PARIS - French President Francois Hollande made an unannounced visit to the main mosque in Paris on Sunday, a year after militant attacks in the French capital.

“The president had a short conversation and a moment of friendship and fraternity over a cup of tea,” a French presidency official said.

Earlier, Hollande attended a low-key event to mark a year since 1.5 million people thronged Paris in a show of unity following the shootings at Charlie Hebdo newspaper and a Jewish supermarket.

Mosques across France opened their doors to the public this weekend in a bid by the Muslim community to build bridges following a series of militant attacks that rocked France in 2015.

Several thousand people gathered in Paris Sunday in a low-key ceremony to mark a year since a million and half citizens thronged the French capital in a show of unity following militant attacks on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket.

People attending the event in the Place de la Republique were searched by armed police before standing around a simple stage and a monument covered in the red, white and blue French flag.

President Francois Hollande unveiled a plaque next to an oak tree planted in the square in memory of the victims of the militant outrages that rocked France in 2015, beginning with the shootings at Charlie Hebdo. Veteran rocker Johnny Hallyday performed a short song and the army’s choir gave a rousing rendition of the Marseillaise.

The understated event was a far cry from January 11, 2015, when four million citizens rallied across France, in the biggest mass demonstrations since the end of World War II.

The outpouring of support for freedom of expression was crowned by a huge march in Paris that included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas.

France’s year of militant bloodshed culminated in the coordinated shootings and suicide bombings in Paris on November 13 that killed 130 people and were claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.

Sunday’s event was dedicated to all the victims from the attacks last year, which left the country in shock and under stringent security measures, including a state of emergency.

One of those who attended the commemoration, Jacques Clayeux, a 54-year-old museum technician, had known one of the murdered cartoonists, Tignous.

“Everyone grew up with those guys,” he said. “But I have mixed feelings today. It is terrible to attack journalists, but it’s scary to live under a state of emergency.”

The one-year anniversary on Thursday of the Charlie Hebdo shootings was overshadowed when a man was shot dead by police as he approached a police station in northern Paris wielding a meat cleaver and wearing what turned out to be a fake explosives vest.

German police confirmed late Saturday that he had been living in an asylum seekers’ shelter in Germany.

The thwarted attack underlined the authorities’ concerns that another terror assault remains highly likely in France. Hollande responded to the November massacre by vowing to crush IS and French jets have been bombing the extremist group in Syria and Iraq.