France: Lockdown #2

Happy Black Friday. Sadly it is blacker than ever in the U.S. as recent newspaper headlines testify:

“As Americans gather for Thanksgiving, the world watches with dread and disbelief.”

“Coronavirus deaths reach levels unseen since early in the pandemic”

“Coronavirus cases skyrocketing again in cities.”

Millions have thrown caution to the wind, ignored the CDC guidelines, and traveled to celebrate with friends and family. These gatherings are termed “super spreader events.” The prediction is grim. “Celebrate at Thanksgiving. Christmas in the ICU.” Fortunately many are behaving sensibly, not traveling, foregoing large gatherings.

As an American in France where restrictions are respected and followed for the most part, and the numbers seem to be going down, I have to wonder about Americans. How can they be so stupid? Of course, in part it’s due to the politicization of the pandemic which is inexcusable. Trump has made light of the crisis. It’s not macho to wear a mask. Instead of leading, he plays golf and thousands die each day. From the beginning, there has been no national plan to combat the spread of the disease. It is scandalous, shameful, tragic, and too many have been sacrificed due to this neglect and ineptitude. This from the most powerful, richest country on the globe. — all beyond belief.

Bob and Thomas play checkers — at home entertainment during lockdown.

Life under Lockdown is no picnic in France, but I’d rather be here where the situation is slowly improving than in US where it is out of control, where hospitals are running out of beds and exhausted health care workers complain of shortages of essential equipment.

In France, we have been under partial lockdown since October 30. This has not been as strict as lockdown #1 last winter and spring. Schools, for example, have stayed open. Nonetheless, life has been far from normal. Tuesday evening President Emanuel Macron announced that France has passed the peak of the second wave. A three phase loosening of restrictions begins this weekend. After the last lockdown abruptly ended, all returned to normal too quickly, it appears. The virus slowly returned with a vengeance. Thus, this time, a long and progressive relaxation of restrictions will be put in place.

Wear a mask, warns the sign along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice.

Until now, only food stores, pharmacies and a few other businesses considered “essential” have been open. Just in time for Christmas shopping, other stores will open Saturday as part of phase 1 and be permitted to stay open until 9 p.m. and on Sundays, both unheard of in France where most all stores are closed on Sunday and shut down by 6 or 7 p.m. Just as in lockdown #1, outdoor exercise, walks, have been limited to one hour per day and within a one kilometer distance from your residence. However now we will have freedom to venture up to 20 kilometers from home and be out for up to three hours – but not after the 9 p.m. curfew.

Wine stores have remained open. After all, in France wine is essential.

Just as during lockdown #1, we must fill out the “attestation” whenever we leave home – a document with name, address, birthdate, time of departure and a check next to one of the permitted activities/reasons for the departure (food shopping, doctor visits, exercise, plus a few others). If you are caught without the authorization or disobeying the rules, you can be fined 135 euros. 

Excercise on the beach –this time it is permitted.

We were diligently obedient during the previous lockdown and stayed very close to our apartment when out. This time we have taken liberties. The parks and beaches, which were closed last time, have stayed open. I love the beach, although it is a bit farther away than one kilometer. I still swim, my therapy. Yes, it’s cold and getting colder, but it is exhilarating. Bob often walks while I swim. 

Very few swimmers brave the chilly waters.

If all is well and the numbers continue to go down, Phase 2 begins on Dec. 15. Travel throughout France will be permitted. Cinemas, theaters and museums will reopen. The 9 p.m curfew will still be enforced, with the exception of Dec. 24 and 31. Ski resorts will not reopen for the holidays.

Restaurants and bars will have to wait until Jan. 20 to reopen – Phase 3. This is devastating for the struggling industry. 

Outdoor markets have stayed open…my joy.

