The crowd outside the Bataclan Theatre in Paris seems equal parts excited and anxious.
“It’s a good thing to be courageous and not lose against the terrorists”, Joseph Contesse says, as he cycles past the enormous media pack broadcasting the music venue’s reopening to all corners of the globe.
Heavily armed police stand guard on every corner.
Once Parisians would have seen the tight security as overly dramatic. Now it is the norm.
“We have to break the bad spiral,” Johan Hagege said, when I asked why he is going to the Bataclan to see British star Sting.
“We have to give the place some positive, absolutely positive vibration.”
Some see the reopening of the venue as yet another sign the people of Paris have recovered from their darkest day since World War I.
Indeed at all the places the terrorists targeted, it appears normal life has resumed.
Anne Sastourme-Kojima, a regular patron of Le Carillon bar and Le Petit Cambodge, insists the city has hardly changed.
“People are closer together perhaps, a lot of people are more caring for their community,” she said.
But scratch the surface and it is clear that while daily routine has returned, some things are not the same.
The city’s tourist trade took a billion-dollar hit in the first half of this year.
Alia lost two friends in the Bataclan attack and then was fired a month later from her job due to dwindling bookings.
“Many of us lost our jobs because many hostel reservations were cancelled. We didn’t have customers,” she said.
For the survivors and families of victims, this anniversary has understandably been tough.
Many are still getting psychological and physical treatment.
“A month ago, I would have told you that I was feeling better,” Bataclan survivor Emmanuel Domenach said.
“But the arrival of November 13 threw me back into anxiety and stress.”
“I’m finally convinced that I will never again be the same person.”
All the concertgoers we meet at the Bataclan tell us they came to defy the terrorists and prove Paris is moving on.
But the numerous makeshift memorials popping up around the city are testament to the deep scars left behind.
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
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