Wish you weren’t here

IN NOVEMBER Youssou N’Dour, from Senegal, and others will perform at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris. A year after gunmen killed 90 people there, the idea is to let audiences feel safe again. The best way to defy terrorists, and keep businesses going, is to resume normal routines.

That’s a fine ambition. Yet tourism, entertainment and other business in France are struggling. Heavily armed soldiers continue to patrol Paris’s streets, metro stations and riverside beaches, snapped by wide-eyed tourists as a new sort of postcard from the city. A national state of emergency, in place until January, plus pat-downs and bag searches at the entrance to any mall or cinema, are constant reminders of ongoing threats. A blues musician laments that concerts in his city are far less well-attended than before.

Fears are spreading that businesses face more than a temporary dip in custom. A hotelier grumbles that bookings fall each time a ruling politician declares that France is “at war”. Late in July AccorHotels, a big group, reported “a very pronounced drop” in demand this year, as its...Continue reading