Paris

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It’s hard to sum up the last two days into just a few paragraphs of text.  Mostly because it’s nearly impossible to convey the emptiness and sadness that we now feel.

For The Girl and I, we were lucky.  We were spending the evening at the Studio working on various projects late into the night.  It would be harder for the triangle that is our home, office, and shop to be any more central in Paris.  The official ‘Center of Paris’ marker actually sits on one of the legs of that triangle.  Given we are surrounded by major police buildings, sirens are common to us.  We hear them so often we don’t notice them anymore.

But something was different about the 3rd or 4th police car that went flying by at high speed Friday night.  Soon the 10th became the 20th police car rushing across the river only about a mile away.  The sirens would never end that night.  From our apartment, we’d hear them echo across the otherwise silent city, all the way until sunrise.

It only took about 15-20 minutes until concerned texts, e-mails, and calls started to flood in from around the city and around the world. We quickly tried to account for all of our local friends and The Girl’s staff, some of whom were at concerts that night.  Given we’ve only been here a few years, it wasn’t a huge list of people to track down.  Still, the Facebook Safety Alert system was incredibly valuable for not just us, but also for our friends and family outside the area trying to check in on us.

In our case, all of our immediate friends and employees were accounted for as safe.  But there were close calls, and the night could have easily ended up very much different for our friends and employees.  The world can seem so big, yet so small at the same time.

In time normalcy will return, but for now – we hear the sirens again.  Each and every one of them a reminder of the fear and sadness of Friday night.  We wonder if something else has happened, with the rest of the city equally jumpy and on edge with every loud noise, scream, or shout.  Still, we know in time the sirens will fade, and the city will come alive again.

Both The Girl and I would like to thank you for the outpouring of e-mails, tweets, and text messages checking in on us over the last two days.  It really means a lot to us that so many of you reached out to check on our safety.

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85 Comments

  1. Denis

    Hi Ray!

    I myself lived in Paris for a year, so it is my (third) hometown and I still have got some people over there and have a close connection with the town. I cannot imagine how it is to hear bombs detonation from your house, but I can only guess that it is horrible! I will always be with my neighbor France (I’m from Germany) and am going to visit the city (and maybe you) sometime soon, and I wish you all the strength I can! Stay positive and open minded!

    Best wishes!
    Denis

    • Anders Risager

      Just glad you guys are okay… right now that’s all that matters… remember the sun will shine again, tomorrow will come and we will get over this in time…

  2. Hugo

    I cannot even try to understand what happened and how people lived it. It’s sad and infuriating that those things happen, but hopefully “the good guys” will come on top.

    Best wishes to everyone.

  3. James Millson

    Glad you are both safe and well.

  4. This reminded me the bombings in Madrid, as I felt absolutely the same.

    Normalcy must prevail. The objects of these horrible attacks (Paris, Madrid, New York… but also in many many cities and towns in the middle east) are to scare us. To change us. To terrorize us. And the way to fight against it is showing that they are not winning, and they will never do. We will not change. We will not be different. Just because we respect all human beings and they simply don’t. That’s what differs us from them.

  5. Happy Runner

    I think Eduardo is correct. Every moment spent on this is a victory for the terrorists. Their goal is not the killing, but the effect it has on the living.

    Peace be with you.

  6. liers99

    I know how ya feel Ray. The attack that killed 5 military here in the US happened a couple miles from my work place. I am praying for all those in Paris. Senseless acts like these are the work of shameful people that have to pick on innocent people. Stay strong my friend.

  7. Chris Schouten

    Glad you are ok.

  8. gingerneil

    I was in London on 7/7, passing through Liverpool Street station when the bombs went off underground. Nothing quite sets you up for that kind of experience. The whole city jumping at every strange noise, and not quite knowing where to turn. Strangely though, these things bring everyone closer together rather than pushing them apart. Maybe one day the perpetrators will realise that too.
    All the best to you both.
    x

  9. Ben Pine

    I’m glad you are ok.

  10. James

    Happy to hear you are all safe

  11. Peter

    Glad to hear you are OK.

    My thoughts are with those who lost a loved one, and with those who will bear the injuries of this horrendous attack. Let’s not forget it does not only happen in Paris. Merely a few days before more than 40 people lost their lives in an atrocious attack by IS near a shopping center in Beirut. Let’s not forget those victims either.

