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COVID safety in Normandy... in winter

A co-worker just got a terrible case of COVID after returning from Oktoberfest 2023 in Germany. She didn't get COVID on a plane or airport; she got it during an actual Oktoberfest event.

I was planning to visit Normandy and the Loire Valley in December, but now I am reconsidering. I am perfectly happy with masking up in museums and eating street food outside during the day, but at night I like to sit at a nice restaurant, and this is where my COVID fear comes in. I'd also want to go cider tasting in what I presume will be indoor tasting rooms. Lots of European cities offer outdoor dining these days, but I am not seeing a ton of such options in the dead of December in northern France; go figure. Are there such options, or should I just postpone the trip?

(Does anywhere in Europe offer a ton of decent outdoor dining options in December? Or am I just being unrealistic?)

Posted by
600 posts

Keppele, we found outside dining options last December in Rome and Naples but I’m not sure how much you will find in those areas of France. At this stage it is a lot of luck whether you will manage to stay healthy while on a trip. I got Covid in Normandy in May, probably on the train back to Paris as there were lots of folks sounding sick for whatever underlying cause. It negatively impacted our time in Paris and we were masked, boosted and eating outside:) You will have to weigh your risk tolerance, have a plan in case you do get sick, and perhaps try to eat at less crowded times? BTW I’m the ‘healthy’ one of the 2 of us. My highly highly immunocompromised spouse did not get it in spite of being stuck in the same very small Paris hotel room with me while I was unwell over several days. His doctors were shocked.

Posted by
486 posts

What about visiting Christmas Markets? France has them…..Paris and Alsace region just not sure tho about Normandy or Loire area? I believe most is outdoors or partially outdoors with the ventilation one needs for less transmission. Ways to enjoy food, do tastings, socialize etc. I am sure others on this forum can recommend. I do understand your Covid concerns. It happens most in indoor and more crowded settings. And no fun having it while you travel. I myself would love experiencing the Christmas Markets!

Posted by
2765 posts

I’m just really curious how your friend knows exactly where they got Covid

So what are you doing now. If now you are not going out to restaurants and you’re not going shopping etc. then I can understand your concerns. Otherwise it’s not dramatically more different in Normandy than it is wherever you’re from.

I’ve gone to Europe twice this year. I’m going one more time. I mask on public transportation or in places where it’s very crowded. Of course I do that here. I take public transportation to the airport for all my trips with a mask I mask on the flight. I’ve also had every recommended booster. Including one about two weeks ago in preparation for some work trips that I had coming up. I’m back from those not pick up anything at two conferences using these precautions.

Posted by
427 posts

Data compiled by SOS Médicins and Oscour show a fairly small increase in Covid activity (by recent historical standards) in Normandie beginning around week 29 of 2023 (S29-23, or mid-July). The increase seems to have peaked as of week 39 (S39-23, or the last week of September) with some measures showing what may be the beginning of a decrease. You can download a Normandie specific summary report here, but it's in French. The most recent report when I checked today was for week 40 (first week in October), so it's a week old.

Translated from the summary text:

The regional incidence rate has stabilized at close to 40 cases per 100,000 inhabitants (data from city
and hospital laboratories only).
The peak of the epidemic wave currently underway in the region may have been reached.

The autumn vaccination campaign for Covid in France opened 2 October and is currently underway.

As far as outdoor dining in Normandie in winter goes, I doubt you'll find any. Too cold, windy, and wet. Don't get me wrong -- it's not cold by, say, Minnesota standards, but it can be bone chilling nevertheless.

Posted by
8637 posts

What precautions are you taking at home? I would suggest that you have pretty much the same risk at home as you do traveling unless you live a very quiet life.

Posted by
486 posts

My thoughts too Carol. It’s no different at this point anywhere and everywhere. Your co-worker’s Covid has you in a tizzy. Maybe traveling to Europe at this time will be too worrisome and you won’t be able to enjoy or relax? You need to weigh this all out. Always a risk and one needs to assess their health history concerns and have a plan B. Hope your co-worker is doing better! Best wishes on your decision.

Posted by
5 posts

You know, I have no idea why she knows exactly where she got it -- I never thought to ask! But thanks for all of your replies. It sounds like I should put this one off -- we're immunocompromised -- and go elsewhere... for now.

Posted by
112 posts

I'm confused, especially when you added that both of you are immunocompromised. I always follow Covid- related threads with interest and sometimes add what I hope is a useful addition.
What's not clear is what your usual life at home and precautions are? I had to be unmasked for dental X-rays yesterday for a few minutes and the technician was unmasked, and there we were in the little room, me holding my breath till the point of nearly passing out! I certainly haven't been in any indoor restaurant near my home since before COVID. But I have traveled overseas and a number of times domestically and have avoided it by a stringent masking regimen.
The two co- workers of mine still struggling with long COVID, your example of your very ill colleague and the range of symptoms and experiences on just this forum are evidence of the virus's unpredictable impacts. One person has some mild sniffles, another (my colleague) battles depression 15 months after their case and still can't climb stairs (former athlete).
If you don't mask and etc in the US I think it makes no sense to miss this travel experience in Europe only because you want to be maskless to fully enjoy lingering meals and tastings? (I'm not comfortable outdoors in crowds either, the mask is on.) If you wait for life to return to pre-Covid carefree activities in my opinion it could be a very long time. ..
I hope you come to a decision that works for you, and that your co- worker is feeling better.

Posted by
5 posts

I live in Los Angeles. We dine out only if there's outdoor dining with a decent amount of space between tables. We mask up in any crowded space, outdoor or indoor, but especially indoor. We also mask up if we have to go into the office for work.