We Asked Parisians How The Attacks Have Changed Their Lives
"I've started to say 'I love you' to the people I love."
The terrorist attacks that took place in Paris and Saint-Denis on 13 November 2015 left 130 dead and hundreds injured. BuzzFeed France asked readers how the attacks had affected their daily lives. Fear on public transport, new relationships, increased Islamophobia – here are the responses.
1. "I lost former colleagues in the attack at the Bataclan, and I can no longer drink on the terrace in certain arrondissements. I get nervous in certain venues, such as la Bellevilloise. I can't stay for longer than 20 minutes." Marty
2. "On 13 November I was at the Stade de France. When I left the stadium, I was accompanied by police. Ever since then, whenever I'm in the stadium, I can't see security staff the same way." Leo
3. "Fear of loud noises in the street, fear of news alerts, fear of crowds." @lennythekat
4. "On the night the attacks happened, we stayed locked in our offices until the morning. For many weeks afterwards, whenever I worked late in the office and the lights came on, I relived that sleepless night. Gradually it faded, but now, with the return of winter and late nights in the office, the feeling has returned." X
5. "I feel like my birthday was stolen from me. A day of celebration became a day of mourning, and now everyone knows my birthday as 'the day Paris was attacked'." Naf
6. "I can no longer get on public transport without first scanning the subway car. And sometimes I experience an uncontrollable panic which forces me to get off the train and wait five or ten minutes for the next one." Anonymous
7. "I get stopped and searched by the police a lot more often now." T
8. "That night, in the midst of all the horror, I met someone. We were together for a few months, and even though we are no longer a couple, we established a bond that night – a feeling that, even on a night like that, there was 'something else' less appalling out there, as if something had been protected, that it was still possible to live and to feel despite everything." Z
9. "I'm a French expat living in the US, and every morning when I wake up I expect to read about an attack that's happened in France." Wolly
10. "In my contacts there was a blocked number, a girl I had blacklisted for four years, ever since she dumped me. Amid the horror and urgency of that night, I forgot about the pain and stubborn resentment. I just wanted to know if she was alive. That day, I reconnected with what was most important: the love that bound us together, something positive to compensate for the darkness that had descended on us. When terror struck Brussels, again, she was there. Today we're friends. And I no longer have any numbers on a blacklist." Julie
11. "An infinite loneliness and sadness, which led to my separating from the father of my daughter. I also left the 11th arrondissement to settle in the inner suburbs of Paris, not wanting to be too close to the site of the shootings, not wanting to hear the sirens outside my window. Also, a more positive change, the desire to live my life fully.” Mitsouko
12. "Unfortunately, it's made me more suspicious of other people, and nervous about my regular haunts." Khyliss
13. " I live just behind the Bataclan, close to the Charlie Hebdo offices. I was at home the night of 13 November. 1) I no longer go out without my smartphone. The noise of sirens, ambulances, and fire engines is still frightening. 2) I try to live life more fully now, going to concerts more frequently, partying, and fighting for the right to do those things. 3) I work in culture and education, and I'm increasingly convinced that they are the answer to ignorance and terrorism – so I work even harder. 4) I feel more attached to my neighbourhood. My neighbours and I, we share the sense of shock." Juliette
14. "Just before 13 November, I went to see the film Everest. My friends and I got scared because of this weird guy who came in 10 minutes before the end and sat there, not wearing 3D glasses, staring at everyone. In fact, it was an employee who had come in to collect the glasses, and we laughed at how paranoid we'd been. Since 13 November, every time I go to the movies, I scrutinise everyone in the room, and whenever the door opens my heart races and I'm ready to throw myself on the floor or run. I can no longer enjoy a movie without thinking of the possibility of an attack. I avoid high-profile movies or large theatres, even though going to the cinema is one of my favourite things to do. I've seen Everest several times since then, and it always reminds me of a time when the idea of a shooting in a Parisian place of culture was so absurd it made us laugh." Anaïs
15. "Now, whenever I'm in a public place, I always look to see where the emergency exits are." Marie Campus
16. "Living in Berlin, my French friends and I think that after Paris and Brussels, Berlin will be the next city to be attacked. We've tried to guess where it may take place: Alexanderplatz, one of the two airports, Hauptbahnhof, as in the last season of Homeland, or in the queue outside Berghain as a symbol of debauchery. When I go out, I find myself thinking about the best escape routes or hiding places, were someone to start shooting. I think about it and then tell myself it's ridiculous." J.P.
