A Letter from Paris by Architectural Digest's Gay Gassmann

The Indagare Community extends across the globe and we are committed to keeping everyone informed and in touch with each other. Architectural Digest Contributing Editor Gay Gassman, who has hosted many trips with AD x Indagare (Marrakech, Beirut, Lisbon, Istanbul, Portugal, Paris) shares her experience of lockdown in Paris:

"I have been an expat my entire adult life, and just like 9/11, this is a challenging and confusing time for me to be outside America. Paris went into lockdown Saturday night and has since, gone into what I call double lockdown, effective Tuesday at noon. In an effort to enforce social distancing and curb the spread of COVID-19, the French government has been compelled to enforce these strict regulations on everyone.

Basically everything is now closed, all business and services with the exception of food stores, pharmacies and banks. Hotels are, for the moment, still open, but with room service only. Public transportation is still running, but trains are slowly down. People are permitted to go out, but only with a signed and written document, issued by the Interior Minister, which you can print out or hand write. All is based on the honor code and you need a new form each day. Fortunately, dog-walking is considered one of those essential outings. Sadly, all the public parks and gardens are closed, but this is France, so bakeries and cheese stores are still open!

It's starting to feel like springtime in Paris, so we are all taking the little moments of joy when possible—a budding branch, flowers getting ready to bloom. Outside my local florist a few days ago were bunches of unsold branches, all bundled up and yours for the taking. Such a small and thoughtful gesture of kindness. Everyone is respectful of social distancing, and the few places which are open have lines outside allowing for lots of space between each customer. Paris feels quiet and empty. If possible, people have taken off to wherever they may be fortunate enough to be able to go and hunker down. The streets are deserted.

But Paris will always be Paris, and even from the confines of our four walls, there are still fresh baguettes and croissants every morning. I rarely eat bread, but am treating myself to a French treat every day, just for the joy and pleasure of a warm pain au chocolat. Stay in, stay safe and best from shelter in place, in Paris."

Published onMarch 19, 2020

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