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Lockdown in Paris: Day 35

Parisian garden bungalow

Bonjour to a warm and sunny Saturday morning in Paris!Yesterday I was talking to my friend who lives a block from me about a mystery building she could see from her 14th floor apartment but couldn’t identify. With views over all of Paris, she can easily spot the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Val de Grace, and even the Opéra Garnier. But now that we’re all spending more time than usual looking at nothing but the view, and constrained to a 1km circle around our residence for exercise, it’s easy to suddenly be intrigued by what’s closer to home.

This particular building is modern with what looks like a huge glassed-in rooftop terrace, too big to be a residence. We both scanned Google maps in satellite mode trying to reconcile the view in front of us with what we could see from directly above, and although it seemed to be close to the Jardin des Plants, and therefore, I guessed, part of the University of Paris, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3. I briefly taught communications classes in English there and remember it as a hulking, modern (and, let’s face it, butt ugly) building, but not with a glassed-in rooftop. Since we’ve been self-quarantined in our respective apartments with no outside contact and no symptoms of Covid-19 for several weeks now, we decided to go for a run together – well, “near” each other while keeping a good meter distance between us — to track down the mystery building.

View of Paris buildings

We met up this morning at 9am (an hour before the 10am limit) outside the local Carrefour where people were already lined up for food shopping, and headed in the direction we thought we’d find the building. It was actually closer than it looked, so we almost ran right past it in our enthusiasm for our mission. And it was a university building, just not the same one I was thinking of (there are actually a LOT of university buildings spread around the 13th). So, mystery solved! (I know, I know; what passes for entertainment has “evolved” over the past 35 days, LOL!) We did a little loop around the block and headed back to our respective apartments, stopping to check out the cheese selection at my local florist who has transformed into a food shop to stay open during the lockdown.


Next door to the florist I happily discovered the corner bistro, Comme à la Campagne, was finally reopening for take-out meals (including coffee to go for €1.30), which they had never done before. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’ve hit a wall on my will to cook for myself anymore, so I’m very much looking forward to an asparagus risotto for tomorrow! If you’re wondering how food and drink businesses in France are holding up under the lockdown, listen to the latest 52 Martinis podcast by Forest Collins, “COVID-19 Effects on France Food & Drink Businesses – Part 1” where she interviews a dozen industry pros about their individual experiences.

If you’re still required to fend for yourself to survive, check out these free cooking demos on IGTV by the fabulous Rosa Jackson of Les Petits Farcis in sunny Nice, Côte d’Azur. I’m very much digging her practical advice on things like, “How to Spice Up a Can of Black Beans”. And her sky blue kitchen makes me so happy!

Here’s hoping you find something to make you smile this weekend! – Heather

cat on the sidewalk
Wildlife of the 13th Arrondissement

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