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The Victims: Sobering Aftermath Of A City Under Attack

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

In Paris, residents of the French capital are still trying to come to terms with the brutal attacks launched by ISIS. NPR's Peter Kenyon has been out on the streets this morning.

PETER KENYON, BYLINE: After the horror of Friday night, Paris is extraordinarily quiet this weekend. And Sunday morning found few people out and about if they didn't have a reason to be. At the Mercy Salpetriere Hospital, people waited quietly to speak to the guards about getting in to see friends or relatives. Many of the more than 350 wounded were brought here Friday night. The family members look away from journalists, keeping their thoughts to themselves. At the Brasserie Parisienne, waiter Tristan Kennero finds it hard to describe his feelings. It's a crazy day, he says, with death and life all mixed up.

TRISTAN KENNERO: I just think about the dead and (speaking French).

KENYON: "May the dead rest in peace and the families recover," he adds in French. "But at the same time, we have to keep on. We have to live our lives, keep a smile on our face."

It's a sentiment that's been voiced a lot in the past 36 hours or so, the feeling that simply going on, hard as it may seem, is one way ordinary people can respond to this atrocity.

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KENYON: France is still literally sorting the living from the dead. The prime minister says 20 to 30 bodies have yet to be identified. On the banks of the river Seine stands an old red brick building, a place where people come to think about the dead. The Paris morgue has been part of French literary life and death for centuries. The morgue used to be open to daily visitors. And writers like Emile Zola used it as a setting to explore the emotions the morgue generated in the living when they came face-to-face with the dead. These days, the people who come here have painful questions. Will they find their husband, brother or daughter who they haven't seen since Friday night in here? It's a place where people bring questions they may not want to hear the answers to. And then on Monday, the rhythm of the city will pick up with the return of the work week. Although, back to normal is a phrase that may not be heard here for some time to come. Peter Kenyon, NPR News, Paris. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.