Milford couple shares terrifying Paris ordeal

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Matt Laneve and girlfriend Amber Stanley in Paris.

Americans are returning home are sharing their stories of living through the Paris terror.

"It was like 9/11 when you didn't know what was next," said Matt Laneve of Milford.

Laneve and his girlfriend, Amber Stanley, were spending a romantic weekend in Paris - meeting up with his daughter and her friend who are studying abroad.

They decided to go see the lights of the Eiffel Tower Friday night instead of dining near their Airbnb not from the Bataclan concert hall.

"We went left instead of going right," he said. "And had we gone right - we would have been in the middle of it."

Soon they would learn what was happening and immediately they went to the U.S. Embassy where they were met with armed guards.

"Heavy, heavy, heavy machine guns and firepower," said Laneve.

They were told to go back to where they were staying.  They did, and encountered crowds of terrified people.

"There was quick movement and crowds of people and that's when you knew," said Stanley. "Get out as fast as you can."

"A lot of heavy police movement, police presence. But just a lot of people, moving very fast."

They were holed up in for 17 hours - listening to news reports and nervous about what was to come.

Matt, an Army captain during the first Gulf War, Special Forces, said he was on high alert.

"Sixty dead, 80 dead, 100 dead, 150 dead," he said. "And then we heard man on the loose. On the loose, in the street with grenades and an explosive vest.”

The reports were terrifying - but they were safe, locked down. They finally emerged on Saturday - taking a selfie on the street, deciding they would not be scared.

"We can't let them do that - we can't be afraid," Stanley said.

After their terrifying experience, Matt and Amber have advice for others traveling abroad - always know where you are, and where help is available.

"Really make sure you know where your Embassies and Consulates are,” Laneve said. “Make sure you know your surroundings, make sure you know what your getaway plan is.

“And it’s sad that we have to think that way, but we do.”

It took 27 hours to get back - but they are happy to be home.