Back in Paris; Stuck at Home; Zoominar with Us!
While President Emmanuel Macron was delivering his speech Wednesday night with the news of the new confinement, I got online to SNCF and booked my return train to Paris for Saturday, a few days earlier than planned. The taping for another House Hunters International episode scheduled for this past weekend was cancelled because the “contributor” (the client) tested positive for Covid-19—although she was feeling fine—so I stretched my stay in Nice, only to change it again. In the end, I had changed train tickets four times, but thanks to my SNCF Senior Discount Card, it was all fast, easy and free.
Starting Friday, we went back into lockdown—a bit modified from the one in the spring—but for four weeks, to end no earlier than December 1st. According to the new rules, we may only leave our homes if we’re commuting to and from work (at least we can do that!), school or training, or for unchangeable or important medical appointments. Assisting others more vulnerable or taking care of children is also allowable. Judicial reasons rank up there as does our participation in a mission upon request from an authority. We may also, thank goodness, walk our pets (!), although I don’t have one.
We must take an attestation with us and if we don’t have it, we risk a fine of 135€. Other restrictions include a limit on groups of more than six people in public places. No parties are allowed in public community halls. Venues may not host more than 5,000 people and spacing rules must be observed. Masks are obligatory in almost all cities, even outside. Schools will remain open, but the kids must wear masks if over the age of six. Non-essential shops and venues (bars and restaurants) are closed, unless offering take-out and groceries, supermarkets, pharmacies, “tabacs” (tobacco sellers), as well as petrol stations and other essential stores will remain open.
Traveling between different parts of France is forbidden, but fortunately for me, they were tolerating returning from “holiday” this past week-end. Although, no one asked for an attestation when I boarded the train. European borders will remain open, but external borders are closed except for essential travel. All travelers must be tested at airports and ports. Masks must be worn at all times on public transport.
If you’re still clamoring to enter France, even during confinement, here are the rules for that.
And for all this information and more, in English, visit the government’s website.
Thursday, Nice had more than the shock of the new confinement. That morning, three people were killed by a man wielding a knife at the Notre-Dame de l’Assomption Basilica, just a short walk from my apartment in central Nice. It wasn’t a pretty picture, with a 60-year old woman nearly decapitated. The assailant was a young Tunisian man who had arrived in France just about a month ago. As the police arrested him, he yelled “Allahu akbar,” meaning “God is greater.” (The phrase has its origins in Iraq during the Gulf War of 1991 when Saddam Hussein decided to add the words to Iraq’s flag.)
My first thoughts were: “At least it wasn’t a semi-automatic weapon gunning down every human in sight,” like you have in the U.S. In fact, my sister texted me, “I hope you will stay safe. All of the shooting news from France is sad and terrifying,” automatically thinking the attack involved guns. The immediate assumption is understandable.
French President Emmanuel Macron wasn’t happy, either. He’s on a serious mission to battle radicalism and challenges to the nation’s secular ideals. “Laïcité,” or “secularism,” is the foundation of France’s nationalistic ideals—the principle of separation of religion and state. This and the other recent attacks, including one in Avignon on the same day, again with a knife-wielding man threatening passersby, has him on a rampage. Can’t say I blame him.
Macron came to Nice within a couple hours of the attack and held a press conference. “If we are attacked once more it is because of the values that are ours,” he said, including freedom of worship and freedom of expression. “We will not yield anything.”
Macron’s tough line response is being criticized by those on the left and is creating revolt from Islamists, but his government holds strong to their principles. He’s fighting fire with fire, but we all know putting out a fire takes water, not more fire. So to me, this all means we’re in for more attacks in the future.
On the first day of the confinement, I took advantage of the beautiful weather in Nice to visit the site of the church where the attack took place to see what was going on. The press were stationed in a circle facing the front of the church with their video cameras on tripods. Flowers and wreaths were being laid on the steps and in other spots nearby. I pass this church often, as it is situated on avenue Jean Médecin, a main shopping street where the Tram #1 passes on route to the train station. Our Notaire’s office is just down the street as is the Darty store I frequent for appliances—although I’d never been in the church myself.
I must admit, the scene brought tears to my eyes. One of the victims was named “Simone,” like my daughter’s middle name, adding to my emotional outburst. That could have happened to her or just anyone in the wrong place at the wrong time.
After snapping a few photos, I strolled down to the Promenade des Anglais. The vast strip of walkway along the edge of the Baie des Anges was almost completely void of human life…a very strange sight and a feeling of being in a kind of ghost town to have the Mediterranean all to myself. The water was unusually calm, blue as ever, and there were no planes flying overhead, which under normal circumstances is quite frequent. There was one lone person swimming and it was almost warm enough to look inviting. Nostalgia washed over me sitting there in the classic “chaise bleue” watching the beautiful aqua sea bordered by the classic Niçois architecture, realizing I was leaving the next day for an indefinite amount of time. I had planned to return in about two weeks in time for Thanksgiving, but now that’s not looking probable.
The reality of confinement struck hard as the taxi passed Café Charlot Saturday night, all shut up with its chairs stacked up against the windows. There was virtually no traffic on the streets as we whizzed home in record time from the Gare de Lyon. Sunday, not a peep could be heard on the street, not even the usual musicians who are out blowing their horns hoping people will drop coins from their windows. It was unusually warm, but typically gray. The only outing I made was to head to the supermarket to stock up on food since I’m now back to eating at home. There was literally nothing in the fridge except for some old eggs and an open bottle of rosé wine.