17. "Part of the population is even more demonised than before. It really saddens me. What has changed for me? It has probably strengthened my political consciousness. I'm no longer indifferent regarding our 'leaders'. Nowadays I'm disgusted by them. Before, I didn't care. Now, I can't afford not to." Claudio
18. "A feeling of being rejected by certain people because of my identity." Anthony
19. "Reluctantly but undeniably, I became Islamophobic. I'm fighting against this impulse, but it's how I feel. And I'm not alone among my (pretty liberal) circle of friends, who are anxious around certain issues: the veil, the burkini, denial of healthcare, etc. I never thought it possible, but increasingly I'm speaking like a Front National member. I should stress that I'm going to vote for (left-wing candidate) Mélenchon." Lindt5
20. "Nothing. Because to change would have meant submitting to terrorists." Bap
21. "When I'm in a public place I often have this fear that someone suddenly with a machine gun will start firing on the crowd. It doesn't usually last long, but it sends a shiver down my spine, reminding me of the horror of that black Friday." Art Core
22. "The constant fear of being in public spaces."
23. "It makes me want to travel. I tell myself that since danger can exist anywhere, even in Paris, there's no point staying at home, you might as well travel and make the most of life." loulou
24. "It made me realise that life is too short. That night I was with a man I'd been in love with for ages, but never had the courage to tell him. That night, everything changed. Even though we were just friends, he was everything I needed. Someone to comfort me, hold me in his arms, whisper in my ear that everything would be OK.
"I know it sounds weird to say it ... but that night was the start of my love affair, and for that I can't help but feel both profoundly sad and in some part grateful for having shared this experience with him." Farah
25. "It has not changed much in my daily life, yet a small part of me is lost. My faith in humanity has been eroded, as my sense of incomprehension at the human race has grown. The attacks happened where I live, in restaurants where I eat, which is what makes it feel so much more real to me." Am
26. "Nothing." Eloi
27. "I no longer just want to leave France – I need to. I don't want to live surrounded by surveillance and police. I can't stay here." MoonriseKilldem
28. "I'm less afraid of dying, and I have more desire to fight terrorism." Gérard64
29. "Unfortunately it made me less tolerant. And it's awful to admit because I've always seen myself as open, someone who calls out racist jokes and comments. But I can't help it, it's instinctive. Now, when I see a bearded guy wearing a djellaba, my heart starts racing. My brain knows it makes no sense, that's it's a gross generalisation, but my body is on the defensive. This is something I will never admit in public." Julia
30. "My attitude to music and partying has changed. I can't go to a concert without thinking about it." Jeanne
31. "I want to say first of all that I did not lose anyone in the attacks, but I remain deeply haunted by these events. Not a day goes by when I don't think about it, and I hate myself for that. The fear doesn't prevent me from doing anything – going to work, taking the Metro, going out – but it's constantly there. I'm not afraid of dying, but I'm scared of losing someone I love." Alicia
32. "I still avoid watching or listening to the news." Guill'
33. "There's a sense of political leaders being overwhelmed, unable to lead their country. Nowadays I feel ashamed to be French when I see the plummeting respect for other cultures. Politicians have done nothing to defend tolerance. I'm ashamed." Marshall
34. "I live the life I led before, I take the Metro (with the occasional moment of anxiety), I go to concerts, restaurants, and bars with my friends. But there is always a moment when I hesitate, look around, and say to myself, 'What if...' But I always chase the thought away, and try to make the most of being with people I love, because life is beautiful and must go on." Man
35. "I'm thinking of leaving the country." K
36. "Since the events of last year, I decided to make the most of every moment. Do not hesitate to go out, to have fun, to spend time with friends. Do not have regrets. And most importantly, show the world we are not afraid." Martin
37. "I've started to say 'I love you' to the people I love." @ZZ_princess