‘The streets are empty apart from police cars’: We spoke to a Durham grad in Paris

I can’t believe how the city has just shut down


Durham graduate Harry Grattan was in a bar in central Paris when the city started to shut down.

She said: “The streets are empty apart from police cars and the only thing you can hear is helicopters. It’s creepy for a Friday night.”

We spoke to her about what she experienced this evening.

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Harry, left

I was in a bar in the 11th Arrondisement having a drink with a friend near Canal St Martin.

We couldn’t hear any of the shots but suddenly there were hundreds of police and ambulances which could be heard from where we were, and about five minutes later the owner of the bar informed everyone of what had happened.

All the information we had was that there had been a shooting in Le Petit Cambodge bar and at least four people had been killed by armed gunmen.

We were advised to try to get home as soon as possible but were welcome to stay if needed. My friends and I decided to take the option to get out.

The metro was busy with everyone trying to do the same thing and the atmosphere was really tense as no one really knew what had happened.

When I got home two of my three housemates were home and within the hour all the bars and restaurants around our place closed.

The streets are empty apart from police cars and the only thing you can hear is helicopters. It’s creepy for a Friday night.

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My friend was at a bar on the other side of town, he got home about an hour ago.

He said there was not one person on the metro, which for a Friday night is unheard of. It’s bizarre as I feel so useless being here as I am so close but can do nothing.

I feel shocked. It seems so surreal and unbelievably close to the previous shootings which happened about 10 months ago. I can’t believe how the city has just shut down. Literally.

I live about a 15 minute walk away from the scenes. What is incredible is the public’s reaction. It is unbelievable how many people have messaged to see if I am OK, and the speed in which Facebook created the safe in Paris tagging system.

That I think is a another very significant feature of this evening, it has rallied everyone together and there is a strange sense of unity in Paris which is already emerging.

I can’t quite process it.