Daily US Times: Fear is not something 88-year-old Mathilde gives into easily. Sitting on the terrace of her local bistro in Paris, she sipped a fizzy drink, as the morning sunshine drew perspiration from her glass. This is the start of cafe life with new normal.
She said: “I’ve been waiting for this. To be surrounded by people, not to be alone anymore!”
Public life in Paris has always demanded a little extra effort. For its restaurants and cafes that means new rules on seating, new cleaning procedures, hand sanitiser everywhere you look.
Her friend Annie, 10 years younger, said: “Of course I’m scared. But, you know, at our age we don’t have much time left, so at some point we have to just do it.”
Many people have expressed relief that Paris’s cafes and bars are open again; their terraces full.
She says, during the lockdown, there were two cities that were particularly emptied. One is Paris and the other is Venice. Paris, to show how difficult it was to recognise the city without people enjoying it; Venice, to show what the city looked like without tourists.
Delphine, a long-term Paris resident, said: “I loved it even more. You heard the birds. I had an end-of-lockdown blues; I felt a bit attacked that people were back in the streets.”
She has two young daughters and lives near the Sacré-Cœur church.
As lockdown began to ease, she and other young parents took camping stools into the streets of Montmartre to watch their children play football.
Delphine says, recently a man leaned out of a window and told them that he was working from home, and asked them to stop making so much noise.
“Behind him we could hear his wife screaming at us to leave. Clearly they were at breaking point,” she said.
Not all Parisians were unhappy
Not everyone in the city are pleased with easing the lockdown measures. Alane Kadouri, a psychiatrist at the Cochin Hospital in Paris in among them. He says he was surprised by the number of people who actually preferred confinement.
He explained: “Those who are afraid of social relationships felt secure during the lockdown.”
”Those who find love life complicated didn’t have to ask themselves questions; and the teens were happy to stay at home to play video games and be on social media.”
He said, there was a big gap between the experience of ordinary citizens and many nurses at his hospital.