When Paris resident Adrien Coulombeau arrived at Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital's blood donation center early this morning, he says there were already 50 people queued. And they kept arriving.
An hour later, the director of the center arrived to tell the people in line that the wait would be lengthy. Most people, he says, stayed.
Following a series of terror attacks last night in Paris, which left at least 127 dead and many more injured, city dwellers were encouraged by local authorities to stay home. But the hundreds of people queued outside of the city's hospitals suggested Parisians felt there were more important things than their personal safety.
"We all lived last night in our flats," Coulombeau told A Plus. "We needed to go out and [feel] helpful."
Léa Boutigny and Stéphanie Zerbib, two fellow donors who live near the sports stadium targeted by the attackers, said it was a testament to the character of their city.
"Parisians will go out to donate their blood and help others even if it is better to stay home," they said.
As calls for donations echoed on French radio stations and social media, Der Spiegel's Matheiu von Rohr reported that the lines at the centers grew so long that hospital personnel began sending hopeful donors home.
"France is united because of this tragedy," Boutigny and Zerbib said. "I think that a lot of people have opened their eyes."
Coulombeau hopes that the solidarity movement extends into the coming weeks, as victims (and the city) continue to heal. The hospitals' blood supplies will need to be refreshed regularly.
Thankfully, if the amount of people that queued for hours today is any evidence, the people of Paris are resolute in their generosity.
"We all felt personally concerned by what happened," Coulombeau said. "We know the places, people who were there... We wanted to show that we are united, that Paris is a wonderful and strong city."