Life Under Lockdown in Southern France

BREAKING NEWS: We found TP (toilet paper for those not familiar with this American acronym)

I had thought it was only Americans who hoarded this now-craved commodity. However, last week on our first authorized shopping outing to a nearby mini supermarket, none to be had. We had just 1 ½ rolls left. The store had no paper towels nor paper napkins, either – just in case one wanted to improvise. Merde! This was serious.IMG_7550

Eureka. Yesterday we disobeyed rules and went to a larger supermarket, not within our authorized roaming territory. The treasure was found. Two shelves and more loaded down with the precious product. I did not want to be greedy, but I did put two packages in my cart (one of 6 rolls and one of 12). I also took advantage of the supplies of paper towels and paper napkins….just in case this lockdown drags on and on.

We were doubly lucky. Fortunately we encountered no police control. Otherwise we would likely have been sent back to our neighborhood to shop. No doubt that mini supermarket has supplies now, but it is small. Last week it was a hotbed of contagion. Too many shoppers. Too little space. People wearing masks and gloves but much too close to one another. I was a nervous wreck.

IMG_7548There was crowd control at the store yesterday, so I could shop without popping a Xanax. We waited in a long line for almost a half hour before being allowed in. Not many shoppers wore masks, including us. There are’t enough for medical personnel, much less ordinary folk. Pharmacies are also out of hand sanitizer.

Today (March 24) is day #11 for us, but, following recommendations for our age group (old), we began with self-quarantine three days before the national lockdown. Those first few days we enjoyed a walk along the Med, coffee on the terrace of an outdoor cafe, people and seagull watching along the beach promenade. Of course, we made sure not to get close to anyone.

Our favorite coastal walk is now off limits.

Those were the days. Now all shops and restaurants are closed. We are only permitted to leave our abode for one of five reasons: travel to work; travel to purchase necessities (grocery stores and pharmacies are open); travel for health reasons (doctor); travel for serious family reasons, to assist the elderly, care for children, and finally, for brief periods of physical activity near your home. We must fill out a form with name, address and birth date, then check one of the above. The form must be with us when we leave our nest. If you do not have it with you, or are out of bounds according to the restrictions, you can be fined (135 euros/$147).

No problem with social distancing on this neighborhood path.

The restrictions are getting tighter. This morning I learned that outdoor physical activity is now limited to within a one kilometer radius of your home, and only once per day. Outdoor fruit and vegetable markets, which had been permitted to stay open, are now closed, too

We have been taking short walks almost daily. Our neighborhood is one of huge

The neighborhood park is closed.

mansions at the ritzy end and apartment buildings like ours at the other end. No problem with social distancing. We always see a few joggers, one or two dog walkers, and two or three folks out for a stroll like us. Those beautiful and soothing beach walks are out –more than one kilometer away. Not a big deal since the beach promenade is closed, as is our lovely neighborhood park.

We have the exercise bike. I can pedal and listen to Italian lessons. Who knows when my Italian and exercise classes will resume? We have learned that the lockdown will not end after two weeks. My friend Karen, a passionate dancer, can no longer attend dances . For exercise she is jumping instead. She ordered a type of trampoline for her large terrace/balcony.

Karen’s rebounder.

Karen is also cleaning cabinets, closets, drawers – a worthwhile endeavor. It’s on my list. I must get motivated.

Since I like to cook, I had decided this was a time to try many of those recipes I had stashed away. Some are labor intensive. Alas, now I have time. Unfortunately, last week’s undertakings were underwhelming. Perhaps best to switch tracks, which is what friend Betty suggested on Facebook:

“Maybe in this stressful time you should cook favorite or comfort meals and save experimentation to when disappointment won’t be magnified. That said, I never had an underwhelming meal in your home!” Thank you Betty.

A candlelight dinner on the first evening of lockdown.  We were not thrilled with  The Washington Post recipe,”Fragrant pesto broth gives this flaky white fish rustic elegance,” The only elegance we found was the candles.

So, back to my tried and true recipes (I have many). Check under the Recipe column, upper right, for some favorites. Last night I resurrected this one: Chicken, Red Pepper, and Green Bean Stir Fry.  Good and easy. See Today’s Taste.

I have to get my mind off this virus crisis and get back to Awesome Oman. I have more to write. Coming Soon.

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Comments welcome. Share your thoughts. Tell us about your lockdown experiences. Scroll down and click on “Make a Comment.”


We are in this together. We will overcome.

Below some photos of our neighborhood:

Our street.  Not our house.
Our building.  Our apartment is on the fourth floor, right corner behind the tree.  We have a balcony on the other side with a gorgeous view of the Med which is very therapeutic.
View of Alps Maritimes from a walk.


30 thoughts on “Life Under Lockdown in Southern France”

  1. Believe it or not, we still have some states here that have not issued stay at home order, and that idiot who is supposed to be running the country does more harm than good every time he opens his mouth.
    What’s really sad (and incomprehensible) is the number of Americans who still support him.
    I’ve stopped watching the news. Too depressing. Newspapers are my source for information.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. The situation in the US is dreadful and made only worse by the leader who refuses to wear a mask, gives false hope promoting untested and possibly dangerous drugs, and now wants to fault the WHO and hold back funding. It is hard to believe that so many still support him. ….Newspapers are good. They must survive.