Take-outs have never been popular in France, with the exception of pizza. That has changed. To survive, many restaurants now offer carry-out meals. We recently stopped by a tiny, nearby Moroccan restaurant. A sign outside listed the menu of the day available to take home. Our favorite fish, dorade (sea bream) , was featured. We rang the bell. We would need to wait 15 – 20 minutes, the owner/chef told us. It was cold. He invited us in, pulled the drapes to hide us (restaurants are not permitted to have customers inside). He let us order wine, even brought a dish of tasty olives, to enjoy as we waited. “It’s been so long,” he lamented.

It was such a treat – a glass of wine in a restaurant. The fish with potatoes and veggies was delicious. We will do this again and try a Moroccan special, but he urged us to call ahead and order. He can’t risk hiding us inside again.

Hidden inside the tiny restaurant, we enjoyed an apero, wine and olives — . fabulous.
Take- out food stands are popular.

Today we had a take out lunch, kebab, from a stand across from the beach. Noisy, hungry seagulls joined us as we sat on a seaside bench with our treats. Blissful.

Seaside sandwich with the seagulls.

The French are not happy with life under lockdown. As everywhere, the economic consequences are dire. They complain, but for the most part, they comply. Almost all wear masks and social distance as much as possible. They take the health threat seriously and do not consider it a hoax nor a conspiracy. 

Black Friday, a retail extravaganza, has become popular around the world. French retailers were very upset as the original lockdown restrictions do not end until tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 28, so they could not open for this great opportunity to make up for lost revenue. Saved by the government. In France, Black Friday has been officially postponed until next Friday, Dec. 4.

You won’t find me standing in line for bargains.  I’d rather chill at the beach.

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27 thoughts on “France: Lockdown #2”

  1. The light at the end of the tunnel the vaccine. So ready for America to round the corner on the pandemic and the Trump
    administration. Let us put this year behind us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Leah ,As always so good to read your T& T ,a breath of Sea Air ,lovely to see sea and blue skies .Cannot believe that Black Friday exists in France ,!! But huge in UK .
    Lots of love and very best wishes for your back surgery ,
    Tony & Hazel

    Like

  3. Glad to hear you & Bob are healthy. We really need an effective vaccine. John & I are following CDC guidelines although it has taken some time to convince my Republican hubbie….he has even gotten a few tests at my request since he does work in the public and do all of our shopping (I stay home and zoom with everyone). I heard Australia is one of the only countries with no new infections….. Sue Charette-HoodMedical Ultrasound ConsultantStarman Trendsetter Jewelry Designer 2014-2016 Tutorials http://www.crystalwonders.etsy.com

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Leah I love your articles, especially this one. Unfortunately it is over the limit which we can drive from Luberon Valley. We enjoyed your experience vicariously.
    We hope all goes well with your back surgery. Let us know. We wish you and Bob good health and stay safe from the virus. Yours, Sandra Eddy

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Can’t decide if it’s depressing or uplifting – but life does go on… Curious about “Black Friday” in France – while I understand the need/excuse to create any type of interest in making purchases, the French don’t celebrate Thanksgiving (or, as Art Buchwald called it, “Le Jour de Merci Donnant!” as far as I know – so it’s just another Thursday followed by a Black Friday?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Black Friday is very curious. Even though France and other countries have no Thanksgiving on Thur, they realized it was a great opportunity to promote sales and make more money. Wikipedia “Black Friday”…you will learn more. The uproar here by merchants when they leaned they could not reopen for Nov. 27 Black Friday was unbelievable. They prevailed and can have it next week.

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  6. Thank you, Leah, for so poignantly capturing life as it is right now…same here in St. Remy…taking each day at a time…thank goodness the restrictions seem to be working…but oh la la, soooo envious of those beach scenes!!! Steady as she goes as we pass through the next phases. Stay safe, well, and hopeful! Gayle

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for filling us in on what November on the Côte feels like. Sounds as good as it gets under the circumstances. Yes, aren’t we glad to live in organized, humane countries where governments care about their people?! Count our blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My pleasure Lynne. We really can’t complain, If this will keep us virus free, we can endure. And yes, we are so lucky to live in countries with responsible leaders who believe in science and take the necessary tough steps to protect us.

