I’ve lived in Paris for three years. I’ve experienced bureaucracy thick enough to make me cry, the Gilets Jaunes protests, Notre Dame Cathedral burning, transport strikes, garbage strikes, dog poop invading the sidewalks, and once, I even got a tuna quiche by mistake. Blech.

But this lockdown is the most intense thing I’ve experienced in Paris, or anywhere for that matter. We’ve been given greater and greater restrictions over the past few days, and now as of Tuesday March 17 we all have to stay home. I have stocked up on groceries and wine, and plan on going out for more provisions in a few days. Unless, of course, my seventeen-year-old eats more than I’ve planned for and the cupboard goes bare before it’s time. He’s attending school via Zoom (an online teaching platform), missing his friends, playing video games, learning a new dance routine (sorry, downstairs-neighbors). 

We’re allowed to go out for groceries, medical appointments, work (if anybody is still open for business?), and for exercise, as long as we keep at the regulatory one-meter distance from others. We have to fill out a form saying where we’re going and carry it with us at all times. There are supposedly 100,000 police on the streets of Paris, but I haven’t seen any from my window yet.

From my window however, I have seen an elderly couple with shopping bags, and I wanted to yell at them, Go home! You’re target number one! I’ve seen a lot more joggers than I normally do in Paris. There are lone youths, shuffling along, smoking, probably already sick of their parents. I haven’t yet seen any police, but if I go out without that document, I bet they’ll suddenly appear.

So, for now, I’ll keep living my freelance life – writing, taking breaks to do yoga or play the piano, with extra texting and FaceTiming my loved ones.

Someday, we’ll be back out there in cafes, drinking rosé and kissing each other’s cheeks, canoodling on park benches and clinging to the pole for stability on the Parisian Metro.

But for now, the whole country is chez soi.

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Written (and photo) by Yvonne Shao for HiP Paris. Looking to travel as soon as you can? 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.


Yvonne Hazelton

Yvonne is an American writer living in Paris. She blogs at Escaping the Empty Nest.


  1. Hello!
    I just want to say hello and tell you how much I enjoy your newsletters. Being a Francophile and loving PARIS as I do, I appreciate your view on a city I love so much.
    Be well, stay safe and good luck with the teenager lockdown scenario. We live in Seattle and I have a 15,19 and 20 yo’s. These are trying times indeed. Maybe mine can learn the new dance move your 17 yo is learning. What is it? Anything to get them off social media ????
    Hardie Cobbs

  2. I appreciated your update on Paris. Difficult to imagine The city quiet. What I am seeing is empty shelving in all grocery stores. I live just outside Seattle Washington . Difficult to imagine what we will see in two months time given the last two months. Bye for now

    1. It’s so eerie. We will see how things evolve but I fear it will be a lot worse before it gets better. Stay safe.

  3. Yvonne: Thanks for the update. We are all experiencing similar restrictions. I am in the middle of the USA. A time to think of what we are grateful for daily….and aren’t we glad we are going into SPRING and not fall…..

  4. Good luck – it will pass. In Sydney it’s pathetically half-arsed and we’ll pay for it in the long run.

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