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.
Well-known cultural institutions including the Paris Opera, shut after the attacks, reopened on Tuesday.
Some saw the “Je suis en terrasse” (I am on the cafe terrace) slogan as the best way to defy Islamic State, the militant group which has claimed the attack and sees western ways as decadent.
“We are going to mourn our dead ... but tomorrow, we will kiss each other like the abominable perverts we are,” journalist Luc Vaillant said in a column published in left-wing daily newspaper Liberation.
Satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, whose newsroom was decimated in January’s attacks that cost 17 lives, summed up the mood with its latest cover: “They have weapons, but screw them, we’ve got Champagne!”
Reporting by Michel Rose; Dominique Vidalon, Pascale Denis; Ingrid Melander, Gregory Blachier; Myriam Rivet; Benjamin Mallet; Valerie Parent; Tim Hepher; Bate Felix; Editing by Andrew Callus