14 November 2015
I was in Paris last night, and wanted to share my thoughts with you.
The gruesome events that took place here in Paris last night, have rocked and shocked both France, and the world. Following on from the Charlie Hebdo attack, Paris - and the French - are reeling, and all our thoughts and sympathies are with the victims of this tragedy and their families.
It is to France's great credit that social media this morning is bursting with a resolve to NOT be intimidated by such actions.
The events were centred around the Les Halles area in the 1st,10th & 11th arrondissement, as well as the national stadium. I personally was having dinner in Montparnasse, close to the 6th and 14th arrondissement, and heard nothing of the events, until ironically contacted by someone in Holland! This is not to minimise the scale of the event or the horror, but to clarify that the events were concentrated in a specific area.
Travel back to my hotel last night was smooth and uninterrupted; this morning, refuse services are going about their business on the streets as normal, and all points of entry into France are open - air, rail and road travel all continue. The immediate vicinity of the attacks is still closed down, security is atcan all-time high, but the rest of the city is slowly trying to return to normal.
France is clearly determined to defy the challenge, and as our conference venue and hotel(s) are at some distance from where the attacks were centred, we too have resolved to proceed with our Qualitative conference and Sensory Forum.
I - and the ESOMAR team - are aware that today will be a very different day in Paris; sports matches have been cancelled and all public buildings are closed; it will not be a normal Saturday as such, but restrictions are slowly being eased and citizens are trying to restore a degree of normalcy.
We will keep in close contact with you regarding any developments, and hope that you will join us in standing with our French colleagues, by supporting and proceeding with the conference.
ESOMAR Director General