2015 Paris Attacks
The reminder of the Friday the 13th, 2015 Paris attacks isn’t the most pleasant memory of my three months backpacking Europe. The recent news of Brussels being bombed is a huge reminder of what my experience was of being in Paris, on that deadly Friday night. It is very disturbing that these types of terrorist acts keep on happening. It was a very unexpected few days that I spent in Paris during the most tumultuous time in the cities history.
(Note – Most of the pictures in this article expand if clicked on, to get a more detailed view)
The Beginning of Friday the 13th in Paris
I flew into Paris from Barcelona and was mesmerized by the beauty of the city (after the 2 hour bus ride from the airport). While I was on the bus ride, I sat next to a girl from Scotland, who had decided to fly in for one night, and stay at the Hotel De Ville. It was a birthday present from her parents. We talked a bunch and got to know each other, and laughed about how it was Friday the 13th. What’s going to happen tonight?!!!!!!! And of course, neither one of us can really fathom at that point what was about to happen. How could you? The only thing that resonates with me when I think of Friday the 13th, are Jason movies on Halloween. It was all make believe until this ugly event happened for real.
I went to my hostel by taking the metro. I stayed at Caulaincourt Square Hostel, which is quite a ways away from where I was let off by the bus. The metro subway system was tough to figure out, and is actually a little bit intimidating because of how big Paris is. It is by far the biggest city that I have been to in my life.
I was able to walk around for a while after putting my belongings in my room. Thankfully, I cut my night short after grabbing some pizza at a random restaurant in the 11th Arr. The constant travel from country to country wears on you sometimes. It could have also been my subconscious telling me to get the hell off the streets! Whatever it was, I got back to my hostel around 8:30 pm and laid in bed. I took my phone out and saw the unexpected news. The 2015 Paris attacks were ongoing as people were being held hostage in the Baticlan.
It was one of the weirdest feelings I’ve ever had in my life. Knowing that I could have easily gone out and done something later in the night gave me an even more queasy feeling. It was supposed to be a relaxing first night in Paris.
Instead, I am just stuck in my room texting furiously with friends and family, letting them know that I am alright. Anxiously hoping that the situation will be under control soon. Nothing is for sure at this point though. The echoes and the sirens didn’t end until almost 3 AM that night! So I just laid around looking at my phone, and looking out the window from time to time.
I eventually fell asleep and woke up the next day. I immediately felt the sorrow and disgust of the Parisians all over the place. The Eiffel Tower closed for the first time in a 100 years, hardly anyone was out, and stores were closed. I managed to get enough courage to go walk around a little, but it was just an overall REALLY sorrow vibe everywhere. Understandably so.
Parisians started to go out more once it got to Sunday. Everyone realized that the security was the highest it had ever been in the city, and that another attack had a minimal chance of happening.
Did the 2015 Paris Attacks kill my experience in Paris?
Despite the negative circumstances, I got to see another side of Paris that I will never forget. Although there was sorrow, I saw the pride in the people as they strolled around the streets with their families the next couple of days. I was still definitely nervous from time to time walking throughout the streets though. Especially, in the areas that were less touristy.
I still love Paris, even though I saw it in a different light than pretty much any other person who has been there. I would definitely go back again. It would be nice to go back and have a chill weekend where I can actually go to the tourist attractions. Instead of sit in my hostel while everything is closed.
When I think back though, I don’t regret being close to the 2015 Paris attacks one bit. Because being there during the attacks, gave me such an unique experience that I will probably never experience again in my life. Yes it would be classified as a negative experience. But seeing the pride in that city when diversity set in was beautiful.