Here we are already, in full post-confinement. March 19th we were faced with a situation that seemed so massive, and it is, and we had no idea when it would end. Part of me really hoped and believed that the confinement would last a mere month… My hope was due in large part to my pending voyage back to my home town which was scheduled for late May. Well, that didn’t happen.
Air France was kind enough to give me a voucher for my tickets. Tickets that were purchased as non refundable non exchangeable (and it was written in fine print, that an epidemic did not count as a situation where I could benefit from any type of reimbursement). So I must applaud Air France’s generosity in my regard. I realise though that not everyone is satisfied with the solutions proposed to them, but I certainly am.
But, back to the subject announced in the title… Parisians have been aching to go sit in a park, and sit at a cafe terrace. The weather has been so cruelly beautiful. The only place people have been able to have some semblance of social presence is on the river banks, on pedestrian streets, we have even resorted to sitting on cement blocks on street corners as if waiting for some kind of spectacle de rue to begin, or to having pavement picnics as I like to call it.
Enfin, finally! Parks opened in Paris on May 30th. For Parisians who have spent 2 months cooped up in their apartments and are at a lack of greenery, this is like a cool glass of water on a hot day. It reminds me of a book I read as a child called « The Search for Delicious » about a town under siege and dealing with internal strife and had their source of water blocked. But I digress again.
Deconfinemnt and the Parisian cafes is a story of longing. To stay alive, many cafés and restaurants have been offering food (and drinks) to-go. And with the start of deconfinemnt we have been able to circulate freely without an attestation, without fear of getting a fine, but also without much to do and without café terraces. (Some café doors have even started collecting cobwebs on their doors)! Bébé Chéri has just about had it with riding his scooter around the neighboring streets. Cafés and parks are so much part of Parisian life that living without them for 2 months has been hard on the Parisian moral. Especially those of us who weren’t able to escape to a countryside home.
And here it is at the end of May, the announcement of parks reopening and cafés terraces investing the streets of Paris. After two months of confinement, Paris may well become one giant street café. The Mayor has announced that she will pedestrianize certain streets so that cafés may expand their terrace areas so that they can welcome clients with all the distancing measures required and still make it worth their while to open. I hope the Champs Elysees will become pedestrian! Wouldn’t that be gorgeous!
And Park Monceau, oh the grass! oh the massive trees! oh the still inaccessible merry-go-round… Well nothing is perfect. We do have the merry-go-round at place de Villiers that is open, much to our delight!
It’s funny how such simple things like cafes and parks take on a new found importance when you are deprived of them. But let’s all remember to be safe, wear masks in these public and populated spaces, keep our hands clean so we can continue to enjoy these privileges all summer.
Bon deconfinement à vous tous!
UPDATE 31/05/2020 The carousel at Park Monceau is open!