I have been in Paris for 3 months now.
I’m trying to let that sink in a little, it’s a bit weird.
These past 3 months are certainly not what I had envisioned before moving here. I could not have imagined a pandemic hitting as soon as I touched down on French soil, being confined for 8 weeks in our tiny apartment with my husband, only being able to go outside for essential activities (1 hour a day of exercise, grocery shopping, or a doctor’s visit).
I figured I would take it slow my first few months. I had friends coming at two different times in April and I was planning on seeing and traipsing around with them, if time allowed. I gave myself a loose timeline to start looking for a job around May. Really be able to dig into some restaurants and actively search out companies that aligned with what I needed for this next step. I planned to wander the streets during the day exploring more hidden areas of Paris. Looking for street art on the weekends in various hot spots, enjoying catching up with friends, dining out in the evenings in local restaurants, really taking advantage of this free time before I dive back into responsibilities and adulthood. But that hasn’t happened.
Restaurants have just opened up for outdoor seating. There are strict health measures in place and everything I knew and anticipated about this industry has been turned upside down. Restaurants are allowed to move into the public space of the sidewalks and streets. Thankfully, in most areas here in Paris, the sidewalks are wide enough to allow for this expansion. In a city where space is extremely valuable and highly marketable, this is a feat that will be interesting to follow in the coming days/weeks.
This is where the real déconfinement begins for the French. Having a drink en terrasse (on the patio) is as much a part of the French lifestyle as is visiting the weekly outdoor street markets, strolling along the riverbanks of the Seine, enjoying a crisp baguette and creamy cheese. It’s a way to decompress after work; a solid break where a hard day’s work quietly slips away into the night and you can enjoy the simple pleasures the rest of the evening has to offer. And the first night of this new phase, the French have embraced it with socially distanced open arms.
The hubs is going to the office 3 days a week now, life is slowly evolving and reopening back up. There is a semblance of “normalcy”, whatever that may be now. I did a horrible job of trying to create a consistent routine for myself while in confinement. I had big dreams and aspirations. Yeah… that fizzled out quickly. I never realized until these last few weeks that I am a creature of habit and structure. And I am looking forward to creating a routine for myself in the coming days, something I didn’t know my body was craving.
So here’s to something that we’ve held so dear to our hearts: here’s to finding friends, routine, and a better normal.