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Cafe That Was Hit By Paris Terrorism Attack Reopens

Customers turned out Friday at the Bonne Biere cafe, reportedly the first Paris cafe that was attacked to reopen.
Charles Platiau
/
Reuters/Landov
Customers turned out Friday at the Bonne Biere cafe, reportedly the first Paris cafe that was attacked to reopen.

Three weeks after extremist gunmen shot at customers on its terrace, the Bonne Bière cafe reopened for business Friday, serving coffee and pastries to patrons who sat on the sidewalk behind memorials to the attack's victims.

It's the first of the targeted cafes to reopen, according to Le Parisien.

Signs of the attack include a banner over its awning that reads "Je Suis En Terrasse" — I'm on the terrace — a defiant message that spread in the days after the Nov. 13 attack. And instead of advertising the day's specials, the cafe's chalkboard contains a message of support for those who lost loved ones in the attack.

From Paris, NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports:

"Five people died after being raked by bullets as they sat on the terrace of Cafe la Bonne Biere on a mild November night. The Islamist gunmen fired their assault-style weapons from a passing car.

"The facade of La Bonne Bière has been hastily repaired, and city trash collectors have begun to clear away flowers from several of the cafes and restaurants attacked.

"With memories of the night still raw, French news reports show local residents have mixed feelings about the reopening. One woman said Paris has a wound that will never heal, but she said life must go on."

Removing those flowers brought mixed feelings to the city's street cleaners who took on the job.

"We cleared out six trucks' worth of wilted flowers and several kilograms of candles," a cleaner named Sebastien tells France 24. "We didn't really want to get rid of things, but it feels a bit like a cemetery with all the flowers."

The cafe's managers say they want to help the neighborhood heal itself after the attack.

Describing the current atmosphere in Paris, France 24 says the nearby Bataclan music hall, where the deadliest attack took place, is still attracting hundreds of visitors each day, as people pay their respects and leave photos, flowers and notes. The club's owners haven't yet reopened, but they've said they will.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.