Near Place de la République, one teacher, Marie-Claire Segonds, said many of her children – aged four and five – had come into school talking about the attacks. Segonds said several had suffered nightmares after watching the events and the aftermath on television and had asked her whether the school and their homes were safe.
“Some were worried that men in masks might burst in,” she said. “We had a long talk with the pupils. We did our best to reassure them.” Segonds said she had turned up to show that “I won’t be terrorised”.
Asked what the solution was, she replied: “More education.” However, she added: “We need to eradicate these people. They are taking our young citizens and filling their heads with these ideas.”
The French state bore some responsibility for allowing urban ghettoes to spring up in suburbs across the country, many home to unemployed and disaffected young immigrant men, she said. “This creates frustration,” she said.
As the three days of national mourning drew to an end on Monday, there was no respite from the crushing despair for those families still searching for loved ones three days after the suicide bombers struck the French capital.
Several bodies have not yet been identified, prolonging the anguish for those still waiting for news of children, friends and relatives.
Our friend sent his family a selfie from the Bataclan just before the concert,” said one drawn-looking 30-year-old man, waiting outside an information and counselling centre for victims’ families at the imposing École Militaire near the Eiffel Tower. “His girlfriend got out, but we don’t have any news from him.”
His friend was a florist from a suburb at the end of the No 5 metro line who had come in especially for the concert. “He loved rock’n’roll; he was a serious guy, smart, always had the best grades at school,” said the man, an asset manager who asked not to be named.
Like many going into the imposing gates of the classical military school, which has been pressed into service as a crisis centre, he was still hopeful they would find their friend injured but alive. “We have been to every hospital we could think of in Paris,” he said. “We expect to find him there. Apparently there are six or seven survivors who have still not been identified.
As he waited for another childhood friend who had travelled across the country to join the search, he accepted there may be bleaker news. “The Red Cross told me it was so violent that some people can’t be recognised, their bodies are so damaged. We have brought pictures of his tattoos.”
Around the Bataclan concert hall, scene of the bloodiest attack, in which most of the 129 victims of the coordinated attacks died, people were still arriving in a steady stream to lay flowers, light candles or place messages against the police barriers sealing off the venue.
In Place de la République, 300 people gathered at midday to observe the minute’s silence. One man held up French flags; several people were weeping; buses at the busy intersection pulled over. At the end, the crowd burst into spontaneous applause.
Similar crowds gathered at the cafes and bars where Friday-night revellers out enjoying themselves were gunned down.