    The best way to defeat the terrorists is to continue to live the life that we live.

  12. Sean

    I’m speechless and shocked. Glad you’re ok Ray.

  13. Peter Michael Nielsen

    Hi Ray – very happy to hear that you and The Girl are safe.

    The dark forces will never win this war!

  14. Johnny Nukem

    Time to nuke the fakers and be done with it and before anyone says ‘oh but innocent people would die in a nuke’ wake up. Innocent people are dying now..London bus and tube bombings…Paris attacks last year….tourists abroad on a Tunisian beach…Russian passenger plane and now Paris again.

    So don’t use the ‘innocents will get killed’ with me. Nuke em, then we can all get back to cycling.

    Glad you’re well Ray

  15. Rob Poma

    I’m glad that you, The Girl and Lucy are safe.
    Thank you for updating us all.
    Thanks again for your awesome site and all that you do.

  16. Ivaylo Georgiev

    Greetings from Sofia. Thank God that you and The Girl are safe.
    The evil that men do lives on and on (Iron Maiden’s prophecy…).
    Still, people like you keep the world alive and smiling. Keep on.

  17. Turn The Damn Cranks

    I think this is the best written piece you’ve ever posted. Horrible that it needs to be said, but hard to imagine it being said better. I am sure I speak for everyone who reads this blog when I say that I was very pleased to see your tweet indicating you were okay, although still horribly saddened at the overall carnage and the acts of evil.

  18. Neil Strenge

    Very glad to hear you are both safe. I was concerned when you didn’t tweet at all or update FB over the weekend, so extremely happy to see you updating your blog. We share your sadness at the events in one of the world’s great cities.

  19. Jamie

    Ray, although we don’t know each other personally and have never met I think you was the first person I thought of. Glad you are OK and although this is dreadful it could have been even worse. I’m glad the French security, police, army who ever acted quickly and managed to contain the situation.

    In keeping on with normal life I have today booked my flight to mt ventoux for the tour next year. I’m starting to love France more and more and seem to visit at least once a year now. Maybe see you there..

  20. Joshua McLaughlin

    I’m glad you and your immediate and extended family and friends are all well. The state of the world has me angry in a way I’ve never felt before and I live in Ohio far and seemingly sheltered from all of this nonsense.

    I’ve been to Paris once in my life for a total of 35 hours and loved every minute of it. From the warm people I met to the fascinating sights I was able to see. It’s a city like no other and I feel angry at this and every other senseless act of violence and intolerance that is now a daily occurrence in the world.

    Peace everywhere.

  21. MANUEL CORTES FERNANDEZ

    Glad both of you are Ok.

  22. Mike

    Glad you’re safe!

  23. Ray,
    It’s always a challenge to know how best to respond when these types of things occur. Like many others, one of my first thoughts when I heard about this attack was to wonder first if you were safe, and second if you were close/affected by these attacks in any way. I was glad to see your tweet early on stating that you were in fact safe, and I look forward to watching Paris come back to life through your eyes in the coming weeks and months as I know it will.

  24. Andy Jelagin

    Greeting from Chicago – So glad to hear that you and yours are safe and sound. I hope the following days and weeks bring healing and peace.

  25. Kevin Sheasgreen

    Glad you are both safe !!

  26. Frans

    Good to hear that you, The Girl, friends and staff are ok. For what happened: I’m lost for words.

  27. ManilaRaf

    Ray,

    When I read what was going on in Paris, my thoughts went to one former colleague who’s undergoing specialty training there as well as you & the Girl.

    I’m glad you’re both okay and hope that you’ll both carry on. I see on Strava that you’re back to running, cycling, & swimming and am glad that you’re back in the swing of things.

  28. Kelly

    So relieved you and yours are okay! We’ve all been worried anxiously awaiting an update so thank you for updating us. Prayers to all.

  29. Nemo Brauch

    Thank you for posting an update and glad to hear you both are safe.

