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France says show must go on with call to go to cafes and concerts

PARIS: France declared Monday that the show must go on, with the public urged to go back out to bars, concerts and restaurants in defiance of the terror attacks on Paris.

Culture minister Fleur Pellerin said musicians would “never stop putting on concerts” and claimed that in the face of “barbarism… culture is our biggest shield and our artists our best weapon”.

The city’s symbol, the Eiffel tower, closed since Friday’s attacks, will be lit up in the red, white and blue colours of the French flag for the next three nights, the company running it said.

As the French capital still reeled from the shootings and suicide bombings that left 129 people dead, some were coming up with inventive ways of thumbing their noses at the extremists.

Music fans shared their favourite memories of the Bataclan rock venue — where most of the victims died — on Twitter, while others started a social media campaign to get the US group on stage at the time, Eagles of Death Metal, to the top of the UK charts.

Amid emotional declarations that live music must go on in the shocked city, the hashtag #MonPlusBeauSouvenirDuBataclan (My most beautiful memory of the Bataclan) became one of the top trending topics on Twitter in France, with many sharing photos and videos of singers and bands who had played there such as Ed Sheeran, Arctic Monkeys and the late Jeff Buckley.

Pellerin said the government was preparing a special fund to help get live entertainment up and running again and to aid with the cost of new security measures.

“French people will not stop going to concerts and sharing these moments of joy together which bind us all together,” she said.

All major concerts, including a show by the rock group U2, were cancelled in the aftermath of the attack, but Paris’ two biggest venues said they planned to reopen Tuesday.

US star Prince cancelled his entire European tour — due to include dates in Vienna, Britain, Sweden and Paris — “in light of the tragic events”, the Interconcerts ticket company said.

‘What makes FranceFrance’

“We have to turn the lights back on,” Alexandre Cammas of the trendy Fooding guide told AFP, as made he made a plea with Parisians to return to cafes, restaurants and entertainment venues as the city’s museums and concert halls began to reopen Monday.

Apart from the Bataclan almost all of those who died were shot on cafe terraces and the French government at first urged people to stay indoors with one suspect still on the run.

With newspaper headlines proclaiming France was at war with the terrorists — and clearly mindful of Napoleon’s maxim that an “army marches on its stomach” — the guide called on people to go out and eat and drink on Tuesday night so “that which makes FranceFrance should not be betrayed by our fears”.

“Our objective is that on Tuesday evening people return to the bistros below their apartments,” Cammas said after launching the Twitter hashtag #tousaubistrot (Everyone to the bistro).

Didier Chenet, of the restaurant trade association SYNHORCAT, said already more than half of the city’s eating places had joined the call. “It is important to say that we are going to keep on living” as before, he said.

Bid to make song No 1

Although cafe terraces were full again on Sunday, false alarms sets off a series of panics across the capital — including outside the Carillon cafe where 14 people had been killed — while at a bar in the Marais district an Australian tourist caused another alert when she mistook an armed plainclothes policeman for a gunman.

The Facebook campaign to support Eagles of Death Metal aims to push their cover version of 1980s British pop group Duran Duran’s “Save a Prayer” to the UK number one spot this week.

It was number one on Monday in the iTunes rock chart and in the Amazon UK singles chart and number 37 on the main iTunes chart.

Meanwhile artists painted Paris’s Latin motto, “Fluctuat Nec Mergitur” (“It is buffeted by the waves, yet remains afloat”) on hoardings at the Place de la Republique.

The square became a symbol of defiance after January’s attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in the city, and where crowds have been holding a vigil since the latest bloodshed.

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