Back after a long silence, not surprising given the situation with the world pandemic. Thankfully my family friends and myself are all well and we haven’t been affected. To be honest, the lack of motivation comes from a place of apathy and fear certainly which explains my lack of creativity and enthusiasm to write regularly.
Having said this, one of the lessons I learned during my professional career change is that best remedy against fears, anxiety and lack of self-confidence is action.
The original purpose of this blog was not to create a space to dive into my personal feelings, but given the exceptional circumstances, I am allowing myself this small deviation.
In this article I want to share with you what it has been like living in confinement as well as tips and tricks to living my best Parisian life despite the circumstances. As in France, the rules of the lockdown were and are still qute strict and limitting a lot our freedom of movement.
Let us begin and with the most important topic according to the French – Food!
Grocery shopping in Paris during confinement.
It is one of the only aspects of our daily life that is the least impacted.
For me, the closure of the markets that are normally open twice per week was a large annoyance. I am a creature of habit and have missed the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables not least of which the quick and witty wit of the vendor who knows his loyal customers by name and often offering a small token of appreciation. I miss those gifts of extra celeries or apples cementing an already solid connection between us. Before the confinement, I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask if he would be continuing to sell his produce via distance through online shopping.
With no market, I am resigned to doing most of my shopping at the BIOCOOP – fortunate to have one close to my home as we are only allowed to venture a maximum of 1 km from home. Strict rules of social distancing are in effect – there are limits to who can be in the store, hand washing with sanitizer before entering obligatory.
Another grocery store that I frequent is La Ruche qui dit OUi,. It is an online grocery store that happens to have a pick up location 100m from my apartment. I must admit that to this Parisian, it feels strange to plan a week out in advance. Currently there are often times where items are out of stock. I am grateful, however, for the surprises that grace my order as the owners try to accommodate any inconvenience with the lack of items.
During this time of isolation and difficulty for the local merchants, I make an effort to frequent and support community based businesses. For Easter I treated myself to a delivery of local chocolate made by a favourite Chapon. They are located in the 7th Arondissment and deliveries were done by bike!
Just as many have had to do, life at home dictates that one cooks at home. New recipes abound. A new favorite Tarte au citron”* is a hit, confirmed by making it twice and using the “Pâte sucrée“* recipe for the crust.
(**Should you wish, send me a note and I will forward you a translated copy of the recipe!).
A Le Creuset pot has been a dream of mine for a long time. Saving time in the kitchen by allowing dishes to simmer in the perfect environment for hours/days. These pots do
n’t come cheap but it was meant to be when I found my favourite pot and at a discount.
Just knowing that I now own this pot has me salivating. First up will be a roasted cauliflower inspired by the amazing Miznon restaurant in the Marais- a true delight. I can only hope that my cooking prowress will be up to the task!
Getting out of the city life
Of all the isolation requirements, the most challenging for me is giving up the green spaces that I typically visit. Currently, we are confined indoors and allowed only 1 hour of outdoor time. We are also restricted to staying within 1km of our home. I find it very difficult to not be in contact with nature despite being fortunate enough to be living in one of the greenest neighbourhoods in the city.
I am close to the Bois de Boulogne. Equally so is the Ranelagh gardens which until recently were not off limits. Currently these gardens have now been cordoned off with the warming of the temperatures. Despite this, my early morning routine takes me by this park when there is no one around and with my recent heightened sensitivity to nature I revel in the trees, flowers, sent and sounds.
In lieu of being able to live my life the way I normally would – outside – I have permitted myself the luxury of fresh cut flowers in my home. A good friend surprised me by having a beautiful bouquet of peonies and lilacs – the perfect spring combination. For me, fresh cut flowers have become essential when living in a tiny Parisian apartment with no balcony or terrace. I am so grateful for the local florists which are providing home delivery.
Entertainment – how to occupy your days.
Without the regular challenge and rhythm of telework, or a larger space to keep oneself occupied – a garden even – the days can become very long and oh so repetitive.
Once again, living through this pandemic in a time of connected technology has allowed an explosion of virtual museum visits, private concerts, conferences, plays, online courses and many more.
Below is a short list of some ideas that can help to keep you busy! (don’t forget podcasts and reading).
As an avid book worm, I am subscribed to the municipality of Paris which offers digital books available to borrow direct to my computer, phone or tablet.
Keep an eye out for the next blog featuring reading tips and favourite podcasts about Paris and the lives of expatriates in France, its history, culture and much more.
Learning French during the time of confinement is a great way to use your time wisely. I have listed several links in a previous blog post that you can access here.
Moving back towards the world of entertainment, one of my favourite weekly Saturday night events hosted online is “pub quiz” organized by the host of the podcast “the Earfulf Tower”, named Oliver Gee. It can be found each week on youtube for a live – in English – session. Questions often related to Paris, France, fashion etc. Above all else, it provides a moment to connect with others worldwide, sets a great tone and the atmosphere can’t be beat!
The Paris Opera has featured free ballets and operas – some of their most famous – truly breathtaking. I saw a beautiful version of Don Giovani and the exquisite Swan Lake. The program changes every Sunday.
The Parisian museums have also opened their virtual doors to the public. One of my current favourites is the Grand Palais and its exhibition on Pompei. Beyond the exhibits you will also find games, content and videos to mention but a few.
Why not get out of Paris and visit an architectural marvel masterpiece? The Villa Crvois, bought by the ministry of Culture, reopened to the public in 2015 after a massive scale renovation that was captured on film. A film that showcases the amazing behind refinement, beauty and know-how.
These are but a few ideas and a small sample of what is currently available on the internet. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with your comments, questions and suggestions!