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Parisians fight terror with a simple act: returning to cafes

Their country is in a state of emergency, but Parisians are back at their neighborhood cafes, taking solace in normal life and even showing a little defiance toward the attackers who killed so many people. Hari Sreenivasan reports from Paris.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And we end the night at the cafes of Paris, where Hari Sreenivasan finds the spirit of the City of Lights still shines bright.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Geraldine Pamart and Charlise Coqueda are art students who lost classmates in last Friday's attack. Yet, tonight, they're back at a neighborhood cafe.

  • GERALDINE PAMART, Student:

    She looked at me and she asked me, is it a problem for you to be, like, outside on the terrace? I said, of course not.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Why did you think it might be?

  • CHARLISE COQUEDA, Student (through interpreter):

    We're a little scared. We watch cars go by and we wonder if there's one that's going to stop and a guy will take out his gun and shoot us.

  • GERALDINE PAMART:

    It's a personal choice. So, we understand that some friends, some French people are scared, and change a way what they do, so we understand. We have to keep, you know, living our life. And we're not going to stay at home and never get out.

    (LAUGHTER)

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Around the corner, co-workers Amber Delmeida and Orian Lahcene were grabbing a drink after work.

  • ORIAN LAHCENE, France (through interpreter):

    I'm not saying that I was apprehensive on Monday to go to work. But then I thought about it. If it has to happen to me, it will happen to me. Whatever happens, whether I'm here or there or anywhere, it could happen to me anywhere. I'm going to continue living, just as I used to.

  • AMBER DELMEIDA, France:

    It's like we're fighting against the terrorists, doing this, being here and have a drink, drinking alcohol, like we always do.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Why is that important for you to send this message?

  • AMBER DELMEIDA:

    Because to show that they didn't won — they didn't win, and that we are not scared.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Manager Teuca Daniel has been working in this neighborhood for seven years. He says customers are coming back, but a few things are different. For one, more people are asking for seats by the window.

  • TEUCA DANIEL, France (through interpreter):

    They want to see what's happening, if something else is going to happen. They're still watching, they're still eating, they're still drinking. But, right now, they're something like — you can see them like that.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    OK.

  • TEUCA DANIEL:

    So, it's a difference, because they're stressed, and they put that stress on us also, because they're trying to be very fast. And when they're gone, we just say, whew.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    While this defiant attitude may work for some restaurants in the immediate areas of the attack, it will take more than social media hashtags to bring back business and settle nerves, especially considering what happened to cafes just down the street just a few days ago.

    For the PBS NewsHour, Hari Sreenivasan, Paris.

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