En Terrasse and On the Streets
I returned to Paris from Nice yesterday on a train filled with passengers in every seat, wearing masks of course. The funny thing about this is that it was unusually quiet — it turns out that people wearing masks make a lot less noise than usual. Some people “cheat” and wear them under their noses, thinking they’re fooling us into thinking they are complying with the rules, but we know better. I got scolded at the station of taking mine off to drink a cup of coffee by a woman who had just done the same thing. You gotta love the French, their finger-pointing and rule-following, especially when it only applies to everyone else.
As of Monday, new deconfinement measures went into effect. Paris is now in the Green Zone, like Nice. Swimming pools, parks and gardens, libraries, cinemas, city halls, cemeteries, nurseries, schools and restaurants serving both inside and outside have reopened. This means we non-smokers can head inside to avoid the smoke on the terraces of cafés and restaurants. This was a downside to the restriction — we may not have been breathing in Covid-19, but we were taking in a lot of smoke. And that offers up another kind of danger and harm.
FYI, here’s a full list of everything now open in the capital city.<
Don’t get too excited. Still closed are concert halls, theaters and nightclubs, certain sports venues, multi-purpose halls and party rooms. Some museums are still closed, but Le Louvre is scheduled to reopen July 6th.
Allowing for public distancing is taking place all over town, including bicycle routes, pedestrian paths and parking lots. To make space for diners, the restaurants are now allowed by the City of Paris to move tables further out onto the sidewalks and even into what were parking spaces on the streets’ edges, moving the cars out to make room for their patrons. This leads to even more people being out and “en terrasse,” taking advantage of the warm summer air.
Mask-wearing on public transport remains mandatory and if caught without one, you might get slapped with a fine of €135. You have no excuses now that the city is providing cloth masks, washable and reusable twenty times, free of charge. Here’s where you get them.
When all this first began at the beginning of March, hand sanitizing gel was sparse. I got lucky and scored a liter bottle at the pharmacy just after their shipment arrived. It will clearly last a lifetime, now that a big bottle is available at the entry of every establishment for use both entering and leaving. You don’t even need to schlep a small container with you anymore, since you can stop just about anywhere for a squirt. The city has also set up nearly 2,000 distribution points for “hydroalcoholic” products (bet you didn’t know this word until now).
Arriving in Paris was a bit of a culture shock after the relaxed, casual atmosphere of the Côte d’Azur. The hustle-bustle, noise and crowded streets hit me in the face like blast of hot air. I took a crowded bus home and realized that life in Paris had gone not back, but forward to a kind of new normal. I had traded the ochre-colored architecture for “greige” (grey + beige) and the ding-ding of the tramway for polluted gridlock on the streets. The Seine was grayish again, too, but the azure blue of the Baie des Anges stuck in my mind, twinkling with the sunlight.
One of the first things I did was set up my new portable air-conditioning unit, piping it out the window, leaving the window ajar, but without damaging the glass. This is the first time in almost 23 years of living in this apartment that I’ve had air-conditioning and a cool apartment without all the windows open and the fans going full force. I hate the noise of the unit, I hate that it’s ugly and takes up so much space, but I have to admit, the cool air is delightful. Another bonus is because the windows are shut, it reduces the noise from the street, plus the dust and pollution coming in the windows. I may be a convert now after resisting it for so long. Much like all the years of telling myself I didn’t need a clothes dryer, when I finally installed one I wondered why I had suffered so long with stiff towels!
I know that a lot of you out there battling Covid-19 in the U.S. are clamoring to get to France. And I don’t blame you. Infections are still on the rise in the U.S. in 29 states, breaking their own daily records. The current administration is placing the blame on increased testing. Do we buy that? When compared to Europe’s ability to control the pandemic, it’s clear that even the first wave in the U.S. isn’t over. All the efforts to restore the economy are backfiring with no signs of weakening. Some officials are calling it a “forest fire.” The U.S. is the one country in the world which should have gotten it right, but hasn’t. This elicits a lot of emotions: concern, frustration, anger, shame…how could my country get it so wrong?
I’ve conducted several small Group Consultations the last couple of weeks under the title “Moving to France 101,” each with five individuals anxious to know how to leave all that behind. It’s the same story for each and every one of them — coming to France has always been something they’ve wanted to do and it kept putting it off. But now they can’t think of any reason to stay, other than they can’t get the flights or approval to enter the country…not just yet, anyway.
The France visa office isn’t quite open yet, but will soon resume its operations. So, watch closely, because you know they will be bombarded with applications! And if you think you’re ready to take the plunge into a richer, healthier lifestyle here in France, then maybe it’s time to schedule a consultation with me, too.
For more information, Contact us to learn more.
A la prochaine…
Adrian Leeds Group
P.S. The network, HGTV, happily announced that their new series “House Hunters International: The Adventure Continues” premiered yesterday, but our new episode will air June 30th!:
Season 130, Episode 3
“From Heartbroken to Happy in Nice”
John moved to Nice, France, after his bitter divorce and braved the unfamiliar with help from property consultant Adrian Leeds. Almost two years later, John and Adrian look back at the house hunt and show how not everything unfolded as planned.
Airing: Tuesday, June 30, 10:30 p.m. EDT/9:30 p.m. CDT and Wednesday, July 1, 1:30 a.m. EDT/12:30 CDT
Don’t miss it!