The world has rallied behind the French in their hour of need after the atrocities of the last few days in Paris. Social media has been flooded with messages of support from concerned and shocked individuals and groups. Nations have provided their backing to their allies by turning iconic landmarks in their major cities red, white and blue in a clear sign of unity and defiance, despite the terrorist threat that remains all too evident across the globe.

Social media backing for France

Social media applications such as Facebook and Twitter have been quick to adopt a colourful theme in the aftermath of the terrible scenes from the French capital.

Many Facebook picture profiles for individuals and on group pages have shown solidarity for the French cause by draping the French flag’s colours over them.

The “Peace for Paris” symbol has flooded online communications, going viral in its depiction of the apt combination of the Eiffel Tower and the 1960s peace sign.

Twitter users have been encouraged to back a campaign ahead of the friendly football match between England and France on Tuesday. Despite the two nations’ fans commonly demonstrating a dislike of each other, it is hoped that they will unite for once in singing "La Marsellaise" before the kick-off. The game is expected to go ahead in London despite the recent horrific events in Paris.

Iconic landmarks adopt French colours

National landmarks have been lit up in the French colours to provide a strong statement of backing. The Sydney Opera House, the World Trade Center in New York and London’s National Gallery were among those iconic buildings to adopt that approach.

Celebrity backing

Besides leaders of the various countries around the world offering their condolences and messages of support to the French nation, celebrities have found their own unique ways to show support.

Madonna sang an impromptu and teary version of "La vie en rose" on stage in Stockholm, with just a single guitar as accompaniment.

Sporting impacts and support

Sporting events have offered their hand of friendship to their French comrades by holding a minute’s silence at many of the major weekend’s events. The now traditional mark of respect around the centre of football and rugby pitches has been clearly evident, with the players bowing their heads in thought and prayer.

The opening match of the ATP World Tour Finals in London witnessed similar scenes, as world number one Novak Djokovic and Japan’s Kei Nishikori took sixty seconds out before commencing the first set. The game itself seemed a slightly laboured affair for the underdog, as Djokovic cruised to an untroubled 6-1 6-1 victory.

French sporting teams have quite naturally found it difficult to rouse themselves after hearing and seeing the pictures of the deaths and injuries caused by the attacks in their home country. Saracens’ European Rugby Champions Cup pool match against Toulouse went ahead on Saturday afternoon. But it was clearly evident that many of the Toulouse players had their thoughts elsewhere as they slumped to a disappointing 32-7 defeat.

Both the Bordeaux-Begles and Toulon home fixtures in the same competition were postponed in the wake of the attacks.

Life clearly must go on despite the terrible scenes of death and destruction in Paris, so it is heartening to see the support from other nations. But there is a deep concern and a heightened security alert around the world in the wake of the recent events.