Home » News » Lyndoch woman tells of Paris atrocities

Lyndoch woman tells of Paris atrocities

Lyndoch woman tells of Paris atrocities

Ms Lea Rebane and her son, Aki of Lyndoch are currently residing in Paris.

With the recent ISIS suicide bombings and shootings taking place there and being only a relatively short distance away from her, she thought readers of The Leader might care to learn about her first-hand experience in Paris.

This is Lea’s story….

On the evening of November 13, I had gone to a comedy show in the 9th arrondissement.

Originally I’d planned to stay for the second show also, but I thought of my new Parisian friend, Suzy Randria, a very popular jazz funk singer in Paris.

 She had kindly taken me to a jazz jam the previous evening. So, I decided instead to go to Le Chat Noir and take some photos of Suzy and her band.

It must have been around 9.30 p.m. when I made my way from the 9th, to the 18th arrondissement.

I believe this was around the time the attacks started. In any case, the Metro and all around me seemed normal.

Little did I know that one of the horrific shootings was taking place in the 10th arrondissement – the next district over.

To put this in Adelaide terms, if I were in Parkside, the shootings would have occurred in Glenside and Burnside.

However, I happily made my way to Le Chat Noir and enjoyed hearing Suzy sing, as always.

It must have been roughly one and a half hours later that the restaurant lit up. The ambience of the dim lights gone. I wondered why but wasn’t overly concerned. 

Suzy came to me, “We have to go home…” she hesitated, “War has broken out in the 11th arrondissement. The restaurant needs to close as we’re at risk, (being) in a tourist area.” 

I heard her say the words but could not comprehend their meaning. I didn’t understand. I couldn’t believe this. Of course, it had to be terrorism.

I joined the scuttle around me and quickly paid my bill. The waiter assured me that I would find a taxi just a little further up the road.

I only live a kilometre or two away, which I normally would walk, but I wanted to go home quickly. However, no taxis were to be found on Boulevard de Clichy. Yes – the popular Boulevard de Clichy.

As I walked past Le Moulin Rouge, the shock of the night hit me.

Normally the sidewalk is bursting full of people and the line along this famous venue snakes around its belts.

There was no one. Simply no one.

That vision made me realise that actually very few people remained on the streets.

I have rolled home at 3 a.m. here before and witnessed more people than this.

My hopes of finding a taxi faded and I made my way to the bus stop.

Surprisingly, a few tiny bars held a few people, as if they existed in another world. 

I waited at the bus stop. A kind woman advised me that a bus would be along in nine minutes. ‘Nine minutes’ hung in the air for me like the chime of a bell. We began chatting, and although I simply cannot remember which country she came from for some reason, she told me she had lived here for fifteen years. Now she wanted to go home.

The bus arrived, filled with people bowed to their mobiles. I reached home and felt grateful that I hadn’t stayed for the second comedy show.

Some people were not able to leave certain areas until 5 a.m.

The good people of Paris adopted an ‘open door’ policy of welcoming those stranded into their homes. Taxis also had turned off their meters to get people home.

I found the channel that gave French news in English.  I didn’t even think of going onto Facebook, which I would normally be doing, because I couldn’t stop staring at the TV.

When I did open Facebook after a few hours’ sleep, I certainly didn’t expect the mass of messages and  notifications.

Goodness, even my son had worked out how to use the phone. All this touched me so deeply, I continued to tear-up for days.

For the full story see this week’s edition of The Leader.