  30. craig smith

    Ray;
    so glad to hear that Your family and friends are ok during this tragic incident. My prayers and support go out to everyone. Its still hard to understand why people have so much hate for no reason

  31. John K

    Ray,

    Over the years, your blog and website have informed and entertained lots of people who share the same interest in swimming, biking, and running. It has also united us. Your writings have taught us about Paris and culture and the good people there. You have talked about both the beautiful parts of the City and it’s underbelly. You eloquently describe the events and places and people. You’ve probably never met 99.9% of the people who follow your posts but you’ve let us all meet a little bit of you and your wife. And because of what you write, there are now many more people who care about the people of Paris.

    I have never been to France and have never met you but when I learned of the attacks my first thought was of you and your wife. Strange, maybe, but true. I would guess I’m not the only one.

    Whether you realize it or not, you are an ambassador of goodwill. I guess I can’t speak for everyone, but you made me feel closer to the people of Paris and reinforced the fact that many of the same things make us all happy and we share many of the same struggles. Sometimes we in the United States get a little too comfortable and forget this. But we are all going through life together, no matter what continent we live on.

    I am 51, live near Chicago, and am mad as hell at what happened. I am very glad you, your wife, and friends are OK.

    People say the internet unites the world. Your work is a shining example. Stay safe.

    • Rolf

      Well said John K. Like you, I too have never met Bobbie or Ray and yet they were the first people I thought of when I heard about the attacks. I often find myself saying to someone, “I have this ‘friend’ who writes a blog from Paris”…For those of us that follow you, you both are our friends, so what if we’ve never met! Glad to hear you are safe and your employees as well.

    • Jenn

      Well said, friend.

    • Phil B

      I’m in Canada but my thoughts are much the same. Sad more than mad perhaps. I’m very glad you are both ok.

      Peace

      P

    • RJ

      John K,
      Very well said. Speaking for many, indeed. Very similar thoughts/reaction.

      Glad to hear all is well in DCR/Cupcakery world.

    • kathy

      from Mexico I thought the same. what a beautiful comment, John. i think you have spoken for very many of us. thank you.

  32. Chris

    Hi Ray.

    Glad to hear that you are both safe.

    Best,
    Chris

  33. Matt Mabry

    Jon K just took the words out of my mouth (or finger tips?)
    Glad you and the Girl are safe and prayers for Paris and the rest of the world. This is just too much.

  34. Carl

    It’s good to hear you and yours are safe. Be safe. Bon courage.

  35. Tim V

    Ray,
    John K !!!

    Stay safe

    Tim

  36. Fancis

    As someone who has lived in New York and London during those attacks and who ran the Boston Marathon on the day of the bombings (a pretty sh*tty trifecta), let me express my condolences to you. With every future terrorist attack there will be a visceral reaction and fear that brings you back to a dark day, but that moment will soon pass and you’ll realize that life can and will go on.

    I hope in the coming days, weeks and months that you and other Parisians experience what I saw in Central Park, Hyde Park and road races after other attacks. People will refuse to be forced into their homes; they’ll share their joys and passions again; and running, cycling and other fitness activities will take on new meaning.

    And, while it sucks to have to say it, be easy on yourself when you have selfish thoughts. It’s ok to think about and express the impact of the attacks on your business. It’s ok to be frustrated by the added inconveniences you’ll face with travel or getting around while running or biking. It’s ok to be hurt and impacted by the attacks even if your loss isn’t as grave as what others suffered.

    I’m glad that you and your family and friends are safe.

  37. Koen B

    Glad you’re safe and let’s hope that the world will react wisely to this horrible event.

  38. The REAL Tim

    Ray,

    Glad to hear that you and the Girl and your friends and family are safe.

    Tim

  39. greg

    I started to cry when I heard (that is not normal for me), my girlfriend and I were visiting Paris this spring and felt the magic of Pairs, didn’t get the time to sample The Girls cupcakes. I am sorry for you loss, the cities, loss, and the peoples loss.

  40. :Lexie

    I am glad that you two, your friends and employees are okay. We are thinking of all of you x Lexie

  41. Mike S.

    Was thinking of you both as you’re the only people I (sort of) know in Paris. Grateful that you and your friends/employees are safe.

    Try to get back to normal asap and defeat the power of terrorism.

  42. Bart Bloomquist

    Glad all is well with your family and staff.