  2. Leah, appreciate the update. Lisa is taking my temperature twice a day. I am enjoying teleworking everyday as it gives me an extra 10 hours a week to do yard work. But, the shutdown is devastating to businesses. I ‘m glad Lisa doesn’t have her sandwich shop anymore. The last ten weeks of Remy’s sophomore year will be spent viewing lessons online. Bummer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your news. It is tough in so many ways. I am glad to know you can work from home, and that Lisa is not in contact with customers in a sandwich shop. No doubt learning via the internet is not so exciting, but at least Remy is safe. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but the tunnel is long. Stay strong and safe.


  3. Great commentary, Leah. I am the dancer turned jumper. I don’t understand the TP rush either, as I would rather have sufficient food in my apartment. As we are neighbors (kind of) both living on the Cote d’Azur near Italy, we can share experiences and news. In fact, you are one of my main news sources! It is great than we are able to share our concerns and insights almost daily. I love all your blogs, and now, more than ever, we are all armchair travelers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Grazie Mille, Kdance, for those wonderful words. I am glad you are not so far away. You are such a kind and caring soulmate. I look forward to sharing more adventures when this is over — excursions to beloved Italy, and maybe even our trip to Georgia. We can hope.


  4. Hi Leah.
    Sheltering-in-place here (Davis, Ca) is not particularly onerous. The affluence of the community has provided many miles of walking (greenway) paths. Esther paints. I do gardening and attack 25 years of 2-Do lists. The limitations imposed by governments are similar to yours, but no measured quarantine zone has been stated.
    I do sense the prospect of “cabin fever” setting in, because there is no end-date to what is imposed on us. Do we plan to carry on for 2, 4, 8 months? A year? The media needs to pivot from sensationalism to hopefulness to give the public a sense of something other than despair. We should somehow put some constraints on the free-wheeling 24/7 media coverage of events.
    My recommendation: personalize the message. A time line created by professionals, and not pandering politicians, of what to expect personally for different age cohorts and states of health would give us all a better idea of “risk.” Risk now is an ill-defined term provided as a general rationalization for action. What are the specific actions to be taken to protect and treat any and all segments of the public? What are the rules of triage? What are the effects of scarcity or lack of equipment and how it would impact me? Certainty, of good and bad conditions would be better than what we have now.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I hope you are right about flattening that curve. Restrictions only get tighter in France where national lockdown has been in place since March 17.


    1. Reply to Bill from Ca. (above) It’s tough for all. Yesterday the lockdown in France was extended to April 28. Certainty would be great, but this is a new, novel virus. So much is still unknown. We do know staying at home and social distancing can slow the spread. So, we hunker down. Good to know you have lots of nice places for walks. Happy waking and gardening.


  5. Glad that you and Bob are safe and living in a beautiful area with a gorgeous view of it. And that you have enriching activities to get through this. Bonne Continuation!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stay at home and safe in Portugal. Enjoy your dogs and those escapades to the lagoon. Yes, we are lucky to be in a beautiful area which we now appreciate more than ever.


  6. Thanks for your update on life in France under lockdown. How so much of our lives have changed within a week. Things we all took for granted put on hold. Stay safe and healthy. The view from the balcony should lift your sprits.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We should all be reading Tom brokaw’s book Greatest generation; That’s when we did what was necessary to survive a worldwide “pandemic “ known as WW2 !! I refuse to be stampeded into the ridiculous efforts authorized by our pathetic governments (worldwide). Use common sense, act like the intelligent,grownups most of us are. After serving in Vietnam,this is ,to me,a bizarre way to act.As a retired doctor, I’ve seen one helluva lot worse in the 40 years I practiced.Enough!! Buy TP eat it ( or whatever hoarders are doing).What a sad chapter in all our lives! Got to get going on the new book I’m writing “ THE PATHETIC GENERATION “ Bisous Leah

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dr. Wayne, I do not agree with you, but you are entitled to your opinion of course. Listen to the experts, scientists. This is a very different kind of pandemic, calling for different measures. I want to stay alive and healthy. Good luck with the book. I will buy it.


  8. Hard to believe the French are as crazy as we appear to be in hoarding TP – maybe the hoarding gene is contagious as well? We can still walk here but I’m stunned by the control paper you have to carry with you. There was talk (perhaps a trial balloon?) of calling out the National Guard but haven’t heard anything since. Meanwhile we work at home and I was able to inventory my wine cellar – and pull out some surprises. Take care! George


    1. The TP saga is puzzling. A friend suggested it would be a good topic for a PhD dissertation. Restrictions get even tighter here. They have changed the form for outings. You now must add the time you leave your home since you are only permitted to be outside for one hour. Hope you found some rare wine treasures to help you through these difficult times.


  9. Thanks for your message. Things are about the same here in Denver. The headline this morning is “Denver gives stay-at home order. Liquor stores were stormed yesterday when people thought they would be forced to close. The city then decided the stores were essential.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I like to cook, too, and have been trying recipes during our sel-quarantine. I had good luck with Whipped Shortbread cookies … they are heavenly. Recipe on What a gorgeous view of the Alps.

    Liked by 1 person

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