As police surrounded the printing company where the two brothers suspected of killing 12 at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper holed up, the owner said he saw them coming, armed with automatic weapons and a rocket propelled grenade.
"I must admit I thought that was the end," Michel Catalano said. "But they said, 'Don't worry, we just want to come in.'"
The suspected terrorists released the man after he bandaged one of them for an injury on his neck. But the owner didn't tell them about his colleague, 27-year-old graphic designer Lilian Lepere, who was still inside. Lepere hid under a sink for the eight-hour siege, texting information to his father, who passed it along to police.
Meanwhile, in eastern Paris, when Amedy Coulibaly, who was suspected of killing a police officer Thursday, entered Kosher grocery store Hyper Cacher with automatic weapons, employee Lassana Bathily said he shepherded about 15 terrified customers into an underground fridge.
Bathily says he turned off the lights, told customers not to worry, and went back upstairs.
"I told them to calm down, to not make noise because if he know that we were there, he would have us killed," Bathily said.
Coulibaly, 32, allegedly killed four people in the store.
After hiding in the freezer, Bathily said he lifted a barrier on the door and ran out to police. He then relayed information to the authorities to help communicate with hostages still inside the store. All of those hostages Bathily helped survived.
Bathily said when the hostages escaped, the police "congratulated me and said thank you."
Coulibaly was killed when police stormed the store.
Today, in a show of unity, about 700,000 people turned out in at least six cities across France for rallies to honor this week's victims.
French authorities were still searching for Coulibaly's girlfriend, 26-year-old Hayat Boumeddiene, who is considered armed and dangerous.