Memories of the first lockdown, from the heart of Paris and from a Parisian heart: “Paris had no secrets for me anymore, I had made the most of it…”
“Paris had no secrets for me anymore, I had made the most of it…”. If it hadn’t been for the pandemic, I would have left my Paris, but because of it, my Paris came with me. It was our last dance togheter, not necessarily a Tango. Maybe the Dying Swan, though swans came back instead of dying ! A unique dance, in the end, for me.
During the three months of confinement, every morning I went out early and run across rue Mazarine, had a quick look at the Alcazar, which was full of nice people until some weeks before, and then suddenly: the silence, a strange, surreal silence in rue de Buci. No jazz orchestra, no American accents and beautiful people sitting at the crowded tables, no tropezienne anymore. The iconic Bakery “The Smith” was shut down, for ever. Pizzeria Cesar, which survived at the beginning, closed for ever as well. After two months of home made meals, one evening, I ordered pizza and just the taste of it brought me back to life. Then some life came back in summer, though it didn’t last.
Parks where closed, which is hell for a runner, so I did my stretching in front of Voltaire Statue and his blossoming garden – it was spring after all. Then I went back and forth on Pont des Arts: the beautiful, iconic bridge with still some locks attached. The area was empty. Rich people who lived there went to the countryside and tourists disappeared, we were the four cats around. The river’s water was clearer than ever: many birds around. Pont des Arts, with its wooden floors, made such a gentle noise that brought me to the beautiful Corsican beach of Santa Giulia, where a wooden passerella leads you into the sea, and suddenly I was in that beach, every morning. Moreover, the weather was glorious. Pont Neuf and Île de la Cité, whose roses and garden had never been so beautiful, were my little daily pleasures in a very lonely period. I kept running towards place Dauphine, just in front of Palais de justice, where I run alone in that rectangle made by trees which literally saved my mental and phisical health. On my way back, a last glimpse to the big clock of the Académie Française: time to go, my hour of freedom was fading away.
One year later, far from Paris, I can’t but feel kind of fortunate to have had all that beauty for me only, during the strangest spring of my life.