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Paris July 2020 Impressions.

I was fortunate enough to have been able to spend the last 5 days in Paris. These are my impressions and observations.
I went to the Louvre, d'Orsay and the Montmartre museums. All on different days. Both the Louvre and the d'Orsay required timed entries. I had first of the day entries to both. I would estimate there were 100 people in line. At the Louvre, I followed the signs to the Mona Lisa. There were maybe 5 people in front of the painting. (no selfies!).The rest of the museum was practically empty. The d'Orsay had more visitors, but then it is so much smaller, it may have just seemed that way. I could stand and stare at any painting for as long as I wanted and not be in anyone's way. Degas' Little Dancer and I were all alone.
I saw 2 other people in the Montmartre museum. I pretty much had the place to myself. It was great!

It was both wonderful and overwhelming. So much to see. How should I spend my time? (How would you?) The proverbial kid in the candy shop. At 72, I eventually gave out physically and mentally, and had to quit.

Paris, itself, was very busy. Lots of traffic in the main streets. The sidewalks were not very crowded. The cafes were maybe 30% full. My hotel, an old standby, the Grand Hotel des Balcons, did not have many guests. They only had 2 floors open. They told me there would be no problem with a late check out as they did not need the room.

Everyone that I encountered was very nice to me. Very friendly. I have never had such joyous waitstaff.

It is my impression, that underneath the joy, is apprehension. Are we going to make it? Could the virus come back? I keep thinking of the look on the desk clerk at the hotel as she pointed to the filled key box and told me I could check out whenever I wished.

I know I was immensely lucky to be in the right place at the right time. And for those that wish to know: I don't feel it is any more dangerous in Amsterdam, where I live, than Paris. I'm careful. Parisians are careful. Benefit vrs Risk.

Posted by
1961 posts

Thanks for the report. Many of us here remain interested in what life is like in Europe right now. I'm glad you got to see the city in "undertouristed" form but also hope that business picks up for the small companies that are hurting right now.

Posted by
5728 posts

Thank you for sharing your recent experiences in Paris.

Posted by
9421 posts

Benefit vs Risk

This guides our approach to the virus as well. If only everyone did so! Thanks for the on-the-ground report..

Posted by
421 posts

Question......did you see any masks? Here in Tennessee they have been mandated and people are faithfully wearing them everywhere......just curious if that is everywhere. Thank you for your report....so hoping my husband and I can get to Switzerland in September....we both had the virus in March and this is our celebratory “WE MADE IT” trip.......

Posted by
4214 posts

Thanks for the report, and congratulations on getting to see those museums with so few other people. This is Europeans' big chance to see their continent without having to share it with all the rest of us. I envy you all that chance and hope you'll make the most of it. Then you'll be able to look after the rest of us when we eventually return to your beautiful cities and countries. ;-)

Posted by
321 posts

Masks: Mandated on all public transportation, tram and train stations, museums. All service personnel, restaurants, hotels, bus, cab drivers, shops. You could not enter some of the shops without a mask, but there didn't seem to be any specific pattern. Lots of hand sanitizer available.
On the street, sadly, not so much. Maybe 10%.
These are only my observations. I'm not sure on the regulations.

Posted by
7686 posts

Oh Kateja...I actually teared up when I read your sentence about the desk clerk and the filled key box. My heart just broke for the hotels and restaurants that I love to go visit.

I can also understand your mixed joy...SO much to see and yet we have physical limitations. Yes, I've worn myself out in those museums and yes, I'd do it again. Were the food outlets open in the Louvre?

Thank you for your report! I'm so happy you went.

Posted by
849 posts

Life goes on in France and it is getting worse and worse here. I would give anything to be in France right now.

Posted by
5436 posts

Further to Kateja’s excellent post, I can fill in the gaps on the regulations concerning masks:

Required on all public transport (not just for example on the trains, but as soon as you enter the station too, until you leave the system). I would say i usually see about 99% compliance on the metros that I take— most people have them on; there is always at least one person without one, or with it hanging under their nose. But really usually only one.

Required in taxis, Ubers etc

Required to go to restaurants — when entering and walking to your table (and leaving), or if you get up to go to the restroom. Servers must wear masks.

Each store owner is allowed to make their own determination as to whether they will require masks for people to enter their establishment. I would say most but not all do. I wear mine if I go inside anywhere.

My doctor’s office requires them, but I had a (quite distressed) friend take her son to a pediatrician’s appointment a couple of weeks ago and even the doctor wasn’t wearing a mask. That shocked her.

Not required out on the streets. I vary my wearing out on the street — I mostly don’t if I am somewhere with broad-enough sidewalks and lowish (by my own estimation) density of people. If I feel it’s a more crowded space, I will put it on.

The press is reporting that authorities are considering requiring masks in all closed spaces. So that may be next.

Posted by
7146 posts

I really enjoyed reading your impressions Kateja, thank you.
Glad you got to the Orsay, it’s my favorite.

Posted by
1516 posts

Kateja, thanks for your report. I miss Paris. It was nice to read about your trip and your impressions.