How Paris Became A Village
A huge shout out to the people of Victoria, the United States, Brazil, and to every individual challenged by COVID in this moment.
I want to share with you something that happened in Paris after COVID.
Paris is a city that makes many women and men go weak at the knees. As a girl that has been known to love wearing rose-coloured glasses, I know many people around the globe love popping on those rose-coloured glasses when they think of Paris. When you live in Paris, she can be everything including a tough old broad that slams the door in your face, utters instantly mais non madame as a knee jerk reaction, long before she considers a Yes and a day can be filled with neutral stares and harsh rebuffs from the folks at the post office or any government body. She was as equally well mannered, chic, and impossibly beautiful if not just a little distant!
Pre-COVID, there were days I went out loving her and came home wondering why she made it so hard to love her!!!
Then something happened, we got locked up, they took away the parks, the restaurants, the post office (yes, it was closed for 2 months), the boutiques, the florists, the schools, the offices, the famous Parisian cafés with her beautiful cane chairs and the right to leave our homes for 8 weeks without a piece of paper. For 8 weeks, we couldn’t go more than 1 km from home and only for an hour a day.
Like many people around the world, we experienced a lockdown that was confronting, challenging, emotional, aggressive, controlling and everything in between. At some point, it also became grounding, slow, calm, passive, and gentle.
When we emerged from 8 weeks of silence and confinement, for many solitary, Paris was different. She went through her own transformation and out the other side she became a village.
People were different, we were different. In the place of being in a hurry, we all seemed to have time, in place of indifference we all were connected and concerned, in the place of blank stares we looked one another in the eyes.
The city slowly came back to life, terraces grew and grew wherever there was free space or even when there wasn’t. Umbrellas went up, inflatable flamingos appeared at the entrances of restaurants and even the smartest restaurant managed to add a rogue terrace with a white tablecloth. Waiters greeted us like long lost friends.
Gratitude filled her streets and our hearts, wonder abounded as we had the right to roam again and every detail was fascinating and beautiful. The gardens that had been locked away and had grown wild, were filled again with flowers and colour.
As the weeks passed, the village atmosphere remained as all of us started to roam even the most touristy restaurants that now stood empty, places that we once fought to sit in, we could finally get a seat outside with a spectacular view.
It was like being a kid in a lolly shop, Parisians and adopted Parisians had the menu to a moveable feast and now we could finally get a seat at the table and order up big!
The weeks keep passing and the kindness remains, conversations with strangers have become the new normal and the level of gratitude to sit on a beautiful café terrace is still as joyful as the first time we ever did it.
There is a feeling of spaciousness that wasn’t here before, it’s luxurious and with that spaciousness the city is softer and less aggressive. That constant feeling of FOMO that we would miss out if we didn’t get there early, has disappeared.
Why am I telling you this? There is a reason, particularly if you are in lockdown and your heart is breaking from the feeling of confinement, restrictions, loss of income, contact, unknown and more.
My wish for you and wherever you are in the world that you too will emerge from lockdown with a gift of humanity and that your world no matter how big and scary it is right now will too become a village. That what once was invisible will now be visible, including you.
Sending you love and my best wishes,