News Views

There’s an Angel in our Courtyard

Has anything positive happened for you during this unprecedented Coronavirus time?

We hear so much about the negative side of this horrifying situation but here in France, in Paris and particularly here within the buildings I can see from my balcony and hanging out of my windows there is one change that is really heart-warming. And one very surprising, beautiful and angelic gift. Both thanking our Essential Workers.

The gift first. Since the April 13th extension the daughter of our neighbours living on the first floor of the building just above the ‘was red, now grey’ front door has been treating the whole building to a superb and positively angelic performance for a few minutes every evening.

She has been serenading us with her amazing voice. The acoustics in the courtyard are perfect, we are all hanging of of our windows to listen but why don’t you make up your mind up?

Click here to hear Debussy’s Nuit d’Etoiles. Tell me how you feel once you have listened to it. The high notes brought a tear to my eye. Another evening she sang ‘In uomini, in soldati’ from Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte – her character’s name is Despina. If you want to hear more, I post her performances each night on either my Facebook page or 52 Clichy’s Facebook page.

Just before her beautiful performance, every evening at 8pm we clap, bang pans, honk horns and generally make a lot of noise to show our appreciation of all the Essential workers. I clock-watch!! We have to! Beforehand we’re glued to the TV from 7.15pm as the Director of Health gives a comprehensive and very reassuring rundown of all new Coronavirus information from France, / rest of the World plus Q&A which can take until nearly 8pm. Straight after we’re all jumping up at 7.59pm (some people are really quick off the mark).

I go out onto my balcony and from there I can see people hanging out from the building to the right, by the dance studio. They all seem young and it looks like they live on their own as they’re mainly one person per window. We’ve started waving although I can barely make out their shapes but I do know which windows to expect to open.

Opposite, through the trees, normally there is zero movement apart from the children playing football in the afternoons. That’s stopped but now families are waving to each other and people popping out onto their balconies from apartments that have looked empty for years!

The old school / new building is now peopled! During my live-streams on the construction I know I’ve been maligning the ‘poor people who would be living in the dank, dark apartments facing North’. Some people come on to their narrow balconies plus a couple of the lower levels behind the wall and, honestly, they look quite normal! We’re not waving yet, we’re nodding – come on I’m English, I can see their faces so this will be a drawn out process but this has leapfrogged past the reserve normally held by the French for anyone that isn’t family. Hopefully we have broken the ice.

Is your community thanking their Essential Workers? Do tell me what positive and perhaps unexpected outcomes you’ve found from this few weeks.

In the meantime, #StaySafe and keep washing your hands with liquid soap 😉


Lockdown – Part two

It’s blur-day every day in Paris. Even ‘our’ bakery is open 7 days a week now, rather than closed on Mondays, so I can’t ever work out where I am.

We heard on 7th April from the Prime Minister that our lockdown would ‘continue’ so we were braced for the official announcement that would be made by President Macron on 13th about this unprecedented and horrifying situation.

In a very moving speech, Macron was firm, humble, sympathetic, we got some concrete information, some hope, he said he was thankful for what had been achieved, but acknowledged the errors made in not being sufficiently prepared early on, however although the measures were making an impact, lockdown still needed to be extended until May 11th.

On the 11th there’ll be a gradual re-emergence from confinement, including the progressive re-opening of schools. There’ll be a plan in place, well in advance, so we know for who, when and how those changes will affect us, however he did say they would be adapted to the situation as it unfolds.

There’ll be a partial easing of restrictions for businesses from the 11th but restaurants, cafés, cinemas and hotels will open later. No sporting events and festivals will take place before mid-July (the Tour de France has just been postponed to 29th August) and the most fragile members of society won’t be running about outdoors any time soon.

By the 11th, and in order to tackle the virus, the entire population will have been provided with free, reusable masks which will become obligatory when outside. There’s a good, short article in English HERE, but if you want to test your French, here is his full speech so and so that you can check out if you are correct, this is his entire speech in English.

That’s the news so far and, as always, #StaySafe and keep washing your hands with liquid soap 🙂

If you want to read Part 1 on lockdown it’s HERE.


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.


Madness – The weather in Paris this winter

We have been having ‘a bit of weather in Paris this week’.
You may even have heard about it on the news!

Holidays News Special Offers

5th of 6000 so here is an August thank you offer

Yeh, I made it to number 5 this week!!    Being ranked 5th on Trip Advisor means being 5th of all +/- 6000 listings in the Vacation Rental section of Trip Advisor Paris.   Just type ‘Paris’ and then list by Traveller Reviews. No other filters needed :-).

I’m so happy I wanted to thank the people who made that happen, my gorgeous guests and all those who have at one time wanted to stay with me.

When I started I had no clue how important Trip Advisor was and even less clue how their algorithms worked.  My first review was a 5 out of 5 so I jumped into the Top 500 ish.    I remember I posted on Facebook just how happy I was to be ranked in the Top 100.

I was over the moon when I got into the Top 50 because that was technically page 1 of Trip Advisor !   That seems ages ago but as I only started in 2012 it can’t be !

Now the B&B has 126 reviews (of which only 9 are 4* peppered with ‘wonderful’ and ‘we will return’ statements).   The apartment is lagging behind in 9th position with only 107 reviews!

So how to celebrate or offer a thank you ?  Here comes the August Special Offer.  Well actually there are 2; an August Special Offer and an August ‘Special’, Special Offer !

AUGUST SPECIAL OFFER : For anyone who wants to come to Paris between now and the 5th September I am offering a 20% discount for a 4+ night stay in either the B&B or the Apartment.  Please share (those funny coloured buttons at the end) if you think your friends may be interested.

Temperatures on the balcony will be 80F/60F   or   26C/15C.   PERFECT.

August is my favourite month in Paris, the French are on holiday so the museums are open and quiet (except for the 15th August public holiday when a lot are closed but for those that are open PLEASE buy a museums pass), the shops are empty, most of the restaurants are open (just the mom and pop ones close) and the roads are EMPTY !

Come and see for yourselves.

The AUGUST ‘SPECIAL’ SPECIAL OFFER is only for my Gorgeous Guests who have already stayed at 52Clichy :

I want to go away for a short trip before September so if anyone wants to stay in the B&B or take both for up to 6 people, you can have the same Special Offer as above PLUS, although you won’t be getting my breakfasts, you will have the place to yourselves.

Just click the link to the B&B  or the Apartment on Trip Advisor and pop in your dates or click on the 52 Clichy website, choose where you want to stay and click on the big purple  “Check Availability”  button.

3rd August 2014 at the Place de Clichy
3rd August 2014 at the Place de Clichy

15th August 2015 at the Place de Clichy
15th August 2015 at the Place de Clichy

15th August 2015. These poor people didn't buy a Museum Pass so are queuing at Versailles !
15th August 2015. These poor people didn’t buy a Museum Pass so are queuing for an entrance ticket at Versailles !

Looking forward to seeing you or hearing from you soon,

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Want to hear what previous guests have said, CLICK HERE…