At least this time around I know what I’m in for. I know exactly what the routine will be to stay healthy and sane for the next four weeks. I’ll work more, I’ll lose weight, I’ll watch more TV and I’ll be less stressed. Perhaps I’ll even be a little depressed (although that’s pretty rare for me). With the elections coming up TOMORROW (!), pre-election news coverage airs in the background. If it’s as close a race as it was in 2016, I may stay up all night watching it, like I did then, only to end up shocked and dismayed by the outcome. This time around, it won’t be shock should Americans re-elect Donald Trump. It will be grief from having lost the country I once called my own.
One thing for sure, we’ll be busier than ever helping Americans move to France if we can’t change the direction American will be taking. And we’ll be participating in a whole lot of Zoominars from which we can learn how to do it and more, all while sitting in the comfort of our own homes.
Here’s a list of what’s in store for you, in order by dates:
FREE ELECTION NIGHT WEBINAR BY DUNHILL FINANCIAL
NOVEMBER 3, 2020
In the past Dunhill Financial has had the chance to celebrate American democracy with great big events in Brussels and throughout Europe. They won’t let lockdowns or the coronavirus stop this as they take the celebrations online. Join Dunhill Financial on Tuesday, November 3rd for an evening of education, information and celebration of the great American democracy.
The event will include several speakers regarding relations between the United States and Europe, debates between Democrats and Republicans and discussions on the difference between the economic and tax plans of each of the candidates.
This is a bipartisan event and will be a wonderful opportunity for you to learn more about America all the while celebrating this historic evening.
November 3, 2020, 6 p.m. Brussels/Paris time (CET)
Registration is required. Click here
Note: Coming soon: Free North American Expats in France Quarterly Financial Forums on Zoom…beginning in January 2021. Stay tuned for more information!
ESCAPE TO FRANCE—IT’S EASIER THAN YOU THINK
A ONE-AND-A HALF HOUR ZOOM WEBINAR SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7TH, 2020
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Pacific/1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. France
This is a prelude to the upcoming Living and Investing in France Nice-Provence-Occitanie Conference and Tour, in September of 2021.
Hosted by Opportunity Travel and the Adrian Leeds Group. Pay just $29 for the webinar and get a bonus discount of $200 OFF the 2021 conference and/or tour!
Featuring French Property Expert…me, Adrian Leeds
Here’s your chance to learn how to escape to France. Take just 1.5 hours of your time to Zoom into a prelude of what’s to come in next year’s Living and Investing in France Conference September 26 to 29 in Nice, France followed by a Tour to Provence and the Occitanie September 30 to October 4, 2021.
I will teach you how easy it can be to make your dream come true…to have the right to live in France and to find an apartment to rent or a home to buy anywhere in France your heart desires. I will walk you through the process of first getting a visa, to determining where in France you want to live, to finding the perfect home…and then open the forum to your questions. If you’ve had even a glimmer of an idea to enrich your life with a move to France, this is your opportunity to discover how.
Plus, there’s a bonus discount! When you register for the Webinar at just $29, you will be entitled to take $200 OFF your September 2021 conference and/or tour registration!
November 7, 2020, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Pacific/1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. France
ACA AND AA FREE TAX WEBINAR
NOVEMBER 12, 2020
Living outside of the U.S. and want to learn more about your U.S. tax obligations? The ACA (American Citizens Abroad) is co-hosting a free webinar in conjunction with Americans Overseas on Thursday, November 12th at 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Easter time, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. GMT and 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. France time.
This free webinar offers tips on your U.S. tax filing obligation, the $1,200 CARES Act check, and the latest developments in Washington. Marylouise Serrato, ACA Executive Director, will fill in you in on the latest political developments on the efforts for change to the U.S. taxation rules in Washington. Michael Littaur from Americans Overseas will share information and tips on getting your U.S. tax filing obligation done and receiving the $1,200 CARES Act check. The webinar is followed by a live 30-minute Q and A where you will have the opportunity to ask away. Entry is free; space is limited. Registration required. Click here
Be sure to check ACA’s Events page for other upcoming and recent events.
BLOOM WHERE YOU’RE PLANTED ZOOMINAR THIS YEAR!
NOVEMBER 14, 2020
Bloom Where You’re Planted is an orientation seminar to help expats from around the world live and thrive in Paris, or anywhere in France, and is designed to create opportunities for meaningful connections with others and provide valuable insights. This year, they’re going virtual, so you can attend from wherever you are! I’m speaking there like I do every year.
Livestream November 14th, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern time, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Paris time
If you’re planning on—or even thinking about—creating a new life in France, this is your chance to learn how to make the most of your new life:
- Finding your perfect home (that’s my presentation!)
- Understanding immigration, taxes
- Acclimating to the culture and lifestyle
- Navigating French bureaucracy
- Schooling your kids in France during Covid-19
- Starting a business, career opportunities
- Creating community, and more!
Special Fee Includes:
- Over 4 hours of expert workshops and presentations
- Ability to stream live or watch whenever you want
- Speaker articles, materials and workshop “cheat sheets”
PLUS: An extensive Virtual Exhibit will connect you with organizations offering opportunities and services for the expat community. For updated information on the 2020 Bloom Where You’re Planted program, please go to their website.
Disclaimer: All the sessions of the Bloom Where You’re Planted event will be recorded. Payment and participation constitutes your agreement to be included in recordings, which will be posted on the internet for an amount of time to be determined by the Bloom Where You’re Planted organizers. You will have the option to turn off your camera/mute your voice, but you will only be able to monitor workshops, and would not be able to actively participate in discussions. Photos and recordings of the events and participants will be used without further notification for publicity, within the following printed materials: brochures, newsletters, marketing material, social media, and the Bloom/ACP Website.
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group®
(all alone on the Promenade des Anglais)
P.S. If you missed them the first time around or just want to enjoy them again, HGTV has videos of three of my House Hunters International episodes available on their website:
They may not last long, so don’t miss your chance to see them again!