Lockdown in Paris

The photo from the balcony is now NOT my reality, I’m here on my own! We’re in week 3 of lockdown here in Paris and I thought I’d reach out to you and find out how you are doing.
How has your daily life changed? 

We’re being ‘fed’ our news in bite-sized portions, a 2 week lockdown with a tickbox form to complete every time we leave home that must include name, address, DOB, date and signature, written in pen and we need a new form each time. Fines from €38-€135.

A phone app option was added, and just as quickly taken away because the Police didn’t want to come too close and touch our phones as they didn’t have protection. Within days the form was made more stringent, we now have to provide the TIME we leave home. Fines went straight to €135 / €1500 / jail!

I can go shopping for food essentials, supermarkets are open, mine give us 2 big squirts of hand sanitizer as we enter, there has never been empty shelves, even for toilet paper, but I will confess to once buying 6 extra rolls because I felt under pressure looking at other people’s trolleys!

The pharmacies are open. The tabacs are open, the one by metro Liège continues selling its ‘essential’ cigarettes, lottery tickets and stamps but the brasserie / café part is closed off. Takeaway places are open, some restaurants converted to just takeaway but as those working were instructed to work from home if at all possible or were sent home on technical unemployment there is little lunch trade therefore many stopped quite quickly.

Visits to venerable people are possible but as I don’t count and neither does my hairdresser that’s not an option.

We could have an hour’s exercise, within 1km radius of home, I wasn’t really sure if that meant I have to take a ball of string with me just to avoid the fine but in fact I’ve never ticked that box either 🙁 Bicycling was OK for about 3 days, then changed to only to and from work. It’s probably difficult to bike fast in a 1km radius without getting dizzy anyway.

People were however doing non-moving yoga in the park and on benches and non social distanced football with their friends, others who’d never jogged in their lives forced people off the pavement, panting heavily over them as they went. It was a great success.

That stopped today! No exercise from 10am to 7pm in Paris. We are not taking enough notice, apparently, although everyone I’ve met wears a real mask (and I’m thinking ‘give it to a health care worker you don’t need it’) and seems to be very responsible.

Here at 52 there is a BIG sign on each block door telling us not to touch the elevator buttons or door handles which is probably why I’ve seen almost no-one about for 3 weeks. I know most of them are still alive though because I hear them and see them from my balcony at 8pm every evening clapping to show our thanks to all essential workers. It’s quite heart-warming and I’ve even seen some of my neighbours at number 50, in the new building, on their North-facing cold, dank, dreary balconies – they look quite human.

There is no traffic. Quieter than my favourite month, August. Here is a video from end March taken by someone riding a bike which of course is now not allowed!

Paris wasn’t one of the first 3 cluster epicentres in France, but because one of them was the part of Ile de France that is North of Paris the sick have generally been brought into Parisian hospitals. Thankfully I don’t know anyone in Paris who has been hospitalised and only 1 household suffering badly but at home.

How does your situation differ, is it better or worse? I’d love to know.

Keep in touch and tell me how you are coping and of course, please #StayHome and keep washing your hands with liquid soap 🙂

Want to find out what has been extraordinary this past week? We have an angel in out midst.

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