Finding a new normal: how Paris is finding its soul again

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A picture taken with a mobile phone shows blood stains and a disposable glove on Boulevard Voltaire in the 11th district of Paris. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP PHOTO

Finding a new normal: how Paris is finding its soul again

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A picture taken with a mobile phone shows flowers left outside Le Petit Cambodge restaurant. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP PHOTO

Finding a new normal: how Paris is finding its soul again

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A picture taken with a mobile phone shows people laying flowers outside Le Carillon bar. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP PHOTO

Finding a new normal: how Paris is finding its soul again

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Flowers and messages outside the Carillon bar. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP PHOTO

Finding a new normal: how Paris is finding its soul again

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A makeshift memorial on Rue Alibert. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP PHOTO

Finding a new normal: how Paris is finding its soul again

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Flowers on Boulevard Voltaire. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP PHOTO

Finding a new normal: how Paris is finding its soul again

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German pianist Davide Martello, also known as Klavierkunst, pulling his piano with his bicycle to play Imagine near the Bataclan concert hall. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP PHOTO

Finding a new normal: how Paris is finding its soul again

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A woman lights a candle next to flowers outside the Bataclan concert hall. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP PHOTO

Finding a new normal: how Paris is finding its soul again

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A rose on a police barricade on Boulevard Voltaire. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP PHOTO

HUMAN SPIRIT

Finding a new normal: how Paris is finding its soul again

Priyata Brajabasi @PriyataB

In some ways, Paris is just the same: gray November skies, a light drizzle, plenty of people sitting at tables outside the cafes that spill onto cobbled streets.

And yet, nothing is the same.

Paris' soul remains poetic. But it has scars of terror.

There is no doubt that people are shocked and subdued. After the January attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher Jewish supermarket, there was a sense that this was tragic and awful, but that the victims were specific targets: journalists and Jews. That didn't make it palatable, but it gave the sense of focused attacks.

This is different. This was an attack designed to show everyone and anyone may be a target.

That the violence is random and indiscriminate - yet carefully constructed and very close.

What happened in Paris was shocking and heartbreaking. Far too many innocent lives were taken by a vicious group of extremists and a beautiful city cherished by people around the world was shaken to its core.

But as the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, put it, 'This evening is a moment of pain and mourning... but Paris is still here and standing.'

Indeed, Paris is strong and it will survive. The city's spirit is not broken in the face of violence and destruction.

Paris does not belong to France alone. Paris belongs to the world of beauty. Of ideas. Of freedom and art. Of learning and finesse. An ode to the finest the world can be.

Which is why people across the world felt Paris' attacks as their own, and stood in solidarity across boundaries and religions.

These images stand as powerful reminders there is still hope, and that in Paris' renewal lies the renewal of us all.

Priyata Brajabasi

Priyata Brajabasi @PriyataB