Eerie silence as Eiffel Tower and other landmarks shuttered

Police officers patrols under the Eiffel tower in Paris, France, on Nov 14, 2015.
Police officers patrols under the Eiffel tower in Paris, France, on Nov 14, 2015. PHOTO: EPA

The Eiffel Tower, the symbol of Paris, is closed. Many of the city's other tourist sites, famed outdoor markets and train stations are shuttered.

An eerie silence has descended on parts of the French capital a day after a string of terror attacks left over 120 dead and hundreds more injured.

Residents of Paris, which had suffered the trauma of a previous terror attack earlier this year, responded with a mixture of anger, defiance and solidarity the morning after.

In trains and on the metro, people seemed a little bit more alert and watchful as they eyed their fellow passengers mingling with a larger-than-usual number of soldiers in their midst.

At Republic Square, scene of the mass marches in memory of the Charlie Hebdo shooting and the murderous hostage-taking in a Jewish supermarket in January, some people laid flowers and candles at the foot of the monument symbolising the French republic's values of liberty, equality and brotherhood.

Armed police sealed off the streets around the popular Bataclan music hall, site of one of Friday night's attacks, keeping the curious and dozens of journalists and photographers at a good distance.

The front pavement of the Bataclan was covered under stretches of tarpaulin, hiding the debris and bloodstains, the grey material a sharp contrast to the brightly coloured facade of the music hall.

Forensic technicians could be seen at work behind strings of white and orange police tape.

The normally lively neighbourhood seemed gripped by a grim silence. Schools were closed as was its outdoor market. The only bustle came from passing police cars.

Outside on a cafe terrace, Mr Jean-Paul Morvan, a middle-aged art gallery employee, had his usual morning coffee with his newspaper. "It is horrible of course, but I am not going to change my habits. That would be giving in to the terrorists," he told The Sunday Times.

President Francois Hollande has declared a state of emergency after the attacks, the targets of which included a sports stadium, the concert hall and several restaurants, including a popular Cambodian one in the hip Canal St. Martin area.

"War in central Paris," was how the daily Le Figaro described the deadly blitz.

In its aftermath, museums and major landmarks such as the Arc de Triomphe were closed yesterday. Sport events were cancelled as were concerts, including one by Irish rock band U2.

Disneyland Paris was shut as was the Eiffel Tower, with no indication as to when it would reopen.

Emergency services were mobilised and 1,500 army reinforcements sent to the French capital.

The shock waves continued to ripple yesterday with security ramped up at France's borders with its European neighbours.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 15, 2015, with the headline 'Eerie silence as Eiffel Tower and other landmarks shuttered'. Print Edition | Subscribe