Local French Pastry Chef Reacts to Paris Attacks

Today there have been more developments in last night’s horrific bloodshed in Paris, with the death toll now more than 120 people.  The world joins the French in mourning following what some are calling the worst attack on French soil since World War II. 

But for Charlotte resident and pastry chef Sylvain Rivet, the news hits closer to home.  He and his wife opened up the renaissance patisserie just this past May.  Six months later, he’d never imagine what would unfold in his home country Friday night.

“I'm on my way to go home and she tells me, ‘Do you hear about the big tragedy in France?’ and I said ‘no,’” said Sylvain.  “’There's a bombing here, bombing there.”  Some people killed at the theater some people were killed at the restaurant.”

Sylvain had just left his bakery when his wife broke the news to him of last night’s terrorist attack in Paris.

 “I'm thinking about what's going on?  This is impossible!  It's very sad and pray for all the family it's impossible I mean tomorrow can be my daughter tomorrow to be my wife my friend again everybody.. I cannot believe it.”

Sylvain’s mother and brother both live in the Paris area and it wasn’t until this morning that he learned both were okay, and so was his niece who lives just walking distance of the restaurant where one of the attacks happened.

“She frequents this restaurant and was supposed to go out last night but her friend called and said ‘Let's not go tonight, it's too cold,’” said Sylvain’s wife, Jo-Anne.  “So they decided not to go and just by fate she was not there when the shooting happened that was just by chance.”

While they’re relieved to hear their family is okay, the Rivets fear the worst is yet to come.

“When I talk to my brother this morning on the phone first thing he said is, ‘You know what?  It’s just the beginning.,’” said Sylvain.  “It’s very rare to hear my brother’s voice like this - not scary but very worried about tomorrow what's going to happen because it's three times in a row now on France.”

In the meantime, France remains under lockdown.  The Eiffel tower is completely shut down, major sporting events are cancelled, and hundreds of soldiers stand guarding key areas.

“Don't forget the schools closed French have school on Saturday morning, all the transportation all the public areas is closed my brother tell me actually losing tell me it's like a dead Paris like a dead, dead city, like a ghost town and it’s very scary and very tragic.”

During these dark times, Sylvain and Jo-Anne find strength in the support from the community.

 “I have to say that the Charlotte community has been very supportive had times of our customers coming in asking if everybody's okay and about our family,” said Jo-Anne.

“Paris is still Paris and of course keep going to traveling go to visit all the beautiful monuments in Paris by like my brother said to me we should not be scared this is not right it's not right,” said Sylvain.

The Rivets are thinking of small ways to offer help and solidarity to France, like perhaps making a special pastry with the proceeds benefiting victims of the attack.

In the meantime, there’s a candlelight vigil on Sunday,  November 15th, starting at 4pm at  Freedom Park.