We got back to Paris from Normandy on Monday evening. Normally, coming out of the tunnel and spotting my first grand boulevard filled with apartment buildings on a return to Paris (post-confinement or not) would excite me to no end. However, that was also the moment that I realized that I would soon be driving around the Place de l’Étoile for the first time – aka the circle around the Arc de Triomphe.
Luckily all of my roundabout (rond-point) practice in Normandy paid off and I navigated the Place de l’Étoile with ease, as it appears in the picture here. Kind of. Driving around it felt like this. Romain coached me the entire time.
After three trips up and down three flights of stairs, I dropped off all of my things (I brought back a couple of coolers filled with my favorites from Normandy – cheese and cream), squeezed a few limes to make a margarita, and went directly by the Seine. It was ridiculously windy so my outing didn’t last long.
On the walk back home I noticed what seemed like a lot of people not wearing masks and not really social distancing.
I’m still not ready to be fully “out and about” in Paris, but the next morning I did want to shop for groceries at my favorite Marché Raspail, which reopened for the first time following the end of confinement. On the way to the market, I stopped in Saint Pearl for my first non-capsule coffee in nine weeks. It was divine.
There were considerably fewer vendors and shoppers than I expected to see, but that’s probably a good thing given the circumstances.
If I had to guess, I’d say 90% of the people I saw were wearing masks. Each vendor had plastic barriers set up, and many also had hand sanitizer available. The prices were also considerably lower than normal. Rôtisserie chickens are usually 16€ at Marché Raspail but yesterday I paid 6.50€.
My favorite purchase of the day was peonies – a bouquet of 18 cost 12€. There are lots of tight buds that haven’t opened yet, but since I’ll be home a lot I can give them extra attention.
Afternoon Coffee Walk
After I ate lunch I walked to Café Kitsuné for a coffee. On the way, I walked by a completely empty Musée du Louvre. Seeing the Louvre without people was strange. There’s no other way to describe it.
It was just as strange seeing a closed Jardin du Palais-Royal. You can look through the gates and see the iconic green chairs and gorgeous roses blooming, but you can’t go in. Still, a glimpse is better than nothing.
I sat and drank my espresso on a bench in the empty Place André-Malraux, a place normally filled with people sitting and passing through. Again, I noticed most people wearing masks which was great.
However, later when I went for a run by the Seine, masks and social distancing weren’t the norm. Since I wasn’t in Paris during the confinement I don’t have anything to compare it to, but I hope the majority of people are taking the necessary precautions to keep us from going back into a full confinement.
So far my post-confinement return to Paris has felt pretty bizarre. It’s strange seeing so many cafés and restaurants closed, but even more so seeing so few people. Like anything, it’ll just take time to adjust to Paris post-confinement but pre-return to normal. Now more than ever I’m appreciative for our time in Normandy. Still, it’s always nice to be home!