La Belle Équipe, Rue de Charonne, Paris 11. Yes, it’s that busy. All. The. Time. (Photo from the cafe’s Facebook page.)

We just got back from a ten-day CLE conference in Paris, the timing of which was rather unique.  Not only did it fall on the centennial of the Armistice, but it also marked the third anniversary of the horrific terrorist attacks of November 13, 2015.  Most of the carnage of that evening took place in the 11th Arrondissement, Paris’ most densely populated district.  The Bataclan– in the 11th.  The Comptoir Voltaire– in the 11th.  La Belle Équipe– not just in the 11th, but a mere two blocks from our hotel.

Without even realizing where I was, I had drinks with some friends at the Belle Équipe last week.  It was only on Monday night, as the streets began to be cordoned off by police, that it occurred to me… this was where it happened.  Nineteen people gunned down in an attack coordinated to take dozens— even hundreds– more lives.

As our bus rolled away from the hotel in the wee hours of the morning, preparations for a memorial gathering (thus the police cordon) at the Équipe were being wrapped up.  A group of American lawyers were headed home to our families, but every single one of us was acutely aware of the resilience of the neighborhood that hosted us.

They bounce back, Parisians do.  There’s a lot to be said for that.