Springtime in Paris: Lockdown 3.0

©Lisa Anselmo

Another Easter. Another lockdown. We’d hoped this year would be better than last year, but here we are again.

Cases are skyrocketing in France after a low in early December, largely due to the UK variant, but also because people are not complying with confinement rules with the same enthusiasm they did a year ago. Despite the 7 p.m. curfew and other confinement regulations, there are still parties around town, large groups hanging out drinking—and when you combine all that with a sluggish vaccine rollout, you end up with 4.4 million active cases.

That’s a lot of (maskless) people. Place des Vosges, March 28, 2021. ©Lisa Anselmo

That’s 4.4 million active cases in a country of 65 million. France is second only to the US (6.9 million). But with a population one-fifth that of the US, that’s 6.8% with Covid vs. only 2.1% in the US. (Tests per million are on par ~200K).* We just logged another 66,000 new cases over the weekend.

Here, in Paris, it’s easy to go about your day oblivious to these realities. We’ve had lovely warm, sunny weather, and people are out everywhere enjoying these days. Myself included. If it weren’t for closed café terraces, you’d never know anything was amiss. This time around, we’re much less ill at ease—even though the UK variant is more contagious and severe. Denial? Exhaustion? Or maybe we’re just becoming used to living with this thing. Most people, at least in my neighborhood, are wearing masks—a huge difference from last year, and we’re hoping that vaccine supplies will start to ease up. Macron promised a vaccine center, or “vaccinodrome” in the stadium in Paris, which can vaccinate 10,000 people a week starting tomorrow. Vaccinodrome. Sounds like a Kubrick film.

Information on where and how to get vaccinated in the 11th arrondissement. ©Lisa Anselmo

Hopefully, it will be enough to slow this wave. ICUs are over capacity nationwide; important surgeries and treatments are being put on hold due to lack of beds. Fifty percent of people in ICUs are 45 and younger, which gives you a window on who is mostly circulating, and the potency of this variant. The sound of ambulance sirens is becoming frequent again.

Still, the government has employed only a kind of “lockdown lite” across the nation since March 31 (Paris/Ile de France and 15 other regions were locked down as of March 20th). With this softer, more politically friendly version of lockdown, no travel documents are necessary before curfew, socializing is okay within reason, even travel over the Easter holiday was allowed. But everyone is asking how such a lukewarm effort can possibly be effective against this juggernaut. Is there a master plan?

Place Leon Blum, 11th arrondissement. Who can feel sad with all this blooming going on? ©Lisa Anselmo

In the meantime, I’m playing it safe as I await my turn to be vaccinated, avoiding crowds, but also enjoying life as much as possible. Like lunches al fresco and long walks with friends.

And hey, it’s April in Paris! We have spring to keep us feeling light. When the trees flower and the birds chirp under blue skies, it’s hard not to feel hopeful. Or at least after a year of this, we know that we can get through it. Our spirits are resilient and indomitable.

Lunch on the Bastille boat basin with my buddy. We’re allowed to move about freely with this “lockdown lite.” From my Instagram account.


It must be noted that, while we’re trending down in deaths, we still lost 9144* souls to Covid since March 1st in France. See the latest news on Covid and Paris, here.

*Sources this page: Worldometer.com


Read more of my Paris Lockdown Diary, here.

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7 responses to “Springtime in Paris: Lockdown 3.0

  1. Hi Lisa, I do hope it gets under control. I’ve seen on a few forums where I’d say half the people are “j’en a marre” with it and just give up. Here in SF we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with almost 50% of the city having one shot and things turning more and more to normal. It’s been over a year since I’ve been in Paris (sigh). Hoping to make it there in mid-August for a month but “on verra” … Best, Bill

  2. Dear Lisa,
    So good to hear from you again! We have all had our vaccines and thank goodness the numbers are dropping dramatically here but we are watching events in France v closely to see if there are new variants. The scenes of over-flowing ICUs in Paris were terrifying but I know people there who are still complaining loudly about their lost freedoms! Ah well, maybe after the pandemic we can all finally learn what a precious (and scarce) resource a fully-staffed ICU unit is….
    Look after yourself xx

  3. Nice to have news from you Lisa I hope you get vacinated soon . I will have my 2nd shot in about 3 weeks we all need vacine to help end this. Enjoy your spring time in Paris 🇫🇷

  4. Lisa, so sorry things have not improved as much in France. I know it is very difficult. I also live in California like Bill O’Such, Southern California and we are seeing our restaurants open and thankfully getting more vaccines so we are in a better place. Be safe and carry on! Thanks for your insightful post!

    • Thank you. I hate to be the constant crank, but I also need to be frank about where we stand. So, yeah, that’s me crank and frank. LOL. I’m sad to say the situation in the hospitals has gotten worse since I wrote this article, and yet they are talking about opening up again. Madness. I have told my US friends not come here any time soon unless they have a reason, like property or a visa renewal because the UK variant has taken over the original strain, and it’s not yet verified if our current vaccines will guard against it. With any luck, as vaccines are ramping up, we’ll turn a corner in the next few months.


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