RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — As word of the terrorist attacks in Paris spread, many French citizens who live in Central Virgina watched in horror as their native country was attacked.
“It was horrifying when I saw what was happening,” says Patricia Guillouard, who owns Carytown Teas in Carytown. “It was horrifying to see all these bodies laying down on the floor, knowing about the club where I used to go as a teenager. The Bataclan is very famous for concerts.”
Guillouard also has family members who were working in the area at the time of the attack.
“My cousin Fabian who works next door to the stadium was there when it happened. He was in his restaurant and he heard the bomb explosion and he actually saw all of right in front of him, the blood and the people,” says Guillouard. “Another cousin of mine was having dinner with his girlfriend not far away from the club.”
All of her family members are safe, but she’s still heartbroken to see what’s happening to her country.
Just a few blocks away, also on Cary Street, the owner of Amour Wine Bistro is also saddened to see the horror in his native country.
“Deep inside, it could be yourself. it’s shocking. It’s like if someone robs you, you feel violated the same way,” says Heitz.
But Heitz is also very confident his country will rebound from this tragedy. He compares it to the United States’ resilience after the September 11th attacks.
“I try to see the positive things in life and joy and try to get over sadness very quickly.”
Guillouard will be traveling to France for the holidays in three weeks, she says she will not allow fear to stop her trip.
“People in France, they are fighters, they will fight,” says Guillouard. “We don’t want our liberty to be taken away.”