About 6 months ago I surprised my mom with tickets to Paris for her 55th birthday. It just happended to be during my birthday, too. We wanted to see everything we could in Paris, as well as one of the wine regions and other small towns. Up until March things were looking good, but by the end of first week of March, the Corona virus issues started to become more and more pressing. We talked about cancelling the trip but things didn’t seem to be that bad… yet.
In order to not lose our payments for AirBnb (France was not a part of their refund program), we decided to proceed with the trip. The only thing we were really worried about were that the museums would be shut down.
We landed in Paris on the 9th of March and everything was going well. The city was full of people, attractions were open and even sold out. I’m really happy we chose to see the main attractions first. On the first day, we walked from our AirBnb through Le Marais on our way to Notre Dame, through the Latin District, Luxembourg Garden, the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay. This was about 12 miles of walking with mini stops at cafes and photoshoots. Every Parisian we talked to didn’t think much of the virus and businesses were operating as usual.
The next day we did another 10 mile walk to see other parts of Paris – we explored the Eiffel Tower, farmers markets in 5th and 3rd arr., visited the famous 24 hour restaurants where we had escargot, frog legs, and plenty of foia gras.
On the third day, Friday, we received multipe texts and email from friends and family talking us to get to the airport ASAP because Trump is closing the boarders at midnight. After a simple search, we realized that as usual, he’s an idiot and misrepresented the information. Citizens and legal residents were still able to fly in and out and we were safe to continue with the trip.
By Saturday, WHO and mulple countries declared that the Corona Virus is a pandemic, borders are closing, and all shops and cafe are to close down. This news was not appreciated and we started to get a real picture of the problem. France shut down all cafes, restaurants and non essential shop on midnight that Saturday.
On Sunday we went to get some food to have at home for the rest of the trip. The shops were quiet, full of food and wine, and once again the French were just as happy and social as usual. We went on a little walk around the block and saw hundreds of people hanging out in the park, by the river and walking with thier dogs and kids. It seemed like a great plan so we got more wine and bread and got a spot on the river for a picnic (more than a meter away from all others).
After seeing the response of the public, on Monday afternoon we received the announment that all public gatherings are suspended and their will be a penalty if you’re seen wondering the streets. All Paris residents had to carry a form that stated the reason why they were outside. We still noticed a decent amount of people walking and running. The store had lines outdide only because a limited amount of people were let inside at a time.
We spent our last two days resting in our Parisian flat, eating and drinking like French do. Thankfully there are plenty of little markets and grocery stores all over the place and no shortage of supplies (at least at the time). In a way it was easier to be quarantied there because the city was not in such a despare.
We got to our flight without any issues and the plane was half empty. Before leaving, we were asked to fill out a medical form stating that we do or do not have symptoms of Covid-19. They were letting people off in groups of 10 and then we had to speak with medical personal and give them the form. This process took about 10 minutes which was amazing. We were expecting to be stuck there for hours after reading the news. We were out of the airpiort in no time, so much easier and faster than usual.
I know, I get a lot of hate for travelling and not cancelling my trip. However, at the time it was not an isuue. And even during, everything was handeled. We had our masks, sanitizer, gloves, etc.
Now we’re in mandatory quarantine for 2 week. I’m monitoring any changes in my health or everyday functions. We’re staying in, away from everyone else. I will continue writing about Covid-19 as things progress and if I get tested positive.
Keep calm. Wash your hands.