As France mourns the victims of the Paris attacks, so do countless Minnesotans, many with strong ties to the City of Light.
• The latest: French authorities identify key players behind attacks
• Photos: A march for France in Minneapolis
Luc Sarraute is an officer with the French National Police. Last year, he took a sabbatical, left his homeland, and moved to Minneapolis with his wife and two children. On Friday, when he saw the news alert on his phone about the attacks, he immediately called his brother in Paris.
"His voice was shaking a little bit. He told me he saw some people with bad injuries on the street," he said.
Sarraute's brother works at a bar near the Bataclan. That's the concert venue where scores of people were shot down by gunmen.
As Sarraute was on the phone, his brother Xavier had put the bar on lockdown and was hiding out with his customers. Xavier Sarraute made it through the night OK. But Luc Sarruate says it's been tough to watch his home city under attack from a distance.
"I'm feeling like I need to go to France to help my colleagues. Inside me, I'm feeling (like I'm) still a police officer."
After living in Paris for a decade, his wife Vanessa says she recognized all six sites where the gunmen and explosions struck.
"I'm very worried for my friends. When you see in the news, these are my stomping grounds. These are places I went and frequented, and I could have been at any of those places on a Friday night," she said. "I'm terrified. Everybody says, 'If we let ourselves be terrorized, the terrorists are winning,' but how can you not be scared?"
Both here and in Paris, Minnesotans are expressing solidarity with the French people. The cultural group Alliance Francaise in Minneapolis held a march Sunday afternoon to the Basilica of St. Mary, which hosted a memorial service.
Louis Wendling, president of the French-American Chamber of Commerce in Minnesota, says the state is home to several thousand French nationals, including professionals employed by 3M and other large companies.
Wendling says the attacks were horrific and that the severe restrictions on France's borders are a terrible fallout.
"To me it seems extreme. ... France and its fellow member countries of the EU could pride themselves of a high degree of freedom of movement — of people, capital and goods. And now that freedom is really compromised," he said.
Journalist Chris Welsch is a Parisian by way of Minnesota. He worked for decades at the Star Tribune before moving to Paris four years ago. He says people there are shaken, and troops are guarding the streets. But he says he has no plans to change his daily habits or to be rattled by the violence.
"I'm determined not to be worried about it," he said. "I ride my bike to work every day, and I think there's a much greater chance I'll be hit with a car than I'm going to be attacked by an idiot with a gun who thinks he's doing something in the name of God."
Another Minnesotan in Paris, Northfield native Kristina Keenan, says it's not "business as usual" for her. It's a time of reflection. Keenan says she prays not just for Paris, but for tolerance, compassion and greater understanding, especially toward immigrants and Muslims.
"I do think it's important for people to slow down, take a breather, and think about what's about happening," she said. "Cultural tolerance, religious tolerance, is something we have to try and hold onto and not lower ourselves to a level where we're just as angry and hateful at 'the other.' "
The University of Minnesota says all eight study-abroad students who were believed to be in Paris at the time of the attacks are safe. So are students from Gustavus Adolphus, Carleton, St. Olaf and Winona State.
And as some U.S. cities increase security in the wake of the attacks, so will the Mall of America, as a matter of precaution. A spokesperson says there have been no threats made against the mall.