Seattle's French Community Gathers To Grieve, Show Solidarity | KUOW News and Information

Seattle's French Community Gathers To Grieve, Show Solidarity

Nov 14, 2015

The French anthem and cries of "Vive la France" swelled in Seattle's Belltown after a minute of silence Saturday for those killed and injured in the Paris attacks.

The terrorist attacks left more than 120 people dead and hundreds more injured.

La Parisienne bakery flew the French flag Saturday and opened its doors to the local community.

By noon, the bakery was bursting at the seams with people spilling out on to the sidewalk. 

They hugged and kissed one another -- some wearing French flags around their necks, others carrying flowers.

And everyone was there for the same reason.

"We want to be together. It's just natural instinct that in times like this you just get closer together," said Olivier Fontana, president of the Union of French Expatriates in Seattle.

“When the going gets tough, people get together and you have people you can rely on. You’re not alone,” he said.

“The silver lining in this horrible situation is being able to get back together and support each other while we’re looking at that and being a bit powerless being 5,000 miles from that.”

"Everyone is connected. You know a person who knows a person who was shot,” said Guillaumb Louis, a member of the expat community.

“It's very important for us to be there and to show people that the country is not afraid and we're going to stand up."

Fontana and Louis were among dozens of people gathering to mourn and pay their respects to those killed in the Paris attacks.

Mayor Ed Murray joined the crowd, saying that Seattle stands with Paris.

“The day after September 11, 2001, the French papers said, ‘We are all Americans’. And I thought it was very important for the people of Seattle to tell the people of Paris that today we’re all Parisians,” Murray said.

A small memorial of flowers and candles grew outside the doors to the French consulate on Alaskan Way on Saturday.

Seattle’s Space Needle is flying the French flag as a mark of respect and solidarity and, according to Murray, the French flag will also be flown at the Seahawks game on Sunday.

CenturyLink Field, the Seattle Great Wheel and Columbia Center were among Seattle landmarks lit Saturday night in the blue, white and red colors of the French flag.