PARIS — At 6 p.m. sharp on Tuesday, Mickel Dagdalar and Maxence Lezeau squeezed behind a tiny bistro table at Le Baromètre, a casual neighborhood hangout on the Boulevard Voltaire. They every lit a cigarette and started sipping at glasses of beer, as the crowd around them swelled.
It was the most typical of Parisian scenes — the sharing of drinks among buddies. But after the worst terrorist assault on France in current history, it was also meant to be an act of defiance, a modern-day symbol of “la résistance.”
What better way to declare the endurance of France than to live it up at a cafe?
“This was an attack on our way of life,” said Mr. Lezeau, shouting to be heard above the noise of clinking glasses and rock music. “With this easy act, we’re displaying that we are in no way going to let the terrorists get at the heart of France.”
That the bistro was in the 11th Arrondissement, less than 50 yards from exactly where a massacre unfolded at the Bataclan concert hall Friday evening, added an edge of poignancy to the gesture.
“They had been attempting to kill our quite culture — the French way of life,” Camille Dancourt, 18, a student at the Institut Catholique, said whilst out with close friends earlier in the day. “They will not succeed.”
France is nonetheless reeling from the shock of Friday’s synchronized terrorist assaults, in which attackers killed at least 129 individuals in a hail of gunfire and explosions at six sites across Paris. A lot of conversations drift to somber reminiscences about acquaintances lost, or those nonetheless recovering in hospitals.
Hardest hit had been the 10th and 11th Arrondissements, where gunmen opened fire at 3 restaurants within walking distance of 1 yet another before massacring scores of revelers down the street at the Bataclan.
But even as President François Hollande warned that “France is at war,” Parisians had been mounting their personal style of defiance of the Islamic State, the militant group that claimed responsibility for targeting what it called “the capital of abomination and perversion.”
After days of living with wailing police sirens, hovering helicopters and general unease about big gatherings in public spaces, Parisians ventured back into cafes Tuesday night, encouraged by a call on Twitter to show defiance by doing the simplest of French acts: lifting a glass of wine on a terrace.
The hashtags #jesuisenterrace, modeled right after the Je Suis Charlie sign, and #tousaubistrot lit up people’s phones and sent them scurrying toward the nearest bottle of rouge.
“I can’t say that we’re not afraid,” admitted Ms. Dancourt, who lives on the Boulevard Voltaire, a central location of the shootings. “As soon as folks hear a loud noise, they appear about. And even if we didn’t know the victims personally, it is clear that this could have happened to any one of us.”
But compared with the terror and repression that the Islamic State represents, Ms. Dancourt continued, “we have a great life: We are as free of charge as the air. Their acts make us even more determined to show that we will never ever give up our freedoms.”
Vanessa Lucot, an architect at La Défense organization district, who earlier in the day was consuming lunch with a colleague beneath a gray Parisian sky, ticked off the ways of the French, one particular by one particular.
“The French are constantly out on a terrace, drinking a coffee or wine, speaking, smoking a cigarette,” she stated as military men in red berets and fatigues armed with machine guns crossed the skyscraper-bordered plaza.
“We’re a small undisciplined. We’re a tiny irritating. We like to do what we want. That’s the French way,” she mentioned. “They’ll in no way kill that.”
Ahead of Friday, lingering at a cafe, kissing on the street, savoring avant-garde art or even attending an exhibit on prostitution at the Musée d’Orsay was just a normal facet of French life, Ms. Lucot said.
“We didn’t see it as a statement of any sort,” she mentioned. “Now it is becoming turned into an act of defiance and a statement of our humanist ideology.”
Still, Parisians are on edge. The busiest lines on the city’s subway system, the Métro, those crossing the principal axes of the city, have been emptying out by midevening, whilst some locations in even touristy neighborhoods like the Marais, the heart of the Jewish quarter, stay uncharacteristically quiet.
At an outdoor industry on the Boulevard Raspail in the Sixth Arrondissement, a woman who identified herself only as Mama Bijou mentioned folks were still going about their day-to-day routine of purchasing for fruits, vegetables and other goods.
“But they’re just acquiring what they require, then receiving out of here quickly,” she stated, packing up an array of African wood sculptures as the industry closed. “Everyone feels traumatized. But we nevertheless have to go on living.”
Guests at the Luxembourg Gardens on Tuesday found the gates shut at midday, the park quiet except for the sound of police sirens screaming by.
Still, they are French, and defiance seems to course through their veins.
On Tuesday, the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, itself the target of a terrorist attack in January, published a cover featuring a bullet-riddled man, spouting Champagne, below a headline that study: “They have weapons. Screw them, we have Champagne!”
The cover of Les Inrockuptibles, a culture magazine, presented a message of unity. “In the face of terror, Paris belongs to us,” the headline read.
Muslims had been also out on social media addressing messages of defiance to Islamic terrorists. Numerous rallied around the hashtag #notinmyname, which functions a video displaying a montage of young Muslim men and females stating their rejection of the Islamic State.
“ISIS does not represent Islam or any Muslim, since it’s entirely un-Islamic, due to the fact you’re killing innocent folks, due to the fact you are unjust,” they say in the video.
As darkness fell, an additional symbol of resistance lit up the evening sky: The Eiffel Tower, painted in the red, white and blue colors of the French flag.
It was adorned with the Latin words “Fluctuat nec mergitur,” the ancient slogan of Paris, which translates to “it is tossed by the waves but does not sink.”
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