Coronavirus in Paris, this is how I experience living in the city

Corona Parijs

Paris is considered as one of the red zones in France when you look at the coronavirus. The Dutch government tells people from the Netherlands to only visit the city for a necessary visit. When you come back, you are advised to stay in quarantaine for 10 days. The French government also made some restrictions to stop the spreading of the virus. Wearing a face mask is not only mandatory in public transportation, but in all public spaces and since August 28 in the streets of Paris (and other red zones). The country counts several  ‘red zones’ (29), where the virus is more active than in other places. Paris is one of the red zones and since I am living in the French capital, I will be sharing my personal experience. 

First of all, I think that I was very lucky to be in the Netherlands during the lockdown. Our intelligent lockdown wasn’t much compared to the French one. Especially in big cities lime Paris, there are a lot of restrictions in order to stop the spreading of the coronavirus. During the lockdown people got to leave their houses for an hour per day, always had to fill in paperwork before leaving and there was a maximum distance that you could go. The Parisians only got to go 1 kilometer away from their house. Everybody who went any further, took the risk of getting a fine. The result is tat a lot of French people stayed inside their house for weeks.

Coronavirus restrictions after the lockdown in Paris

Halfway through June the borders of the country have opened up and people were able to travel around Europe again. At that point wearing a face mask was only mandatory in public transportation, just like in the Netherlands. While the daily life started up slowly and people started going out for fun, ‘just like the old days;’ The virus started to spread again. The number of positively tested people started to increase and it was a reason for the French government and/or municipalities to come with more restrictions. Since July 20th it is mandatory to wear a mask in all public spaces. Unfortunately this restriction didn’t have the same effects as they had hoped, so more and more municipalities started to come up with further restrictions. In the weeks after the mandatory face masks in public spaces, the city hall of Paris started to add mask zones in Paris. It got quite confusing for inhabitants and tourists to know where to wear the mask or breath freely. The reason for the city hall to make the masks mandatory in ALL the streets of Paris.

Corona Parijs

Personal experience

Three months ago I had never worn a face mask. To be honest I always found it a bit overdone when I saw tourists wearing a mask in the street. I would have never expected that there would be a day where I would consider wearing a mask as almost ‘normal.’ And to be honest I sometimes feel like we are all part of a really bad science fiction movie.
The first weeks in the city, the face mask was only mandatory in public transportation, just like in the Netherlands. I could accept this, because I realized how freaking dirty the subway is in general and the ventilation system is really bad. Wearing a face mask in public spaces is something that I liked a little less, but it didn’t ‘bother’ me too much. At this moment I don’t have a job and I am spending most of my time in our apartment. I don’t really go into public spaces and wearing a face mask in the grocery store is fine by me. At the same time I can imagine it is quite tough for the people who have to work with a mask for an entire day. Especially during the heatwave wave we have had this summer.

Face mask in the street

The fact that we have to wear face masks in the streets, is something that I really dislike. I do go out for a walk on a frequent base to get some fresh air, but with a mask I have the feeling that it is useless to go outside. You are getting less oxygen and don’t have the feeling that you are breathing in fresh air. To me, Paris has changed a lot since the corona virus. Everything that I was doing before, without overthinking, comes with a feeling of guilt. Why should I sit on a full terrace, while we are advised to keep distance from each other,
I have to admit that I haven’t been in Paris for two weeks and during our vacation in Corsica we barely wore our masks. (Only in the grocery store and in the cities on the island.) We have been back in the city since Sunday and after four days, I am already done with wearing masks on the streets and don’t feel like going out. I feel like I will get more ‘fresh air’ by standing on our balcony than going for a walk through the city.
Obviously I do stick to the rules. Especially since I am a foreigner in this country and I do think it is important to accept the local laws and rules. It is my own choice to be here and if I want to avoid wearing a mask in the streets, it is better to return to the Netherlands.
I obviously hope that the number of people that carry the virus will go down and that everything will go ‘back to normal.’ As far as that is possible.

Would you like to read more about my personal experiences? Check out this page. 


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