Calgary woman describes aftermath of Paris attacks
Canadian says Paris was 'sad and sombre' on Saturday, with 'none of the vitality' the city usually has
A Calgary woman who was a 10-minute walk from some of the restaurants and cafés targeted in Friday's attacks in Paris described the situation as sad, shocking and surreal on Saturday.
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Denise Summers and her partner were having dinner at about 9:30 p.m. Friday at a restaurant not far from Hôtel Balzac, where they are staying while on vacation.
At about 11:30 p.m., when their restaurant server said he couldn't get them a cab, they knew something wasn't right.
"The streets were quite deserted and there was all these police racing by and sirens … so we walked back to our hotel and the streets that are normally full were just — there were no pedestrians," Summers said from her hotel room late Saturday.
When she got back to the hotel and turned on the news, the enormity of what was going on began to sink in.
"I just feel sad for all the people here that live here, obviously the people who were killed and injured and their families, but also the people who live here that are now frightened," Summers said.
"It's just very sad for Paris and for France."
After just a few hours of sleep, Summers and her partner ventured out Saturday morning.
"It was a totally different feeling in the air, just very quiet and sad and sombre, none of the vitality that Paris had," she said.
Summers walked past the Luxembourg Palace and stopped to take a photo.
"It was these beautiful gardens with flowers … I took a picture through the gates [and] in front of it was this big army vehicle and two soldiers," she said.
"It makes you realize that you are really not safe anywhere the way things are right now."
Summers said by later in the day, there were signs of people continuing on with their lives.
"[The attackers] want to create terror and they want us to stop living our lives so I was glad to see that even though people were sad … I saw people carrying on with their lives and shopping in the market for groceries and I was glad to see that," she said.
"I think that's what we need to do, [to send the message] what they are doing isn't working."