Paris terror: Despite fear, numbed residents remain defiant

Story highlights

  • Scores left dead by terror attacks in Paris on November 13
  • Among the targets were two restaurant in the 10th arrondissement
  • One survivor describes how she was due to meet firends who were later killed

(CNN)Emotions ran high in a bohemian Paris neighborhood Saturday as locals vented their anger and shock at attackers who killed at least a dozen people in their streets.

    Under overcast skies, numbed residents in the 10th arrondissement ventured out to respectfully gather in front of two restaurants which had been targeted by attackers only hours before.
    Sawdust blanketed the sidewalk and road outside Le Carillon and Le Petit Cambodge to soak up the blood of diners who were shot. A solitary candle stood guard over bunches of flowers and single roses placed carefully in front of the former's entrance.
    Some locals had had a narrow escape. Alexandra Demian initially told her family she was going to Le Carillon. She described how after the attack her mother searched for her in a nearby hospital and rang her phone 60 times: two of the friends she had been due to meet were gunned down and killed.
    "Maybe I catch you later, guys," she recalled telling her friends. "I never caught them later. They died."
    Demian forgot to tell her family that she had changed her plans and was not going to Le Carillon after all.
    "My mother come to the hospital to find my body. Everyone was scared and I just realized it at 3am.
    "And everything just fell down. First, we just didn't realize. Then one of my friends wasn't answering the phone. And the second one too."
    Demian started crying. "I couldn't understand why."
    When Alexandra's mother eventually got through she could only tell her daughter: "You're alive! You're alive! You're alive!"
    Demian said her world had been turned upside down by the killings. The attackers, she said, didn't understand that this was a multi-cultural area where Jews, Christians and Muslims all mix. "Where are they going to strike next?" she asked.
    Another resident, Etienne Athea, said he was watching the France-Germany soccer match game -- which itself came under attack -- when he heard news of the assault on TV and decided to stay in his apartment.
    Resident Etienne Athea
    "I'm Jewish, I have Muslim friends. They come here for Shabbat dinner -- that's why they targeted this neighborhood. Jews, Muslims, Chinese, Germans: there are all kinds of people here."
    Athea said Le Carillon was one of his regular haunts and that his sister used to work there. "I want it to reopen, otherwise they win. I would be a security guard there," he vowed.

    Police tape measuring the bullet holes at Le Carillon.

    A photo posted by @atikacnn on

    Mother and daughter Vivienne and Caroline were enjoying a meal in their nearby home when the attack took place.
    They were unaware of the gunfire and did not know anything was happening until they heard police sirens, which they assumed were due to local gang violence.
    They described nearby Le Petit Cambodge -- where 14 people were murdered -- as a very Parisian neighborhood restaurant where parents would go with young children for family time.
    Amid the shattered glass and pockmarked masonry, there was nevertheless a defiant atmosphere among the dozens of residents on the streets.

    Flowers at le petit Cambodge

    A photo posted by Peterww68 (@peterww68) on

    "We never thought it would happen in this neighborhood," said Vivienne.
    "We are very scared for our neighbors but we are going to do what we did after Charlie Hebdo to show that we are stronger than them."