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Lockdown in Paris: Day 14

Bibliotheque Mitterrand

Another weekend in confinement, but at least it’s warm enough to enjoy my (government approved) one-hour run within 1km of my apartment.

Circles around the Square

I did 8 laps around the Mitterrand National Library (aka TGB – Très Grand Bibliothèque), whose elevated boardwalk is exactly 1km all the way around a central “forest” . Without cars, bikes or scooters to worry about, I can just pop in a podcast and do my laps, and marvel at the number of other runners doing exactly the same thing. The streets of Paris seem more desolate and emptier than ever this Saturday, which isn’t surprising since the authorities say about one million people left the metropole area (out of about 11 million) for the countryside. I wonder if we’ll all get so used to crossing the big boulevards without needing to look both ways that when the city goes back to “normal” those of us who survived Coronavirus will get flattened by Parisian drivers. Strangely, the air was more polluted than normal, but clearly not due to traffic. The air quality association Airparif chalks it up to increased residential heating while we’re all at home all day, the increase in industrial agriculture activity (it’s spring harvest time), and today’s warmer temperatures, which traps the pollution particles. If I start coughing, I’m going to assume that’s the reason, since I’ve been solidly sequestered now for two full weeks!

What Time Is It?

Clocks spring forward one hour in France tonight, which might not seem important if you don’t have anywhere to be, but it’s useful to know if you’ve got video chats or calls scheduled with friends and family in North America, where the clocks were already changed a few weeks ago. New York City is only five hours behind us today, but tomorrow they will be back to six, as usual.

Paris Fashion Weeks Cancelled

Although the confinement is only currently scheduled through April 15th, the Haute Couture Fashion Week in July and Men’s Fashion Week in June have both been cancelled. On the plus side, that may free up a lot of hotel rooms in the center of Paris for all of you who are hoping to reschedule your cancelled spring trip for the summer.  

Optimistic Numbers

“The next 15 days are going to be a lot harder than the last 15,” said the Prime Minister today, as the epidemic in France follows Italy’s curve. It’s easy enough to find the daily contamination and death numbers, so I’m not sharing them here anymore. More encouraging is the news that a billion masks have been ordered in both France and abroad, including China (France can only produce 8 million per week itself). Five million tests are being produced in a French factory (by the company Air Liquid) with the plan to be able to test 30,000 people each day by April, 60,000 people per day by May, and 100,000 by June. Currently only 12,000 are tested each day. The government also announced they are preparing 14,000 intensive care beds in hospital facilities around the country, which currently only has 5,000.

Paris Architecture in 360° Videos

For your entertainment, you can check out the awesome 360° videos of iconic Parisian monuments including the Musée d’Orsay, the Eiffel TowerEglise St-Eustache during an organ recital, inside Notre Dame Cathedral before the fire, and a cruise down the Seine River. Use your cursor to “look around” from any spot within the videos.

Notre Dame 360° video

I hope you all get a breather this weekend from the mental stress; stay healthy! – Heather

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