France's President François Holland presided over events today at Place de la République, to mark the first anniversary of the deadly assaults in Paris at the offices of a satirical magazine and a kosher supermarket.
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An oak tree, dubbed the Tree of Memory, was planted in the square at what has become the unofficial place for public mourning for victims of the city's terror attacks, closing out a week of commemorations in France.
Adrien Rapicault, a 24-year-old Parisian, attended the memorial at Place de la République and said the crowd appeared small when he arrived, perhaps a few thousand. That's in sharp contrast to last year's mass rally in the capital on the same date, when an estimated 1.6 million people gathered in a show of unity after attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices and a Jewish supermarket.
French singer Johnny Hallyday performed a song written specifically in honour of victims, One Sunday in January, referencing last year's impressive march, when Parisians stood arm in arm to denounce Islamist extremism.
Rapicault says since the more recent Nov. 13 attacks, "something has changed in France, the way we look at the world."
"We were attacked because of our values," adding that people were very suspicious of each other in Paris after the November attacks, but that has eased somewhat.
"It was a moving ceremony this morning. It very much about Paris still standing. The motto of the city — tossed upon stormy seas, but not sunk — very much in evidence, and that's the message that people here say they still want to give," said CBC's Margaret Evans, reporting from Paris.
In the evening, a crowd, including civic leaders, gathered before the statue in Place de la République for a candlelight vigil.
Memorials held in the past week show that Parisians are strong and determined to go on with their lives, Mayor Anne Hidalgo told reporters at the scene.
On Saturday, President Hollande attended a ceremony on the outskirts of Paris, held in honour of police officer Clarissa Jean-Philippe.
She was was shot dead the day after two gunmen — brothers — entered the second-floor offices of Charlie Hebdo on Jan. 7 and killed 11 people.
Police say the assailant who killed the officer in the Paris suburb of Montrouge knew the brothers.
On Jan. 8, the officer's attacker then raided a kosher supermarket in the city's easternmost neighbourhood, where he killed four hostages before being shot himself.