How Paris Became A Village

Dear Friends,

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,

Carla x

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Caroline
Caroline
1 month ago

Hi Carla. Thanks for this perspective. Coming to you from Victoria Australia where we are under strict lockdown conditions inc curfews to try and get infections down. It’s sad and hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks for showing us that there is one. XX

Eugene J Kosinski
Eugene J Kosinski
1 month ago
Reply to  Caroline

Hi Caroline. My Grandmother was named Caroline. It’s a beautiful name. I truly admire Australia, Victoria, and the wonderful city of Melbourne. Melbourne is a beautiful city and I am in love with it’s amazing Tram System. I am a train & Tram buff in my old age of 68. My dream is to visit Victoria and Melbourne one day.I watch videos on YouTube on the various Tram routes throughout the city. Of course, as you already know, Melbourne is the coffee capital of the world. Yes the strict Lock downs are rough, but I believe that Australia, Victoria, and Melbourne will have a tremendous renaissance after Covid. The light at the end of the Tunnel will soon be getting brighter. Warmest Regards – Gene

Jennifer
1 month ago

Wonderful, beautiful words that express very much what I’ve been feeling about Paris, especially since the déconfinement. I always look forward to reading your posts. Stay well.

Belinda
Belinda
1 month ago

Thankyou for these beautiful and comforting words. I am in Sydney Australia feeling overwhelmed with the world and especially with the unknown. I remind myself “that this too will pass”

I love your images, they warm my heart. I hope and pray that COVID19 makes us all KINDER to each other. X

Lisa DeRea Frederiksen

Thank you for this beautiful post Carla.

Andrina Treadgold
Andrina Treadgold
1 month ago

Carla I am overjoyed that you and the local Parisians get to have your beautiful city all to yourselves, even if if will be only a fleeting moment in time.

Mary
1 month ago

This is comfortingly beautiful, Carla. Thank you very much. I’m in the midst of the Stage 4 lockdown in Melbourne. But hanging on.

Sabrina
Sabrina
1 month ago

Thanks a million for tjis beautiful message Carla!

Jenni
Jenni
1 month ago

Carla I was hoping it might be like this, I’m thrilled to read this about Paris, here’s to the Melbournians awaiting our freedom. 🙏

Jill
Jill
1 month ago

Such a wonderful and hope filled post. I hope to return to Paris some day, as well as other parts of Europe. I am in the USA experiencing so many other terrible things on top of dealing with CoVid. Praying for better days ahead. Stay well!

natasja Gilchrist
natasja Gilchrist
1 month ago

What a beautifully put story and promise of hope. It sounds like a beautiful gift after the tough last few months.
Thank you Carla x

Ana
Ana
1 month ago

You beautiful soul…

Angela
Angela
1 month ago

Beautifully said ! I really do feel this horrible and out of nowhere disease has come upon us , for us to change and rethink our behaviour and actions . It’s very sad we have to lose lives for us to come to this awaking !!

Wendy
Wendy
1 month ago

So beautiful to read about this Carla! I’m from Melbourne, Victoria. Stage 4 of lockdown is more difficult than I imagined. Only 4 weeks & 4 days to go!

Mithra Ballesteros
1 month ago

Thank you Carla! What a vivid account of something seemingly impossible — transformation of a cold city to a warm community. Will it last? How do we keep looking at life with our new eyes when the virus is eventually vindicated?

Eugene J Kosinski
Eugene J Kosinski
1 month ago

Paris is an incredible place, and your article & photos are absolutely brilliant. I believe that after Covid, Paris will come back, teaming with a new vitality. Thank You for sharing – Gene

Zali
Zali
22 days ago

Thank you for your encouraging words, I am in Victoria and news yesterday of an extension of our lockdown was really devestating. A combined total of 12 weeks in hard lockdown maybe longer. However everyday I notice more birds in my neighborhood, I can smell the flowers much more vividly this spring than last and I find the time to make my bed everyday (this never happened in normal life). I am so looking forward to when our world village can emerge from this time. Z

Kim
Kim
10 days ago

What a beautiful description Carla, it’s so nice for you to reach out to Australia during the continued lockdown and to give such a warm and hopeful account of Paris’s transcende. Merci beaucoup 💕💐

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