Bouquets drown the street corner in front of La Belle Eqipe café, where 19 people were gunned down on November 13, part of the violent attacks in Paris that killed more than 125.

The café is shuttered. It’s now a memorial, a moment frozen in time.

Morgane Bloncourt looks at the street corner through the eyes of a person who has lived in the neighborhood all her life. Next door to the café is her favorite neighborhood patisserie. The 24-year-old Parisian has eaten croissants from the patisserie all her life.

“Since I can eat, I eat my croissant here,” Bloncourt said. “Right over here, where you see the bullet on the glass.”

The window that usually displays beautiful croissants and cakes now is pierced with two bullet holes.

On Friday night, friends of friends were celebrating a 25th birthday at the café. One of them died. Another was shot in the leg, and her foot was amputated. Another was shot in the back, and it’s unclear if she’ll walk again.

“This part of the neighborhood is dead now,” Bloncourt said. “Sushi Maki is not open. Patisserie is not open. ... It’s never going to be the same, I think.”

The patio in Paris where cafegoers were shot dead on November 13 is now a sea of bouquets, notes and photos of victims. 

Daniel Estrin

A young woman approached the café, clasping a cane, shaking her head. Bloncourt approached her.

Her name was Rachelle Saevil, a graphic designer from Canada. She had plans to eat with friends at another restaurant, Le Petit Cambodge, around the time that it was attacked.

“I fell off my bike instead, before dinner,” Saevil said. She was taken to the hospital for x-rays.

“Your friends went?” Bloncourt asked.

“When I didn’t go, they cancelled,” Saevil said.

“You saved their lives actually,” Bloncourt said.

“It’s just so emotional being here and seeing all of this,” Saevil said. She wiped a tear rolling down her cheek.

Bloncourt walked down the street to a café where she’s a regular and she greeted the waitress behind the bar by name. Last Friday, the café was turned into a makeshift hospital. The wounded were brought inside, and the dead were laid out on the street.

Authorities called on people in apartments overlooking the street to throw down sheets to cover the bodies. Bloncourt’s friend threw a sheet from the window.

“When I saw there were attacks in Paris, the first word I said was ‘are they stupid or what? They let them go from one place to another?’” Bloncourt said, sipping a coffee. “In Israel, it would have been blocked immediately. This is for sure.”

Bloncourt lived in Tel Aviv for a year. Even before the attacks, she had decided she wanted to immigrate there, but a few days after the attacks, she hurried to finish her application.

“I feel safe in Israel. I don’t feel safe in Paris. It’s weird,” Bloncourt said. “In Israel, everybody has to do the army. ... A lot of the population knows how to fight and knows how to respond to an attack, so I feel protected. They have good reflexes, you know? And here they don’t.”

Morgane Bloncourt's favorite neighborhood patisserie is next to one of the cafes that was attacked. Two bullet holes are left in the glass window that usually displays croissants and cakes.

Daniel Estrin

Bloncourt’s mother was at home when she heard the gunshots. She didn’t know what the sound was.

“It’s the first time in my life that I’ve heard a Kalashnikov,” said the mother, who wanted to be identified by just her first name, Isabelle. “Yes, I think we — suddenly we realize we are naive. We don’t even imagine someone could attack us.”

Isabelle’s boss is Israeli. She said he made a comment at work.

“What he said, very slightly and not too firmly, is that we are kind of too kind with extremists, and that a good reaction could be to punish the families. What Israel does.”

Israel has a policy of demolishing the homes of families whose relatives carry out deadly attacks on Israelis.

“He said that, and my daughter said that, too. ‘They would think twice before attacking people if they knew their family would be attacked.’ I think if we arrive to that point, we will have lost our soul,” Isabelle said.

Her daughter has made her decision: She’s leaving France.

Isabelle is staying put. But she is struggling at this moment. She knows France has to change. But she doesn’t know how.

From PRI's The World ©2016 PRI