Bonjour de Paris vide

Last Friday, my computer and my Wi-Fi stopped talking to each other. I have reached out to savvy techy friends and to Apple support. A bit like taking two entities to a therapy session in hopes they will start to get along again. No dice. They refuse. As frustration built—I know nothing about how these things work internally, but am completely dependent on my computer for my work—I hit a wall and just had to laugh. It was one thing after another. By Tuesday evening, I was ready to impulsively buy a new laptop from Apple and have it delivered—even though it wouldn’t be delivered until the end of May. Meanwhile, through extensive searching through way too much stuff, I found an itty bitty keyboard that works with my mini-iPad. Wednesday morning, I woke up and thought “Just use your iPad Sara, make do. Take the time to do some research. Apple stores will probably open up by end of May.” So that’s what I’m doing. This is doing for me what the virus did not do: slowing me down. I can’t get to many of my files. Security for sites like Dropbox is so good, it is next to impossible to jump through the hoops to get to your own work when using a different device. Each time I say a Grrrrrrrr, this is so frustrating, I remind myself that I’m choosing the iPad. No one is doing this to me.

The Louvre and the pyramid. Photo: Brigid Blanco

Having most of my time taken up with problem solving, I haven’t written a blog. Now for the first time, I’m using my what seems to me to be giant finger tips, to type on this itty bitty keyboard. And I’m going to make it easier on myself by showing something no one in my life time has ever seen before two months ago. An empty Paris. A Paris with no tourists bustling around. A Paris without the busyness of cars frantic to get from one side to the other. A Paris where ducks and geese are swimming in the Seine, a river without boats and bateaux mouches.

Walking along the Quai, right bank, towards The Louvre photo: Brigid Blanco

Another gorgeous, sunny Spring day is unfolding in Paris. The irony to me is that this is the earliest Spring we’ve had in many years and most of us are respecting the Confinement guidelines by only being outside for short periods at a time. I read an article in the Guardian that said the change in ocean noise since the lockdown began, is so profound that whales are calling out to each other more. The Belin whale, who are always stressed by the ocean noise, are now destressing. Another reminder of the overwhelming impact, not just the virus is having on us, but our response is having on the planet.

Walking bridge over the Seine looking towards The Louvre, photo: Brigid Blanco

D-Day (J-Jour) is coming on Monday. I wonder if I will have a chance to get into the center of Paris before people hit the streets. I walked up to M&S yesterday and the sidewalks in the 16th were full of people, about 3/4s wearing the recommended face masks. The shoe store near the Passy Poste was open with no one inside. The e-cigarette store on Av Mozart was open. I couldn’t see inside. Two florists near M&S were open for the first time. I bought a bouquet of peonies. The florist made me wait outside while he wrapped the flowers for me to carry home.

Rue de Rivoli – May 5,2020 Photo: Brigid
Pont Alexandre III. Photo: Jeff Waters
side street looking towards Pantheon. Photo: Jeff Waters
Metro station at St. Michel/Notre Dame. Photo: Jeff Waters

Stay strong, stay safe and use your head when deciding whether or not to stay at home.

A bientôt,


Author: Sara Somers

I am retired from my first profession, am from Oakland, California, living in Paris, France since 2013. I love books, movies, and watching everyday life in Paris out my window. Please enjoy my musings as I grow into the author others say I am. I am always open to thoughts and ideas from others about this blog. I like to write about Paris, about France, about the US as seen from France. About France that the US may or may not know.

8 thoughts on “Bonjour de Paris vide”

  1. Thanks for another wonderful blog post Sara, which you managed to get out in spite of your computer tech issues. Bravo! I guess it shows how we’re all managing differently & adapting with less, which in the end, is good for the animals along with decreasing our environmental footprint.
    I haven’t been to Paris for 56 days, since Friday March 13th a few days before confinement started on Tuesday March 17th. Paris was bustling, as usual, with packed public transport and jammed roads. It’s surrealistic to see these photos arriving everyday from some members of our Kelly Tour Group. Our group would have been visiting Pere Lachaise Cemetery today where there are many famous writers, actors, musicians, countesses… it’s always been a welcome, tranquil space away from the noisy, busy, polluted city. Now all of Paris is quiet, empty (vide)…without any signs of life…not unlike a cemetery… which can still be so beautiful.

    1. Hello Sara, I had to smile about “electronics gone bad” and possible Mac in your future? We found buying a bit of a Catch-22 in France, where you register it, but you can’t walk into Apple and BUY it. All keyboards are French. – Patsy

  2. Sara – I am so glad that you continue to be well; as am I. Though I am not at all familiar with the scenes your photos are showing, I certainly know that, in normal times, the scenes would be full of people & cars! I hope you continue to be well. I also continue to be well. I hope you have heard from Peggy and I hope she is well. I believe our planned trip to Scotland in August will be “killed”. Actually, Barb & I have decided to not go simply because we don’t trust that the airlines will be safe. Disappointing on many levels. Susan

  3. Hi Sara,
    So sorry you have had to spend sooooo much time on technology problems!
    I have to use a stylis, instead of my finger, so I don’t make so many spelling errors.
    The pics you chose, are awesome! It remains surreal every day. I continue ue to feel that I’m living in the Twilight Zone and I’ll wake up and realize it was just a horrible nightmare.
    We need to stay safe and wear our masks and gloves, carry sanitizer wipes and remain optimistic that this too shall pass.
    Life will be different, but we will adjust.
    Please stay safe and remain healthy.
    I always look forward to your very newsy updates.

  4. Love your photos! Also empathize with all the technical difficulties since I’ve had my share as well. I never even know who to call for help since I don’t know where the problem resides. That must be a metaphor for something, but I don’t know what. Carry on!

  5. Hello Sara,

    I love these snapshots of your life in Paris, having spent a lot of time there in my youth.

    I am so sorry to hear about your WiFi. Have you tried turning off your computer, and unplugging the box with the flashing lights? Wait 20 seconds, and plug it back in. and turn on the computer. There may be more than one box with flashing lights. The smaller one can stay connected but you need to check that it is securely plugged in.

    Good luck.


  6. Hi Sara,
    This is probably a stupid question, but did you check with your internet provider? I’ve heard that there have been huge problems with the Orange network.
    Historic photos! I especially love the Rivoli ones and the Pont Alexandre ! Wow. It must be so weird.
    Phil went yesterday to bring my ma in law to stay with us. She’s been on her own, near Limoges, for two months. We will be staying mainly confined to keep her and us safe.
    Lots of bisous H.

  7. Oh Sally,

    I’m so sorry to hear about all the wifi/computer issues. Bravo to you for making the most of it! A person could get really down about that, but your choice seems to be the opposite. I imagine the added challenge of knowing your book release is happening next week and all that is involved with that…

    I loved loved loved those photos of empty Paris! In our lifetime, wow, who ever would have guessed. Merci millefois for sharing them!

    Stay healthy and safe,

    bisous, Jane


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