- Title: Paris bars attacked on Nov 13 are moving on, but pain lingers for families
- Date: 11th November 2016
- Summary: PEOPLE APPLAUDING
- Embargoed: 26th November 2016 17:48
- Keywords: France Paris attacks Carillon bar Islamic State gunmen La Belle Equipe Comptoir Voltaire November 13
- Location: PARIS, FRANCE
- City: PARIS, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA0045801GZR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The Paris bars that were attacked on November 13 were determined to move on, and while its patrons have tried looking past the painful memories, pain still lingers for those whose loved ones perished.
In all, 130 people died a year ago when groups of gunmen and suicide bombers attacked the perimeter of the Stade de France sports stadium, the Bataclan and a string of six restaurants: La Belle Equipe, Le Petit Cambodge, Le Carillon, Cafe Bonne Biere, la Casa Nostra, and le Comptoir Voltaire, where Brahim Abdeslam, brother of living suspect Salah Abdeslam, blew himself up.
Parisians who lived near the sites targeted by the attackers recall the emotional blow of November 13, with many of them having known some of the victims or their families.
"The period just after the attacks was very difficult. Personally, I left Paris, I retreated to the countryside for a good week. We live very close to here, we have friends whose children were killed," said Michel, a resident of the 11th arrondissement, passing by La Belle Equipe restaurant.
"With time it heals, but it's true that every time we walk past here... the memory comes straight back anyway," said Chantale, who was living meters in front of La Belle Equipe, when the attacks took place.
The restaurant La Belle Equipe, where 20 people died, and several injured, reopened on March 21, after renovations. On the terrace, a memorial wall bears the names of the victims.
On November 13, the head and majority shareholder of the Belle Equipe restaurant, Gregory Reibenberg, was enjoying a party for his associate in charge of running the restaurant Hodda, who was celebrating her birthday. His wife, Djamila, was also present.
Hodda and Djamila died in the attack with 20 other friends.
Shortly after his wife's funeral, Gregory Reibenberg began writing a book entitled "Une belle equipe" ("A beautiful team"), to be released on November 14.
"I needed to write things down, for her," Reibenberg said, referring to her nine-year-old daughter.
"I lived through some very strong and intimate moments with my daughter on the way back (from his wife's funeral), an intimacy which we had not had since the beginning of the events. The funeral marks the beginning of something, so what I went through with her was so strong, so powerful, so beautiful but all the while horrible that I wanted to record it," he told Reuters.
Like many victims, this past year has been one of "rebuilding," as Reibenberg calls it.
"I'm still very much within it," he said. "You know for us there is no anniversary date... all those who are directly involved because they were there or because they lost loved-ones, a parent, a child, there is no date. For us who were at the heart of it, it was yesterday morning and ten thousand years ago at the same time.
"Une belle equipe" focuses on life after the attacks, and the people Reibenberg lost.
"What you'll discover is yes, at that moment we were one of the symbols of this modern, contemporary and mixed France, rich, rich from its diversity and its variety. And we were a symbol of it, at that moment we were all children of the republic directly or indirectly. There were people from all walks of life, social classes, religions, practices. But there you go, the republic allows us to live all together," he said, reflecting on how November 13 touched France.
The others restaurants targeted by the attackers on Nov 13 have gradually reopened during the year, but most of them are now reluctant to publicly talk about the attacks.
On Sunday (November 13), French president Francois Hollande will inaugurate commemorative plaques in each of the sites targeted by the attackers.
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