Note: I wrote this in October, 2020, but I got busy, never quite finished the post, and didn’t publish it. I’m publishing it now, from home in California, as I look back on those last months in Paris during the pandemic.
It’s hard to believe we are now in month nine of the pandemic. While Paris is quieter than usual, carousels are running, residential neighborhoods are bustling, and many restaurants are crowded (unfortunately) during lunch hour. Spots that are normally heavily touristed are much sparser now, but in the neighborhood where people live, like Batignolles and the 15th, streets are crowded, markets doing their usual brisk business.
Masked man at Eiffel Tower
Pont Alexandre III
The shops along Rivoli are shuttered or empty, and the high-end shops on Faubourg St. Honore are open but there are few customers, if any. Through the plate glass windows, beyond the elegant displays, you can see the guards and staff in their perfectly tailored suits standing and looking out at the street. It must be boring, all those hours without customers.
Because of our nine p.m. curfew, however, nights are frantic until the final moment. From 7 pm onward the metros are packed as workers rush home to beat the curfew. At nine, lights go on in apartment buildings and traffic disappears from the streets.
Here are a few photos of my walks around Paris in recent days.