Gunmen and bombers attacked restaurants, a concert hall and a sports stadium at locations across Paris, killing over 100 people in what a shaken President Francois Hollande called an unprecedented terrorist attack. Here are a few eyewitness accounts of the horror in Paris:
Julien Pierce, a journalist from Europe 1 radio, was inside the Bataclan concert hall when the shooting began. In a report posted on the station’s website, Mr Pierce said:
“Several armed men came into the concert. Two or three men, not wearing masks, came in with what looked like Kalashnikovs and fired blindly on the crowd.
“It lasted between 10 and 15 minutes. It was extremely violent and there was panic. The attackers had enough time to reload at least three times. They were very young.
“There were bodies everywhere.”
‘Fired onto crowd’
A witness coming out of the Bataclan concert hall said attackers had “fired onto the crowd with a semi-automatic weapon”, FranceInfo reported.
“We manage to escape, there was blood everywhere.”
‘We heard two big bangs’
Liberation newspaper has quoted Vincent, a journalist who was at the Stade de France where France were playing Germany in an international football match.
“Everybody went onto the pitch. The crowd of anxious people began moving after the final whistle, no-one knew what had happened outside. We heard two big bangs in the first half and then another one that was smaller. A helicopter was in the air above the stadium after half time,” he said.
“The match carried on as if nothing had happened but we were following everything on Twitter, especially the fact that President Hollande had been evacuated even though none of us saw him leave. I didn’t see any of the second half. There was an announcement that people should leave via the south, north and west exits but five minutes later many of the spectators had returned.”
Cambodian restaurant attack
Pierre Montfort lives near Petit Cambodge, a restaurant close to Rue Bichat, where one of the shootings took place.
“We heard gunfire, 30 seconds of fire, it was interminable, we thought it was fireworks,” he told AFP.
An eyewitness who had been at the restaurant said everyone dropped on the floor.
“A girl was carried by a young man in his arms. She appeared to be dead.”
‘It’s war here’
An unnamed witness who was in the standing area at the Bataclan rock concert and encountered a gunman before fleeing was quoted by Liberation.
“It was a concert where the music was loud. I heard the shots, I turned around and I saw a silhouette with a cap who stood near the back door. He fired in my direction.
“People began to drop and throw themselves to the ground. I thought that the guy next to me was dead. I think this is the case.
“I ran, I jumped the barrier and left with the first wave of the crowd near the stage. I went out through the emergency exit at the opposite end of the room.
“We hid in a cafe, barricaded on the first floor. When we told people what had happened they believed us immediately. It’s war here, there were shots fired just a very short time ago.
“All we can hear are sirens, we are waiting to be evacuated from the Boulevard du Calvaire cafe.”
Rue de Charonne
Speaking with France Inter radio, several witnesses were in tears. A woman who was near Rue Charonne said the scene was absolutely catastrophic. “I worked in hospitals, I studied medicine, and I’ve never seen anything like it. Me and my son ran back to get some help, and literally ran into a number of bodies. It was “a carnage”, she said. People were lying dead on the floor, badly hurt and screaming. “I’ll never forget it.”
“I was on the first floor of the venue. And I was with a friend and we were in the middle of a concert listening to the music, having a good time, and then all of a sudden we heard gun shots.”
‘At first, I thought it was a joke’
Jenny Watson was on the first floor of Le Bataclan Concert Hall, listening to Eagles of Death Metal when three attackers with assault rifles entered the venue.
“They were quite high pitched; at first I thought it was a joke on behalf of the band. I thought they were maybe playing a joke on us. And I didn’t actually believe it,” she told local outlet France24 . “And the shots kept going and going and going, and people started screaming and people started ducking, you know, hiding behind the seats and the chairs. And that’s when we realized we had to get out.”
‘There was blood everywhere’
Marc Coupris, another witness, said the he was sure that he would be killed.
“It was carnage. It looked like a battlefield. There was blood everywhere. There were bodies everywhere. I was at the far side of the hall when shooting began. There seemed to be at least two gunmen,” he told the Guardian . “They shot from the balcony. I saw my final hour unfurl before me, I thought this was the end. I thought I’m finished, I’m finished. I was terrified. We must all have thought the same. Eventually, when a few gendarmes came in slowly we began to look up and there was blood absolutely everywhere. The police told us to run.”
‘There was blood everywhere’
Julien Pearce, told CNN that the scene lasted 10 horrific minutes.
“It was a bloodbath. People yelled, screamed. It lasted for 10 minutes,” she said. “Ten horrific minutes where everybody was on the floor covering their head. They didn’t shout anything. They were shooting people on the floor.”