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Paris COVID-19

One week after the announced stay-at-home measures, Paris downtown in the morning gives a perfect idea of a place it was several decades ago. Only a mild wind and a distant passerby make you company when you walk along with a certificate that you must fill-in by yourself each moment you leave home.

Paris COVID-19, Arc de Triomphe
Paris COVID-19, Champs Elysées
Paris COVID-19, empty silent city

Martian chronicles of the Champs Élysées

The ever-crowded spots, such as Champs Élysées, are especially empty and silent, even if you are not tempted by comparisons with the previous situation. Few “essential” stores sunk here in the middle of trendy boutiques and souvenir shops, without breaking the monolithic style of closed windows. This is the whole avenue that offers you now a special melancholic luxury, day and night.

Paris COVID-19, Champs Elysées
Paris COVID-19, Champs Elysées
Paris COVID-19, Champs Elysées

Paris by night

Listening to the night city becomes a new experience, free from car noises. The silence becomes visual, condensed in volatile shapes and subtle combinations you were passing by before because your ear was overcharged.

Paris COVID-19, empty silent city
Paris COVID-19, empty silent city
Paris COVID-19, empty silent city

Crisis shopping

While social life of the majority is mainly reduced to the square meters of home space, it goes on in “essential” places, such as food stores. The next day after the Presidential address, on March 12, the unusual charge of purchase for delivery started. While families went shopping with children, the red and blue delivery boxes almost blocking the supermarket doors were beaming alarm. Another day after the stores installed filtering lines, but visitors, even those wearing masks, were pretty unconcerned about the 1 meter rule. The rice-and-pasta shelves were quickly voided, and a couple days after you might observe a more reserved shop going.

Paris COVID-19, shopping
Paris COVID-19, shopping
Paris COVID-19, shopping

Signs of life

Windows of the shut down “non-essential” shops look sometimes as if they were galaxies sending you a sign of what was happening there several light years before. “Evil discounts”, “Take two for the price of one” they cry silently to the silent streets. Meanwhile you easily find some undoubtedly fresher signs just by the side. Old style nutrition shops proudly expose their offer. Some of homeless people stay in their usual places or mark the spots of their lonely hangout. Sometimes you stumble upon unexpected figures, such as a young guy by the door of a closed shop, solitary dancing with earphones on his head.

Paris COVID-19, shops
Paris COVID-19, shops
Paris COVID-19

Those who ride the city

They are not so many who govern the streets. Neither they are scarce workers cautiously taking trip to the job place, nor steady joggers and slightly scared dog owners who feel the fragility of the current permit to slip outside. The real city operators assured in their presence are doctors whose work is applauded from many windows at 8 p.m. each evening. The street masters are policemen and policewomen who control the “essential” reason of you being out. Sometimes they take freedom to give you moral lessons or eventually to beat you. In turn, their own exposure to virus is a source of frustration, as the Minister of the Interior failed to provide them with protective masks. Yes, that’s it, a week after the epidemic lockdown many policemen in Paris do not wear masks and gloves. And they still ride the streets and contact daily dozens and hundreds of citizens. In order not to finish with this alerting fact, you need to notice transport drivers and street cleaners who were in strike just prior to the epidemic. Now they are doing service in the silent streets to keep them a viable social space, in view of the nearest after-COVID life.

Paris COVID-19, doctors
Paris COVID-19, police
Paris COVID-19, transport

Click on the photos to see them in a larger size.

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