September 11 is going to be one of those dates we will hate to remember. It was an important date for myself even before these terrorist attacks because it’s my wedding anniversary. But that somehow doesn’t seem to matter, even way over here in France. My English husband and I cancelled dinner and sat at home all night watching the images on TF1 with the BBC on the radio at the same time. I called and e-mailed friends in disbelief. I woke up my family in Arizona, where it wasn’t even 8am. Canadian friends in the area stopped by to sympathize and watch the news.
We may be far away over here, but the expat community, as well as everyone else in France, feels very close. All of the French news is covering the tragedy, English radio stations broadcasting from Monaco have suspended all musical programming to give continuous coverage from the BBC, CNN, even NPR. The French government has been helping travelers trapped in France who don’t know how they’re getting home, people who have been trying desperately to get in touch with friends and relatives in New York. Europeans are not unfamiliar with terrorist attacks on their cities — Paris itself was repeatedly attacked in 1995 — but even here there seems to be a sense of profound sadness for such horrific and deliberate destruction of innocent lives in NY and DC. The silver lining, in this time of darkness, is in the way the international community is coming together to offer its support, comfort, and solidarity to all of the victims their loved ones.
The following information should be passed on to anyone who may find it helpful.
* Important Emergency Numbers and Links *
United States Embassy in France (Paris): 24-hour Emergency number: 01 43 12 22 22 Embassy/Consulate website (includes link to the Dept. of State)
French Foreign minister in Paris: Emergency number and public information: 01 45 55 80 00
Paris Tourist Office: A call line is available for all information or aid for travelers: 01 49 52 42 99
French Red Cross: 0 800 829 800 (free call) French Red Cross Ecoute: 0 800 858 858
Paris Airports Website: Air France emergency number: 0 800 800 812 or 0 820 820 820 United Airlines number in Paris: 01.69.19.96.59
* Press Coverage of the French Reaction in English*
Paris Metropole: http://www.metropoleparis.com/2001/637/637bistr.html
International Herald Tribune: http://www.iht.com/frontpage.html
* English-speaking forums in Paris *
Ric and the Paris Metropole Club at La Corona every Thursday from 3pm until about 6pm. American Church in Paris, Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church, Paris-Anglo.com’s forum online.
* Heritage Days Cancelled *
Every year there is a special Journées du Patrimoine in France celebrating the cultural heritage of the country, opening up the doors to many museums, theatres, and historical monuments free to the public. However, due to the heightened security in France after the terrorist attack in the US yesterday, the festival has been cancelled by the Ministry of Culture: http://www.jp.culture.fr/
This article is one of the 78 original “Secrets of Paris” articles published between September 1999 and July 2004. After disappearing into the internet graveyard for almost 15 years, I’ve republished them in autumn 2019 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Secrets of Paris: “1999-2019: Twenty Years of the Secrets of Paris” Broken and dead links have been updated or deactivated, but otherwise the article remains unchanged.