I lost my mother to cancer in January 2014 and decided to join a group charity bike ride from London to Paris to raise money for Macmillan in her memory. We set off from Blackheath on 1 July 2015 (the hottest July day on record!) arriving in Paris four days later; I raised over £3700.

I had not been to Paris for a few years and had forgotten how much I loved the city, promising myself I’d book a weekend with Debbie when I got home, which I duly did, taking advantage of a Eurostar sale and choosing Friday 13 November as our departure date.

As we were walking back to our hotel (the excellent Hotel Edgar) after a delicious dinner at La Tour de Montlhéry on the Friday night, we knew from the sirens and police cars flying around that something major was happening in the city.

We ordered a nightcap in the hotel bar (which was very busy – clearly a popular Friday night haunt) and my phone began to be bombarded with messages from home, asking if we were OK, following the terrorist attacks which until that point we had known nothing about.

And then the horrors began to unfold … The worst part of the Friday night was the uncertainty; was it over? Are there gunmen running around Paris with Kalashnikovs looking for targets?  Might they burst into our hotel bar at any minute?

The staff made everybody sitting outside move inside (it was unseasonably warm, an unexpected and no doubt welcome gift for the smokers) and suddenly the whole bar was discussing the atrocities and scouring the Internet on mobile phones and tablets for updates.

On the Saturday morning, news reports said that people were being urged not to venture out; sod that, we were in Paris for the weekend. And it seems that everyone else also ignored the guidance and ventured out into the warm, autumnal sunshine; unfortunately all the museums and landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower were closed, but the tourists were still there, posing with selfie-sticks in front of the iconic Parisian monuments.

Much to Debbie’s delight, the shops were still open and we were able to enjoy the spectacular Christmas decorations and window displays of all the famous department stores including Galeries Lafayette and Le Printemps, making a purchase here and there.

The most poignant moment of the weekend was on the Saturday night in our hotel bar when I showed Charlotte, our charming hotel manager, the solidarity being displayed by Brits on Facebook, superimposing the Tricolour over their profile pictures; she started to cry.

So how should we react? What do the terrorists want us to do? They want us to stop travelling anywhere that might be considered a risk from attack. Then what happens? Tourism collapses, the economy collapses, young people lose their jobs and become disillusioned with life, potentially falling prey to the radicalisers.

What we really need to do is nothing. Keep Calm and Carry On.  As soon as you allow these maniacs to affect your behaviour they have won, and we have lost.

So go on, start planning that trip to Paris, or Marrakech. I will be back in Paris as soon as I can get there. That’s for damned sure.