One year after
On the one hand, time seems to have passed by quickly. On the other, the days, the months seem to have been static, an endless repetition of the previous day with its same news, conversations and foggy perspectives. Last fall a new wave of infection (the second) stuck its nose out. Summerhad been joyful and people seemed to have forgotten most of the recommendations to keep the virus away. The government fought back with the standard “weapons”: a curfew, another lockdown, having to declare our movements, wearing masks everywhere, keeping your distance.
Happily the parks and the Quais de Seine stayed open. We could move within a distance of 10 km from home which allowed me access to the Bois de Vincennes and the Bois de Boulogne. Theatres, cinemas, museums, dance halls and certain shops were all closed, considered NON essential. Restaurants could only provide take-away food, or serve coffee and drinks outside on the sidewalks. The controls were less and less… strict. The magic of silence and expanded space we experienced during the first lockdown were gone. You could see that people were less afraid, so more nonchalant.
With the shortening of the day and the arrival of low temperatures, the desire to “play” outside became less strong. Parisians listened to the call of “home, sweet home”. The blue lights of computers, tablets and telephones replaced the light of stars, moon and sun. The celebrations at Christmas, New Year, Easter had no salt or pepper for most of us.
May 19th, 2021: Paris (the sleeping beauty) starts to come out of its hibernation. With some adjustments, terraces may open again. Cinemas, theatres and museums open too. You should have seen the long line at the cinema MK2 for the 6am (six in the morning) session. Some did not sleep the whole night, afraid that they would miss the opening.
The weather forecast in Paris that day was terrible: cold, rain, wind - the type of weather you wouldn’t throw your worst enemy out into. Nevertheless, Parisians showed determination. With or without umbrellas they enjoyed their café and croissant on these “artisanal”, home-made, sometimes improvised terraces. At lunch time I’ve even seen a man enjoying his “boeuf bourguignon” all alone under the gray sky and heavy rain. The sauce in his plate seemed to be more rain water than red wine. I didn’t dare disturb him but even today I wish I knew his motivation and feelings. He seemed soooo happy and content.
June 9th, @the big day ! Beautiful sunshine, 28°C, the lights are on “green”:
- bistro, cafés, restaurants - open
- all shops - open
- cinemas, museums, theatres - open
- galleries, exhibitions - open
- stadiums, sports grounds - open
- foreign visitors, tourists - welcome (nevertheless see the conditions)
- Freedom to move all over France ! YESSSSS !
As from today, June 9th, Paris is an open city. The terraces, some with chic decoration, some less so, replaced most of the street car parks. The air is impregnated with aromas (coffee, roasted peppers, fried onions, grilled meats, and… mind you… the perfume of jasmine and roses. They are in full season. People’s voices and laughter on the terraces ascend to the sky like prayers, hoping all this lasts.
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