In the midst of another lockdown (albeit less strict than at the start of the pandemic), one adopted Parisian shares some insight as to why she chose to stay in the City of Light while many fled to the countryside for more air, space and freedom. Let us know what you prefer in the comments below. City or country – to lockdown in Paris or not? Stay safe everyone – Erica
Back in March when the first lockdown was announced, people fled the city in droves. They simply weren’t going to be stuck in their apartments, cramped or not. I’d just returned from my annual winter trip. I was thrilled to be back in Paris. It was great to catch up with my friends, to try to make grumpy waiters smile in cafés… Plus, the level of litter and doggy do-do on the streets was nothing compared to India, where I’d just returned from. Then on March 17, everything changed.
No cafés, no friends—even less litter since people were stuck at home. Well, the dog droppings were still there since walking one’s dog was allowed, and the Parisians who stayed seemed to be among those who don’t clean up after their dogs.
The first two-month lockdown was long. Very long. How I craved to be on a farm in Normandy or seaside home in Brittany. Over virtual apéros with friends, we pledged that if another lockdown was in the cards, we’d band together and rent a place in the countryside. Outdoor space…the dream! The one thing my small Montmartre apartment had going for it was that there were many stunning viewpoints of the city within the permitted one-kilometer radius.
Fast forward to October. Increasing cases of Covid-19 forced a curfew to be put in place in Paris, although we were still allowed to move around freely and restaurants were still open. Early apéros with friends were becoming the new norm. However, as the weeks went on and the numbers kept rising, even though no one wanted to admit it, we all knew that we were heading for another lockdown. What had happened to those lofty plans to escape to the countryside? I was so swamped with finishing my new book that I had no time to think about fleeing. It seemed too late to flee, or was it?
Just then I remembered a friend’s invitation to join her in the southwest, near Bordeaux by the beach. It sounded dreamy. Okay, she was staying in a bungalow at a nudist camp, but nevermind. It was chilly at this time of year, most people would be wearing clothes (or so I hoped!), I booked a ticket that day. Greenery! Fresh sea air! Long walks on the beach! This was the blissful and refreshing change I’d needed.
My friend knew of other bungalows for rent, so I was able to hunker down here for the whole lockdown. Since March’s lockdown was extended to two months, there was a good chance the same thing was going to happen once again.
Despite enjoying the extra space and clean air, I felt the pull of Paris. As much as I love traveling the world, the city constantly draws me back. I lasted a full five days before I fled the country back to my city. Stepping out of the métro at Place des Abbesses, I was home.
Back in Paris, things aren’t quite as bad this time around. Even though much of what I love about the city—its museums, cafés and restaurants—are now closed, parks were open, and there are a few within my petite confinement radius. I can have a quick chat through the windows with my friends who lived in the area (at an appropriate distance), walk and linger at those panoramic Paris vistas, soaking in the sweeping views. It’s still our city, just somewhat in hibernation. Now, if only we could do something about those dog droppings…
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- If you’re doing your holiday shopping while staying home check out our holiday gift guides here and here.
- To read another Parisian’s lockdown experience, click here
- If you’re looking for things to do at home, check out this list of what to do (online) in Paris in December
Written by Lily Heise for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates.