Friday, 8th May
France divided in two
So we are in the green. Just like in World War II, France has been divided in two, and we are on the good side: la partie soon-to-be “libérée”. Brings to mind the awful French translation of the “Frozen” theme song, a confinement version of which my kids made me watch this morning on YouTube (not worth copying in here, trust me).
The other part, the one in red, which includes the whole Paris region and the northeast, will be de-confined too, but with tighter restrictions. The main ones: parks and green spaces will remain closed. In and around Paris, public transport during rush hour will be exclusively for people who cannot work from home or for child care. Large commercial centres won’t re-open.
No cafes, restaurants… or beaches
All shops will reopen nationwide, but no bars, restaurants or cafes. And sadly, no museums, cinemas etc. Nor will beaches. No gatherings of more than 10 people. The situation will be reassessed in three weeks’ time. My father, whom I just spoke to on the phone and who lives in Sète on the Mediterranean coast, reckons the “préfet” might be able to get the beaches opened earlier – the local industry relies massively on tourism.
Talking of which, the French will very probably be taking their holidays at home this year. Many people won’t be able to afford to travel anyway! We were planning to visit my family in Denmark, but that will probably have to wait. For now, France’s borders remain closed until the 15th of June.
We won’t be able to go and visit my father yet as one of the restrictions of this “progressive” deconfinement is no travel beyond 100 kilometres from your home (as the crow flies). Patience. We are the lucky ones. My belle-maman, who lives in Paris, feels trapped. She goes out for a one-hour walk nearly daily but says the palaver is exhausting: she disinfects everything including the clothes she wears and boils her face-mask each time. I pray to the God I don’t believe in that a solution is found soon so that she can see her grandchildren again soon. She really misses them.
We don’t disinfect. We go out for much longer than an hour, and just leave our shoes on the doorstep when we get home. We avoid crowds but we go for cycle trips or big walks up and down the Croix Rousse steps to try and get some exercise. Today, I took the kids on a big walk as my youngest was being very difficult. Two months of living on top of each other 24/7 can sometimes be challenging. He pushes to the limit and I snap. But there are upsides, too. I get to know my kids even better, I get to tackle issues that might have remained dormant had this not happened. The earlier the better. I get to marvel over their ability, time and time again, at squeezing the abscess of this absurd situation and finding the fun in things big and small. And I get to know my limits, and let them know – not always diplomatically, but nobody is perfect.
As I sit writing, I can hear our downstairs neighbours who have self-deconfined and are having a party. There is a lot of singing and laughing going on. I can’t blame them. My friends and I are looking forward to doing the same. There might be some sore heads next week! Two more days to go…
And here is a song worth sharing that dates back to the start of the lockdown: