I once had an experience that I would call the thrill of the familiar. When we first moved to Paris, every day was exhilarating. I would be bouncing slightly while waiting to cross the street out of sheer excitement to be finally living here. Then about six months later, I was on my way home after meeting a friend near Notre Dame, just walking back thinking about stuff and things, like what Mark would be making for dinner, when it hit me that I had become habituated to my favorite city in the world. And then I got excited all over again that I had the luxury to become somewhat immune to it. Paris was simply present. I had no departure date; there was no sense of having to soak up every precious second. I could spare a moment to think about the mundane. Now we’re back in Paris after a year, and it’s a combination of thrill of the new and thrill of the familiar, plus the strange sensation of having dreamt this past year away in Montpellier.
Paris is half-empty, much as it was last summer. Lovely for walking around or for getting the best spot in Luxembourg Garden, but distressing for businesses. We’re especially concerned about the fate of restaurants here. Some have adapted to carryout, others are simply closed due to Covid restrictions. We’re doing our part by ordering take away from local favorites and some new-to-us places. This is a sword I am happy to fall on, for the greater good of course. Between galleries, the living museum that is the streets of Paris, and helping keep traditional bistros in business by lunching daily, we’re getting a long overdue dose of Paris culture.
Since you all have been asking how things are here, here’s the skinny. (Long story short US friends, you won’t be coming to France anytime soon.) France’s Covid restrictions have us under a curfew from 6pm to 6am. Travel within France is not limited, but some areas are newly under confinement on the weekends and possibly more regions will be added in the weeks to come. Yes, Paris is on that next-shoe-to-drop list. Restaurants, theaters, large stores, gyms, and museums are all closed. Parks are open, yay. Tourists are almost completely lacking, but then it is February. Borders are open within the EU, but now those travelers have to produce a negative Covid test. For travelers from outside of the EU (with the exception of those exceptional countries that have managed the crisis well), the borders are still closed. What is new is that should we, as American citizens and French residents, need to leave the country, we would not be allowed back in without an imperative reason. Just wanting to come back home to France is not considered imperative, even if you really, really, really want to. Not that we have plans to leave, I have no desire to travel internationally until we’re vaccinated, but it was still a surprise and a bit unsettling to find this out. Speaking of vaccines, the roll-out here has been very, very slow. All we’re hearing about is supply constraints and delays.
It”s marvelous to be back despite it all.
Parisians are largely mask-compliant. I have yet to see a single nose on a bus, metro or train, but clearly some feel there is still work to be done on that front.
You cats keep on keeping on, and hopefully we’ll all be on the other side of this soon.