Expat Diary: What is Life Like in France During Lockdown?

Tuula Rampont, IL France Correspondent

What is Daily Life Like at the Moment in France?

Things in France are very quiet at the moment. We’ve had several “executive orders” which started with a strong recommendation to stay at home and a closure of all schools and universities, and ended with all non-essential businesses being closed and strict regulations on when you can leave your home. It was all a huge shock at the first, but we’re in our second week of the tighter regulations and they’ve been widely accepted.

How are you Passing the Time?

I’m working part-time from home (as the manager of an English-language, ESL school) so that’s helping to pass the time. We’ve stocked up on board games and I’ve dusted off a ton of French recipes I’m been meaning to try out.

Is Public Transport still Running?

Public transportation is running on a limited basis—buses, trains, and a very limited number of flights out of the country as far as I understand.

Is Your Country Prepared for Coronavirus?

I really feel that France is doing the best they can. French President Emmanuel Macron has been very clear and decisive in his addresses to the nation and I appreciate his no-nonsense approach to the crisis. That being said, we all feel that the security measures could have been started quite a bit early —probably a general feeling in many countries.

How are you Preparing for the Future?

Like many others, we’re just taking it day-by-day. It may sound corny, but I’m just happy to be safe and healthy and feel very lucky to be living out our quarantine situation in a comfortable place.

How is Your Community Working Together?

There are a lot of measures being taken by the government and ordinary citizens as well. Offers to deliver groceries and check-in on your neighbors to see if they need anything, from a distance of course. We’re contributing to a program that sends messages of encouragement and drawings from children to retirement homes. You post your message/drawings to Facebook and the home director will print them out for the residents.

How are you Communicating with People?

We are using Facebook, WhatsApp, Zoom etc. We’re all scrambling to figure out the best apps and communication programs to make our lives easier.

Can you go to the Store?

The supermarkets, some bakeries, and pharmacies are open and that’s about it. You need to carry a form, signed and dated, which states that you are leaving your house for a shopping trip and only one member of the family is allowed to go at a time. I went shopping yesterday at our very large supermarket (called a hypermarché), and they only let a limited number of people in at a time and everything was in stock… even toilet paper.

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