  43. Paul in Kirkland

    As things were unfolding, I kept looking up the neighborhoods affected in Google Maps, to see how close they were to you, based on where they were to Notre Dame. And knowing that you both are so socially active, I was like a worried parent until I finally remembered that you had a twitter account.

    Strange to feel like that with people I’ve never met in person, but that’s what the internet does I guess. I’m just relieved that you and your friends and loved ones are safe.

    Take care. Hope the healing will begin soon.

  44. Mariant

    Greetings from Argentina.
    I’m speechless.
    I hope the wounds start healing soon

  45. Joan Alcover

    As you know, I live in Paris part of the year and lived there full time from 1996 to 2007. Witnessed two bombings in that period.
    Prior to that, I lived in Madrid, Spain (1978-1979 and 1982-1996). In those years, the terrorist group ETA was “busy” in the country and in the major cities, including Madrid and Barcelona.
    I escaped one bombing by sheer luck (I arrived earlier than usually at the office, so I passed the car with the bomb three minutes before it went off, at the red light where I was waiting for the green, close to the US embassy).
    I’m afraid that for the next 10 years Paris and a few other major cities of France will go through the same terrible experience. Sirens and similar attacks at regular intervals will be our lot.
    ………………..I sincerely hope I am wrong…………
    ………………..Only time will tell………………………
    Sorry for the gloom in this message………….

  46. Neil

    Glad you’re safe! My heart goes out to everyone in Paris.

  47. Matt

    Ray,

    I’m glad you and yours are well and safe. I was in Paris this weekend with the plan to run the Half Marathon in Boulogne on Sunday. I’m glad to also say my friends and I are all accounted for as well. It’s very difficult to describe my current emotions and even as I now sit here back in Germany, I don’t think the full impact of that night has sunken in. I know I have a steady nervousness, but can’t fully explain it. I ventured out on Saturday and it was a very sullen experience as can be expected. I love to run along the Seine and I decided since the race was canceled, to do that instead. To my joy, more runners appeared during the late morning hours and a slight sense of normalcy returned. Obviously it will never truly become “normal” again, but I’m glad the spirit of the people is still strong. Thoughts with you and all of France.

  48. Happy to hear that the two of you, her team and your friends are all safe. Stay that way!

  49. John Graham

    Glad to hear you are ok–I thought about you immediately after hearing about this horrible tragedy.

  50. Sam

    Ray,
    I have never met you but I’ve read so much about your life that you and the Girl were the first thing to enter my mind when I heard the news. I’m thankful you are alive and safe. As a 9/11 survivor the thing that has stuck with me the most is that feeling in the days afterwards. The silence of the city, the eery clam and stillness despite the total chaos still going on.

    As someone who has lived through this kind of tragedy I understand what you are going through. Our thoughts are with the entire city as you all begin healing.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Sam

  51. Ron

    Thanks for sharing. So glad to hear you and your friends are safe!

  52. Rob Montgomery

    Glad you guys are ok! I’ll never forget the feeling right after the marathon bombing. Being ordered to essentially stay in the house. Simple things like my wife’s commute home that day from work was scary knowing she’d be taking public transportation and not knowing all the details of the attacks at the time. Scary stuff.

  53. Heartfelt words and I’m glad you & The Girl are safe.
    Paris has always been a very special place for me and I was only there a few weeks ago – indeed just last week I booked flights for my next trip. Waking up to the news on Saturday was heartbreaking and I shed a tear for everyone in the city and beyond.

  54. Gary Ogden

    They must not win, they will not win. To the people of France stay strong and glad you guys are ok.

  55. Ray, I’m glad to hear that both you and The Girl are safe. My thoughts are with you and everyone in Paris.

  56. PurdueMatt

    Glad you’re okay. Keep Lucy safe.

  57. Jenn

    Very glad that you and your circle of family, friends and employees are safe and sad for everyone in Paris.

  58. Toby

    Glad you and the people your close to are safe

  59. Scott E

    Had to hold my breath waiting to hear how you and your circle of friends and employees fared – thank you for taking on what must have been a difficult update.

    Wishing the best to those affected in Paris and abroad – Peace.

  60. Bob

    Ray:

    Best wishes in these sad days. We look forward to the return of joy to daily life in Paris, and wish you and yours an inner endurance in trying days that may still be ahead.

