Last Friday night we ate dinner at restaurant around the corner from the Bataclan theatre. Toward the end of dinner a woman came in crying. A waitress gave her a glass of water and then she left. The waitress then calmly told us the lady had seen someone “being shot by terrorists”. It was then that people started to get messages on their phones. We left the restaurant thinking the only shooting was further up toward République square. I stood on the corner for a few minutes talking to a journalist friend and then did a live audio piece. Not releasing that 400 yards from where I stood, inside the Bataclan theatre, complete evil was at work. While doing a live cross for a news channel in the UK, the panic started. The only noise we could hear were sirens and police whistles, lots and lots of whistles. And like everyone around us, we ran. I learnt later that a few minutes after we had left the restaurant that it went into lockdown — like all restaurants, cafes and bars in the area. With people holed up inside until 1am. My wife and I walked back to the apartment we were staying in. A wave of panic slowly rolling across the city. We would walk 200 metres and there would be calm, and then a minute later people would scramble from their chairs. The same thing in another 200 metres. There were (false) reports of another attack in the neighbourhood we were staying in, but we really had no where alse to go, so we kept walking. When we got back to our apartment we turned on the news. Watching in disbelief.
Two nights later someone had painted this on the street we were staying in. It’s a variation on a Paris slogan “Fluctuat nec mergitur” [Is tossed by waves but never sinks]. The slogan below roughly translated is: “Floats but never is dark”.