I Am Paris

To Paris, with love

Exactly a year ago I was in Paris, during the terrorist attacks.

My memories are not all sad, I remember the love, resilience and unity that Parisians demonstrated to everyone the day after the attacks. Today, I remember that love and because of that I wanted to publish my blog from that day again.

November 13, 2015

Flying back from a one-in-a-lifetime visit to the City of Lights, Paris. I had been to Paris a few times before but none of them marked me the way this last time did. It is an amazing city that people need to experience at least once. I attended the Airbnb Annual Conference, Open, which had about five thousand hosts from over one hundred countries around the world.

The conference took place Thursday through Saturday, and it was a great experience, meeting other hosts and Airbnb users from all over the world, hearing their stories, getting to meet them, creating a community and learning more about the future of Airbnb.

But that wasn’t the highlight of my trip, even though it helped me growing as an avid traveler, the big impact that I’ll never forget is the six terrorist attacks that were perpetrated in Paris 10th and 11th andorisssements (districts) the night of Friday November 13, 2015.

Picture taken just minutes it all happened that Friday night
Not an experience that I was looking forward to have, however, as scary and frightening that this may appear, of course it was, Paris showed me more of its resilience, its citizens, its community and the way that Paris will always fight for liberty no matter what.

When I woke up on Saturday November 14th at six in the morning, I didn’t know what to expect. When I went to bed the night before, I didn’t know what the situation would be the next day but certainly it didn’t look promising after the number of fatalities kept rising in the news. To my surprise, as soon as the sun started coming out I glimpsed through the windows and noticed that Parisians were actually out, walking the streets, going to work, riding their vespas, cleaning the streets.

That Saturday morning there was no one on the streets.

After waiting a few hours to learn more about the situation I decided to live my day as a Parisian, needed to go out and live my life as usual. Jumped on a train and headed out to Arc du Triumphe, I needed to feel the power of Paris, its roots and why they have prevailed for so many centuries as a great civilization. When I got there it wasn’t that crowded as usual, a few tourists but for sure the Parisians were out and about, cars running the streets and it all seemed normal. Obviously it wasn’t normal, I could still feel the dense air, somber and gloomy day, I sometimes wondered if people were pretending that nothing happened the night before but as the day progressed I learned that it was the French style, get up and live life again.

Most of the chain shops were closed, but the smaller local businesses and restaurants were all open. So I ventured myself to walk on Champs Elysees until The Opera area, found a brasserie and had lunch, after all I hadn’t eaten in over twelve hours. The streets were for sure quieter than usual, for a Saturday, it was very quiet. Jumped in Uber and went to Le Marais and that neighborhood was definitely happening. All stores, shops, bars, restaurants were open and it was actually busy with so many people, the majority of them locals.

After wandering around Le Marais went to the bar The Lizzard, sat at the bar and had a few drinks while talking to the staff, which by the way, were so friendly and amazing. I did then ask about how they felt about the attacks and how come there were so many locals on the streets. Their answer made everything make sense: “This is not the first time it’s happened. We are not going to stop living our lives the way that we do, we could die in our apartments or anywhere, so we choose to continue life as normal”. Admirable. Totally makes sense and that’s the way I actually felt that morning, not wanting to stay at my apartment and instead go out and experience Paris.

La Marais coming back to life

Before the terrorist attacks I had the chance to explore even more local spots, my favorite now is Rue de Martyrs, with trendy shops, old establishments, boulangeries, bars, antiques and so much more. It’s definitely a great way to experience Paris as the locals do, not at the typical tourist spots but better the way a Parisian lives day-to-day.

A few of my new favorite spots include:

Shopping

Les Mille Feuilles (www.les-mille-feuilles.com) great decor and home accessories, Kaolin (www.kaoline.fr) had as well great ideas on decor and even some Christmas accessories to take back home.

Eating

Hotel Amour Restaurant (www.hotelamourparis.fr) Must have the beef tartare, best tartare I've had in a long time, portions were generous so even better.

Bars

The Lizzard Lounge in Le Marais, they totally made me feel like at home. Super friendly and they have the best Mojitos, got to try them.

I left Paris with a new perspective in life, enjoy every day as it was the last one. I also see Paris in a new way, besides the beautiful and romantic place it is, it is a resilient culture that will stand to many things, including terrorist attacks and it will re-emerge stronger and more lively. For that I’ll always keep this city in my heart, Paris has changed me, Paris is the City of Lights and also the City of Equality, Liberty and Fraternity. Travel to Paris soon. #ParisStrong
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