I really wanted to write a recipe post for today but as I sat in my hotel lobby in Paris on Saturday afternoon, I just couldn’t get myself to write a recipe. It didn’t feel right.
Gina and I were in Paris when the attacks happened. We were actually on the Seine River near the Eiffel Tower on a boat sitting down for dinner. To put it in perspective how lucky we were, earlier that day we were at a kitchen in central Paris where the cooking competition was. That kitchen was in the middle of where two of the attacks were. About 200m on either side. Our hotel was located near the attacks, too, but when the attacks happened, we were on the Seine River – the complete opposite side. Being on boat and enjoying dinner with fellow contestants, we didn’t really have any sort of idea what was happening. We weren’t on our phones so we weren’t on social media. It was really when we had a break between the meal that we pulled out our phones to loads of texts and social media messages from friends and family back home asking if we were okay that we started trying to figure out why they were asking us that.
And then we knew.
It was actually really surreal to watch all of this unfold at our dining table. Many of the marketing managers from the wine company were French locals and one of the guys lived right down the street from one of the cafés. You could tell on his face that he was sad, horrified, and at a lost for words. I will be honest that it was comforting to be with a larger group of people than if it were just Gina and I wandering around the city (like we had been the night before). We all tried to keep conversation light, the DJ played dance music, and we just tried to enjoy the rest of the night even though in the back of everyone’s mind, we knew the rest of the city was in turmoil.
We stayed on the boat until around 1:00am because calling for taxis during that time, as you can imagine, was pretty much impossible. When we finally got a taxi, we were driving through the city like a bat out of hell. Twists and turns and going through side streets; whatever streets were still left open, we were taking them. We all just wanted to get safely back to our hotel. At one point, I really thought we’d never make it back to our hotel because it seemed like every street we turned on, it was closed or diverted another direction. It was terrifying seeing all the sirens, police, military, guns, closed streets, and people all around trying to get home. What is even scarier (and we didn’t even know until we got back to our hotel room) was that we actually drove right by the Bataclan concert hall where the worst of the carnage happened.
Gina and I made it back safely to the hotel and we climbed in bed and breathed a sigh of relief while we still heard sirens outside our window. It was like that for the rest of the night. We stayed up until 3:30am to reassure friends and family we were okay and also because we couldn’t stop watching the news.
I can’t imagine the horror and terror that everyone else had to go through that were victims of this senseless attack. The only thing we can do is stand united during this sad time and keep everyone and France in your thoughts and prayers. However, let’s not forget the attacks in Beirut and the Russian plane attack. Basically, the whole world needs prayer and peace.