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French Baker In Fairfield Reflects On Paris Terrorist Attacks

Chris Snyder

A French bakery in Fairfield, Connecticut has seen an outpouring of support since the terrorist attacks in Paris last week.

Customers come in to the Isabelle and Vincent bakery to buy freshly baked baguettes, pastries, and hot cups of coffee.

It’s named after the owners Isabelle and Vincent Koenig. They opened the bakery seven years ago, right after they came to the U.S. from Strasbourg, France with their two children.

Isabel Koenig remembers the Saturday following the attacks in Paris many French expats in the area came to her bakery for comfort. Isabelle said she was touched by all the Americans who also came by to offer their support.

"It was so good in my heart. Even if they say nothing, but just when they say 'Viva la France,'" she said. "This really touched me. It was good."

When Koenig first heard about the attacks she was enjoying an afternoon at home with her parents, who were visiting from France.

"As usual we were talking about politics," she said. "You see, we like to talk about Holande and Sarkozy."

At first Koenig and her parents didn’t want to believe the attacks had happened.

"My parents and I- we were shocked," she said. "We say nothing. No words. No words come."

They called all their family and friends in France to make certain everyone was safe. Then they spent the rest of the night watching the news. Koenig’s parents are in their 80s. When they learned about the attacks in Paris, Isabelle said they were eager to go back to France.

"Even if they are happy to be with me, after this Friday they changed," she said. "And they are really impatient to go to France. Even if they can do nothing but they are really impatient to be solidaire."

Koenig tried to persuade them to stay a little longer but they went home on Tuesday as scheduled.

Her parents lived through World War II in France as children. But Koenig says they find these attacks more disturbing. During the war her parents knew who the enemy was. Today, the enemy doesn’t wear a uniform.

"In France we say it’s 'Monsieur et Madame tout le monde.' It can be anybody and it can touch anywhere," she said. "For example, we read that one of the terrorists was a driver of the bus. And he was really a pleasant co-worker, pleasant neighbor, and you see three years after he’s a terrorist."

Even though the attacks have shaken everyone, Koenig said she hopes people won’t live in fear because that’s what the terrorists want.

Ann is an editor and senior content producer with WSHU, including the founding producer of the weekly talk show, The Full Story.