PARIS — There was a logic to these places: the concert hall, the cafes, the stadium. In boasting of responsibility for Friday’s deadly rampage, the Islamic State called these “precisely chosen targets,” symbols of the Parisian “capital of prostitution and vice.”
But there was no logic at the corner of Rue Alibert and Rue Bichat, where the shooting began Friday night. Le Carillon, a traditional French cafe run for 41 years by a Kabyle family from Algeria, was attacked. So was Le Petit Cambodge, a trendy Cambodian spot where it was often hard to get a table. At the two restaurants and their outdoor terraces that faced each other, 15 died.
On an opposite corner, the Maria Luisa — a pizzeria with its own equally defenseless sidewalk seating — was not targeted.
The neighborhood surrounding these restaurants may have been chosen because of its reputation for diversity and tolerance, people here believe. But the particular businesses appear, rather, to have been victims of chance, easily targeted by fast-moving shooters traveling by car and singled out more for their open-air terraces than for their owners’ identities.
“I can’t explain it. Really, I can’t,” said Dalila Boukerna, 40, whose uncle owns Le Carillon. She was visiting the restaurant and the family home above it Sunday, as she has for many Sundays since she was a child. The chalkboards were still advertising happy hour, from 6 to 8 p.m., and traditional charcuterie plates.
But on this day, hundreds of mourners pressed toward the terrace for a view of a makeshift memorial that has been erected since Friday night — one bouquet at a time.
The politics of the neighborhood here are progressive, and many residents have objected to French involvement in Syria. That fact would seem to make the area an odd target for terrorists who also oppose European meddling in the Middle East. But these chosen sites, as the ISIS statement suggested, were more abhorrent to the attackers for their culture than their politics. These are places where beer is served, where men and women dance together, where religions and cultures mix.
“We are everything they hate,” said Claude Dibiase, 55, who lives across the street from Le Carillon. “It was symbolic, the three kinds of locations. The Bataclan — that’s music. The Stade de France — sports. And here, this is pleasure.”
Experts say the particular venues were probably chosen because they offered the attackers a chance to maximize casualties and fear.
“They picked a nice cross-section of basic, everyday life,” said Patrick M. Skinner, a former CIA case officer who is director of special projects for the Soufan Group, a New York-based intelligence firm. “And they want to terrorize basic, everyday life.”
The offices of Charlie Hebdo, the satirical magazine stormed by terrorists in January, are not far from here. And although that attack struck roughly the same part of town, the magazine that courted controversy was a different target from the kind of places where residents go to have a beer.
“They want people afraid,” Skinner said. “They object to normalcy. They want to disrupt it. They’re seeking a clash of civilizations.’’
The neighborhood here — and the restaurants in it on any given night — is also full of expatriates and foreign visitors. That may have made these targets more appealing, too.
“One factor they would think about is, can they get more countries involved?” said J.M. Berger, an expert on terrorism and co-author of “ISIS: The State of Terror.”
“If they can hit a venue that has Americans and British and German and a lot of other nationalities, that broadens the impact of the attack,” he said.
Several blocks away, outside La Casa Nostra, a small Italian restaurant attacked minutes after Le Carillon and Le Petit Cambodge, Bertrand Peguillan, 69, was more blunt. “The Bataclan is rock-and-roll,” he said. “It’s freedom, it’s immorality, it’s profane.’’
Peguillan pulled out of his pocket a map he had clipped out of Le Monde newspaper showing the site of each attack. He said he planned to visit every one — just as he did in January after the Charlie Hebdo shootings.