffel Tower and Instagram your croissants. 
 
The City of Light is ready for you. Now come visit and prove you're ready too. 
 
 
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