Paris plans defiant night of food, drink and cafe life

Tue Nov 17, 2015 12:13pm EST
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By Michel Rose

PARIS (Reuters) - Parisians rallied for a night of the eating and drinking they are famous for on Tuesday, in defiance of the Islamist militants who gunned down Friday night revelers last week.

Social media reverberated with the slogan "Je suis en terrasse", an echo of January's "Je suis Charlie" movement and a reflection of how Friday's slaughter at cafes, a music venue and a football stadium hit the younger, wealthier and more fun-loving residents of the French capital.

Many of the 129 victims of the attacks were having drinks or eating at restaurants and cafe terraces in trendy eastern Paris when militants sprayed them with bullets.

"What was targeted was our way of life, our city's identity and culture, the happiness of living together," the Monsieur Bleu restaurant said in a statement, calling on Parisians to go out for a meal and observe a minute of silence at 9 pm.

The "Guide du Fooding" restaurant guide also called on French people to go out to restaurants, bars, cafes and brasseries to pay tribute to the victims, but also to help cafe owners who fear a drop in business following the attacks.

"We told each other if we don't sit at the terrace today, we probably won't do it again," Marie-Therese Vasseur, 65, told Reuters from her vantage point in the spitting rain under a canopy at the Cafe Zephyr in the Grand Boulevard theater district.

"We can't just stop living."

The cafe's manager, Fabien Mazars, welcomed the initiative, saying his takings last weekend had been less than a third of the usual, and that he was braced for a slow couple of weeks.   Continued...

People sit at tables as they have lunch outside bistros in a covered passageway, the Passage des Panoramas, in Paris, France, November 17, 2015.   REUTERS/Charles Platiau