New Year’s Eve crowds on the Champs-Elysées may be thinner than usual this year as many Parisians fearing terror attacks are planning celebrations outside the capital.
Caterers say party orders have fallen drastically compared to last year, Europe 1 radio reported.
Francis Cousin, a caterer who had more than 400 orders in Paris last year, says he has none in the city this year. “We’ve had a lot of New Year’s Eve cancellations,” he said. “It’s been catastrophic. Everyone wanted to cancel everything. People are reluctant to organise events involving a lot of people.”
France remains in a state of emergency, declared after the November 13 attacks in Paris in which 130 people died. Less than seven weeks later, the capital is on edge, with bomb squads being called out to investigate suspicious packages an average of 25 times a day.
Alexis Duflot, 32, said he was organising a trip to Normandy with a group of friends to celebrate New Year far from the “apprehension” of Paris. “There’s a whole group of us, at least 10, and we’re getting away from the city because we want to feel more relaxed. It’s not that we’re scared of going out in Paris but we do want a break from the tension.”
Robin, 28, said he and 17 friends were going to see in the New Year “in the country, 45 minutes from Paris, to get away from the ambient fear we see every day here.”
The exodus of partygoers is benefitting restaurants in Cabourg and Deauville on the Normandy coast, where many said on Tuesday that they are fully booked for New Year’s Eve, whereas last year they still had tables free until the last minute.