  61. Julia

    I’m glad to know you and your wife are safe. Like many of your readers I checked your blog soon after I heard the news about Paris. Even though I only know you through the blog, you and The Girl along with your city are in my thoughts and prayers.

  62. Oscar P

    Glad that you are ok. Keep doing what you are doing… Living every moment doing what you love! You inspire a lot of people and that’s what this world needs.

  63. tosin

    I have a friend in Paris right now, and I think I was more worried about you than her….does that make me a bad person? Glad to hear you guys were ok!

  64. Alice

    Thank you for this post, Ray!
    & best wishes to both of you

  65. Gareth Jones

    Me to – glad you’re safe, and your friends, and employees.

    Reading these comments it strikes me how many people now have had first hand experience of something similar, of near misses, of experiencing a city in shock. For me it was 7/7 in London – the erie silence walking the couple of miles to Paddington, without traffic. Just people on the streets glad to be alive.

  66. Oier

    Touring ski is the answer

  67. SteveT

    Ray and The Girl,

    Glad you weren’t hurt and don’t need to be on another jet or were away on business when this happened.

    Thanks for all you do and share.

    Steve

  68. Bcranch

    Ray,
    God bless and glad you are ok. I am stationed in Germany and we were planning to come to Paris for Thanksgiving but that has all changed now. We will be by the Cupcakery soon.

  69. Tom

    Good to hear you are all safe…

  70. Lajos Toth

    I am happy you guys are OK. I am a Hungarian born US citizen and I can tell you that freedom is not free.
    It is a privilege that we are provided freedom by the great heros of our nations called armed forces. Without them, we would be dead. We, Hungarians, Americans and other nations alike believing in our values have seen it and have fought for it for centuries. Millions of my homeland, Hungary have died fighting for Europe and Christianity.
    So did many on the West and in the USA. Lessons need to be learned and remembered !
    Yes, I also agree ! We MUST NOT bend, also NOT forgive and go ahead and get out for a tough brick workout sometimes !
    Best, God Bless !

  71. Eric

    Really glad to hear you and your friends are safe. This all hit while we were out at Ironman Arizona, so I am just now getting up to speed with this horrible news – and I agree, the Facebook safe-alert feature is fantastic. We have some other friends in Paris that used it.

    Stay safe out there Ray and Bobbie. Prayers are with all those that weren’t so lucky. What a shame.

  72. Ian

    Glad to hear you guys are all ok.

  73. Oren

    I live near Tel Aviv, and have seen more than my share of bloodshed and terror, yet these last events have shook me up quite badly.
    Paris for me is a city of freedom of ideas, of openness, of romance, of art. Hatred does not belong.
    As Eduardo, Happy Runner and others have said, the true triumph is to live on and celebrate life over death and love over hate. Corny words, I know, but true nonetheless.
    Hope the only shots you’ll ever hear will be from starter pistols and the only ambulances you’ll see are the race escorts. Be safe, stay happy.

  74. Hector Gonzalez

    I am really glad you and your loved ones are unharmed.

    Many lives were lost that day and many more will never be the same; I just can´t imagine what would drive a human being to committing such horrible acts. It was a bad weekend for Paris and the world in general, but I am sure Parisians and the world will rise from this tragic event stronger and more united than ever.

    I´m keeping Paris and the world in general in my prayers.

  75. Gail Kellner

    Glad you guys are okay.

  76. Jill Ben-Dor

    So happy to hear you both came through the horror unscathed, at least in the physical sense. I kept thinking of you and checking your site. Yes, it’s a small world.

  77. Y H

    I don’t have any friends in France but when I heard about the attacks, you and The Girl family were the first I thought about. I’m glad you’re ok.

  78. Carsten Mogensen

    My first thought when I heard about the thing in Paris was “Who do I know in Paris?” My brother in-law has an appartment quite close to the concert-place.. He was in Norway fortunately, “What about DCRainmaker and The Girl?” The way You write about things that interest us, and the personal touch You put in Your reviews makes me feel that I know You – In a way.. Soo glad You guys are ok, keep up the spirit, and drink Chanpagne! To spite the haters. Greeting from Norway.