I returned to Paris last month while France was still under quarantine. From the beginning, it felt like I had stepped into a post-apocalyptic world.
Under normal circumstances, every seat on the plane would've been taken, but these are not normal times. I had the entire row to myself and there was no trouble finding overhead space for my carry on.
At the airport, Charles de Gaulle, there are trains on the lower level that take passengers into the center of the city. Not one person was to be found.
Patrick with my suitcases in one of the almost empty halls. Only the Vigipirates were there to check that 'everyone' was wearing a mask.
In the evening Patrick and I drove around Paris, a warm summer evening normally bustling with life – there was none. We passed the Eiffel Tower lit with no one to admire her but myself.
We drove toward the Louvre; the Seine was as quiet as the boulevards. No Bateaux-Mouches filled with tourists, no flashing lights from cameras or cellphones capturing a moment in time. At the Pont des Arts, I watched a young couple admiring the view of the Île de la Cité while another couple strolled toward the Left Bank. Four people on the walking bridge where crowds of people would normally be.The cafés were dark, the quays and the boulevards empty. Seeing Paris this way was more than a shock, this was Paris after all. It was almost summertime and the Coronavirus had done what sub-zero temperatures and snow covered grounds in the midst of winter could never do – stop Parisians from going to the theater, the cinéma, strolling the streets, or meeting friends in cafés and restaurants.We arrived at the Place de la Concorde. Never had I seen this place empty of cars and people, but there wasn't a single car or person in sight. I had the strangest feeling I had stepped into the Twilight Zone. On the Champs-Élysées, two people on electric foot scooters made their way down the large avenue with only a small amount of traffic as we headed toward the Arc de Triomphe. I told Patrick, let's go home. I had seen enough for one day.
Thank goodness Paris has slowly opened up once again and life has come back to the city. Every person on the bus had a mask on. Seating is staggered unless you're with someone.
This was the view outside from the back of the bus
It's a different story near the Pompidou Center and other touristy spots. Many people wear a mask, many don't.
But, at least, life has returned to Paris. (Saint-Eustache church near Les Halles.)
And the cafés and terraces are coming to life once again.