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  8. Thanks for giving me a snapshot of life during COVID in France. We mainly hear about numbers in Australia and about how dire the situation is so it was nice to hear that life goes on. As it has done here in Melbourne. We were in stage 2 lockdown for 4 months but the grueling time has paid off and our state has now been declared Covidfree. A blessing we will not take for granted as we know it is still lurking and could reappear if we aren’t diligent.
    Please keep safe and well and of course continue writing. X Heather ( We met at Meg and Brendan’s home years ago)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is good to hear from you, Heather. I am thrilled to know you still follow talesandtravel. Bravo. You survived an extremely strict and long lockdown in Melbourne. And, it is working. Enjoy your freedom safely.

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  9. I like the photo of Bob examining the olive. Short winter days and Post election Blues (the realization that even with Biden, Mitch McConnell remains the primary obstacle to any chance of progressive change), combined with COVID 19 fatigue does not make for a very Happy Thanksgiving. I’ve gradually shifted from social distancing to social isolation. I’ve come to hate the telephone. I think the suicide rate in America must be exceedingly high. The most visible signs of COVID 19 in Boulder are the number of restaurants that have gone out of business, the local paper’s running toll of infections and deaths, and the daily parade of Fed Ex, Prime, UPS and USPS trucks going up and down our street delivering everyone’s on-line purchases.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s tough. Hang in there. Keep writing those letters to the editor. The restaurant scene is sad almost everywhere. Now that stores are open, I will shop with mask on and social distancing. Amazon and company are killing the small retailers. Do not order. You can shop safely.

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  10. It is trumps fault all the way. And now we are waiting patiently for the vaccine. Look at all the other non compliant countries. Not just Americans. First and foremost the Chinese government is responsible for this disaster ignoring the doctor who spotted the problem. We are all very happy that the idiot is no longer visible or at least fading away and hopefully indicted for tax evasion among other things. My family was able to visit me recently in August for two weeks spending time on our gorgeous coast and cruising up the Columbia river. I’m going to move to San Diego in April after my show in Cannon Beach. This may be my last . Lately I’ve made some ceramic sculptures . One dragon for my grandson and a few Haniwas for friends. I’m excited about being closer to Felix who is 3 1/2 talking up a storm. My daughter is becoming the mural queen of San Diego having done 3 huge murals. One is at the children’s museum . She’s been invited to do a proposal for a 60’ mural on a downtown mural. Awesome painter. Eva struble. This plague will end. And we are glad to be alive, so far. Mask up!! Best Elizabeth

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, we must blame Trump and his spineless cronies. There is hope with Biden, but it will be difficult, especially since Trump continues to lay boobytraps. So sad and sick. On the other front, I am happy to know you will move to SD and be near your daughter and grandson. Yours and her art works are impressive. I treasure your Brazilian lithographs hanging on my bedroom wall. Yes, the vaccine will come and we will return to normalcy. Stay safe and healthy.

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  11. Thanks. Interesting as always. Bob and I walk the dogs daily, usually in the woods. Doubtful that we will be tempted to resume our world travel. Thankful we experienced the places and cultures that we did, while we could, and while the places still had not been homogenized. Now it’s all cell phones and athletic clothing, wherever you go. Stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, We do have to be grateful for the fabulous travels we have enjoyed. Travel is such a life-enriching, learning experience. I am still hopeful there will be one or two more exotic trips down the road. We shall see. Don’t give up. Enjoy those dog walks.

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  12. Good to hear that you are safe and able to do a few things. Better to have a strong leader prepared to make tough decisions. Things are loosening up here in Victoria, Australia. We have had 28 days with no deaths, new cases or known cases. I worry that we are about to let in international flights. We are lucky to be a big island. There is so much in our own country to explore. Meg xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Meg and thank you for the positive report from Victoria. After your very restrictive lockdown, you have earned good news.
      And yes, you have plenty to explore in Australia. Enjoy and be safe.

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