At the entrance of luxury department store Galleries Lafayette, security guards who double as hygiene inspectors deliver generous sanitizer toys into shoppers’ palms.
Along with one of the French capital’s busiest traffic arteries, cars and scooters have been replaced by a steady convoy of cycling commuters, in some suits, in some skirts – ordering each other, but in a hurry.
Finally, on Thursday, the iron stairs of the Eiffel Tower began to tighten once again for visitors’ footfalls ready to climb for a view over the city, with the elevators out of action.
Welcome to Post-Lockdown Paris, where new regular face masks, floor markings, plexiglass and hand sanitizer are added. And a lot of it.
With the city reopening on June 2, most notably residents were allowed to return to city parks and leave the house free (they had previously filled out forms to justify their excursions), and by June 15, restaurants and cafes were finally open in Paris in a clear and loud sign that the lockdown was over.
Chez L’Ami Jean has reopened in Paris on a sidewalk with new outdoor seating.
Because without the hum of its cafes, outdoor patios, bistros and bars, Paris is truly a strange city.
At Chez L’Amie Jean in the 7th Arrondissement, Chef Stefan Zago cleared his restaurant of dinner seating and kept the dining tables small enough to fulfill a three-foot physical distance rule in France.
In order to lose half of the 55 seats in the dining room, the chef has created an outdoor patio with spaces usually reserved for street parking.
This is a big change for the bistro, which is popular among tourists and locals because of family style meals, where parties are squeezed into each other and the atmosphere is noisy, lively and lively.
To protect the environment, Jego had to rethink the layout of the restaurant he had helmed for the past 17 years.
When selling coffee, wine and sandwiches along with newspapers and producing them for neighbors nearly a century ago, he quickly came up with a concept that would take the bistro back to its original roots.
The renovated restaurant now has a small garden market on the front window that sells local produce – cherries, heirloom carrots and tomatoes – along with homemade pate and terrine.
After work and drawing in the Afro crowd, the front of the bistro features bar stools, high tables and a tapas bar, with a special place inside selling a selection of chefs’ favorite wines.
In an attempt to make the Chez L’Ami Jean more accessible, only a few reservations are accepted at a time, according to the chef.
Lack of tourists
“We want to restore intimacy and intimacy and positivity to people in the restaurant,” says Chef L’Amy’s Chef Stephen Jego.
“We want to give people a sense of intimacy and intimacy and positivity in the restaurant, because this popular virus has cut us off from each other,” he said.
This is a business strategy aimed at diversifying the restaurant, but attracting more local Parisians to cater to the shortage of tourists, who own half of his regular clientele.
Witnessing Paris without tourists has helped some locals understand how much international visitors contribute to the city’s energy and climate.
Restaurants in Paris are trying to reopen after French President Emmanuel Macron announced the first wave of the coronavirus crisis.
On a recent trip to the Montmartre area, 77-year-old Parisian Huguet Dauria said she was hit by a street void.
“All the shops are closed and Montmartre is empty. It’s strange to see. The city is really quiet. Tourists are helping to bring the city to life,” said the retired man.
Parisian museum worker Patricia Servine, 40, agreed.
“It’s nice because there’s more space, but Paris has lost its cosmopolitan vibe. I miss listening to different languages. It would be strange if it continued like this.”
Although the city has reopened, she fears that some of her fellow Parisians are violating social distance rules and are not wearing masks.
“People seem to really not understand what’s going on right now,” said Dauria.
“We have to be on our guard to prevent the second wave. But people are wandering around, gathering in large groups … It’s not right.”
Dauria’s husband Daniel denies that everything went back to the previous one.
“This is what we woke up to in a dream and nothing happened.”
For his part, Sarvine said he had become more of a homeowner since the lockdown and avoided densely crowded areas.
“The virus has led people to think differently about things,” adds Zego.
From shopping, public transport, and museum visits, here’s what’s new in the French capital until a vaccine or treatment is found:
Some streets have been converted into temporary bike lanes as an alternative to public transportation.
The result? It was as if someone had dialed the volume on the cacophony of horns and roaring engines throughout the city, a welcome respite for nerves.
Men in suits, their blazers winding up behind them, women in spring skirts and flats pedal, students and bike couriers.
Hand sanitizer-filled dispensers have also been installed at selected bus shelters and masks are mandatory in all public transport and taxis.
Stickers on the floors of trains, as well as some seats, help passengers to social distance wherever possible.
Most shoppers and department stores require all shoppers to wear masks.
Although masks are not mandatory in public areas, all shoppers at many private shops, boutiques and major department stores should wear them throughout their visit.
Shoppers are invited to disinfect their hands with a hand sanitizer placed at the entrance of the store, and at some shops, customers are asked to avoid touching and handling merchandise.
This means changing lipsticks or creams at the beauty counter, or not keeping a close eye on home decor items. At least three steps away from the escalator at Galleries Lafayette – shoppers are reminded to keep their distance from each other, and Plexiglas separates them from sales associates at the cash desk.
Museums and landmarks
The Eiffel Tower reopened on June 25.
Thomas Samson / AFP by Getty Images
No rush of Mona Lisa. At the Louvre, which reopens July 6, visitors must purchase advance tickets online and stick to a time slot equal to an appointment or movie time to help control the crowd.
Visitors should follow the designated route to Mona Lisa for popular paintings and exhibitions to ease congestion. On the same day, on-site tickets are sold on availability, but online ticket holders are preferred.
Similarly, visitors must purchase advance online tickets for the Musసీe d’Orsay and the Palace of Versailles.
For visits to all museums and major landmarks, masks are a must.
All restaurant tables must be at least three feet away to allow for physical distance.
One of the defining features of the Parisian Bistro and Cafe scene is the way the tables are placed side by side, flush next to each other.
To take a seat you need to pull the table out of its line and carefully squeeze your way between the two tables and into your chair.
But not anymore. The Kovid-19 command in France must now be at least three feet off the table for physical distance.
To help offset the loss of tables, the city is offering permits that allow restaurants to convert street parking and sidewalks to what they call Jego “bistrotroiters” or sidewalk bistros.
Meanwhile, inside, all staff must wear masks, and diner masks are required when going to the toilets or in the dining room.
Seating is limited to parties of 10 or fewer. Some restaurants have even introduced QR code menus that can be activated via smartphones to eliminate paper menus, but contactless payment is more than cash.