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"Welcome to the Carillon," the bartenders announced, opening the doors to the Paris cafe for the first time since it was targeted by Islamic extremists.
Customers smiled and cried as they entered, taking glasses of Champagne and walking past bouquets of fresh flowers, notes and photos of people killed in a series of coordinated attacks on Nov. 13.
"It's important not to wait to return to these places where people have suffered," said Victoire Rambert, who lives nearby.
"We are lucky enough to be alive," added her friend, Fatim Layachi. "We must continue to live and to chat in cafes, drink a glass, even if today it's more meaningful than usual, obviously."
The opening was an act of defiance, but also of resilience; Paris commerce has suffered since 130 people were killed in attacks across the city, and the city is slowly emerging from a cloud of fear. Tourist activity, including hotel bookings and museum attendance, is down, and popular landmarks are patrolled by added security personnel.
Air France estimates the attacks caused $130 million in lost revenue. Parisian hotels — that usually have no vacancy during Christmas and the New Year celebrations— saw their activity drop by 30 to 40 percent at the end of the year, said the president of hotel union UMIH in the Paris region, Evelyne Maes.
More than 13,000 government troops, including 6,000 in the Paris region, have been deployed on French territory as the city remains in a state of emergency.
Rosa Martinez, from Mexico on on a two-week trip to France with her husband, said they'd considered cancelling their vacation after the attacks.
"But then we thought this is our dream vacation and there's no way these terrorists can deprive us of it," Martinez, 45, said. "Actually, we were right. The city is beautiful and we have met French people who say they are glad we are here, and now we see it as a way to show our support to the French people."