Author Harriet Alida Lye, a writer-in-residence who is living above the Parisian book store Shakespeare & Company, was holed up inside the bookstore with at least 20 others on the night of the terrorist attacks.
Lye got in touch with The Guardian to report on the scene on Friday, as the city was in a state of emergency following seven attacks across the city. Here is what she had to say:
We are safe in the Shakespeare & Co bookshop, with the windows blacked out. There are about 20 customers with us who’ve been sat here for hours calling home. I haven’t seen anything but police cars go by, and people stumbling out of bars in central Paris who clearly have no idea what is going on. We are all taking breaks between calling people and checking the news. We’re saying it feels like this must be part of something bigger, like we are being senselessly attacked. It feels really close to home, because Paris is just so small and the attacks are all over the city. There are sirens constantly and going in every direction. The lights of Notre Dame have been turned off, which never happens at this time of night.