Kriston Capps is a staff writer for CityLab covering housing, architecture, and politics. He previously worked as a senior editor for Architect magazine.
As with any emergency event, some of the reports that spread Friday night were erroneous.
As with any emergency event, news reports of the deadly attacks in Paris came in fast and furious over social media. And as with any emergency event, some of them were erroneous.
Here are three things that didn’t happen in France Friday night but were nonetheless widely circulated across the Internet. We’ll update this list as needed:
- Photos swept social media Friday night that appeared to show the refugee camp in Calais in northeastern France on fire. These photos depicted a fire from November 2 that followed a gas-canister explosion. Unfortunately, there is evidence of another fire at the Calais camps last night. This led skeptics on Twitter to claim accurately that the photos were a hoax but claim inaccurately that there was no fire in Calais. The causes of Friday night’s fire in the so-called “Jungle” refugee camp are still unknown.
- Several publications tweeted photos or a Vine that showed the Eiffel Tower going dark in honor of the victims of the attack. The Vine was originally posted in January, after the Eiffel Tower went dark at 8 p.m. to honor those killed in the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Paris photos posted from last night were framed in an inadvertently misleading way: The lights of the Eiffel Tower shut off every night at 1 a.m. So the lights did turn off, just not for a somber display—not yet.
- Twitter users all over the world were also sharing images Friday night of Parisians rallying with a large sign depicting the words “Not Afraid.” These images are similarly from the January 7 rally against terrorism in Paris that followed the Charlie Hebdo attack.
The day after the attacks, Paris is hardly a city under lockdown. France has reimposed border controls, but international travel by plane, train, and ferry are all open as usual. At the same time, it’s not quite life as usual in Paris.
The Préfecture de Police has banned by decree all public demonstrations in the streets of Paris, as well as protests in the departments of Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, and Val de Marne. A broad range of public facilities and agencies are closed, including schools, museums, and libraries. Tourist sites—including the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and Disneyland Paris—are all closed until further notice. Shops in many neighborhoods were closed on Saturday, but not all of them.
Bus lines crossing the 10th and 11th arrondissements (where several attacks were clustered) were canceled, and 11 different Paris Métro stations were closed. One friend in Paris tells me that the easiest way to get across the city was by Vélib’, the city’s bike-share system.