I wanted to have a record of how we got from thinking we’d probably still be able to take our holiday to Italy at Easter, to being in lockdown mode. Everything seemed to happen so fast and the days have blurred a bit, but this is an overview of what happened in Paris in March 2020.
24 February 2020
We return to school with the news that some people would be self-isolating due to travelling to China, Singapore, Japan and Italy over ski break.
24 February – 11 March 2020
Some events are cancelled. We stop greeting each other with kisses and handshakes. Talk of the coronavirus increases. Hand gel and masks start running out. On the whole, though life continues as normal, friends meet for coffee, the restaurants are full and the metro is as packed as always.
12 March 2020
President Macron makes a televised speech to the Nation at 8 pm. He announces that all schools, nurseries and creches will be closed, as of Monday. The municipal elections will go ahead, people are encouraged to bring their own pen.
My son’s school had a PD day on the Friday, so we won’t return to school until this over. There was no chance to say goodbye to friends, but everyone knows that this was the right decision.
14 March 2020
All cafes, restaurants and no essential shops are closed as of midnight.
My mother in law, who is visiting, decides to cut her trip short and changes her journey to Sunday.
17 March 2020
President Macron makes another televised address to the nation and lockdown begins. All parks and outdoor spaces are closed. We are only allowed to leave the house to shop for food, health care reasons, to walk dogs, or for personal, solo exercise. We must not meet in groups. When we leave the house we must carry ID and a printed accreditation stating our address and why we are outside.
President Macron ended his address with Viva la Republic, Viva la France and I felt my eyes well up. Several times in his speech he mentioned we are war, with an unseen enemy, and it certainly feels that way.
18 March 2020
My neighbourhood is eerily quiet, when I wake up I can hear bird song, not traffic. There are queues outside Monoprix, only one person at a time is allowed into the boulangerie, parks and cafes are closed.
A bright spot is the beginning of the nightly clapping. At 8 pm we gather on out balconies to applaud the healthcare workers and all the other essential workers who are keeping society functioning, while we try to stop the virus spreading. They are true heroes. The clapping is a lovely community moment, which has been continuing and growing each night.
(see my Instagram for a video of the nightly clapping)