Christmas in Paris

The weather is chilly here in Paris, very cold (37oF)in the morning, rising as high as 43oF in the mid-afternoon. Sunday, the wind was so strong that TV and internet were advising people not to drive but, if you had to, to take special care. Yesterday, snow fell in Normandy where my friends live and here in Paris, we were supposed to get a glimpse of white stuff but no such luck. Snow is no longer a frequent visitor to Paris. When I was young, snow fell and stayed for weeks. Men selling chestnuts wrapped in newspaper would stand on the bridges and anywhere else that tourists would frequent. They were delicious and warmed your hands as you munched.

Covid-19 has changed most lives here in Paris. Fearing another French Revolution (my opinion), Macron lifted the second lockdown on December 15th. The idea that Parisians could not spend Christmas with their friends and family was unthinkable. At the same time, we had new curfew hours: 8pm-6am. The curfew would be lifted for Christmas Eve but not New Years Eve. The roads leaving Paris were parking lots for miles. I had plans to go to Brittany to spend Christmas and New Years in the tiny hamlet of Kerprouet where my friend, Roland, has property. Ninety minutes before the train was to leave, the news from the night before went through my head. A new strain of the virus had shut down most of the UK. It seemed like russian roulette to think it hadn’t made it to Paris. It had broken out in spain and in South Africa. I didn’t want to be one of those people who thinks I’m the exception, that when we are advised not to travel, those suggestions applied to others not to me. So I canceled out of prudence and had a very sad day–one of the saddest since the Pandemic started.

Champs Elysees

It didn’t seem like anyone was going to rescue me so I settled in for two weeks of reading, Netflix and other streaming stations, and a bit of purging. My cutlery drawer in the kitchen is sparkling and has far less things to choose from. I found some very interesting movies from 1947, the year I was born, on YouTube. One was Christmas Eve starring George Raft, George Brent, Joan Blondell. I consider myself a movie buff but I’d never heard of that movie. It is terrific. Maybe they line up the 1947 movies one after the other because, without my doing anything, the original Heaven Only Knows, that has inspired many remakes (or is that Here Comes Mr Jordan?), came on. This one stars Bob Cummings as Michael the archangel who comes down to set straight one soul. It is also terrific, easily as good as the Warren Beatty remake Heaven Can Wait. So if I have all these angel movies mixed up, I do apologise. Then there is the Christmas ritual with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Read from 1946: It’s A Wonderful Life on Amazon Prime, the yearly opportunity to review our own lives. It is also showing today on Arte in France.

Bijou, the cat.

I think many families must have left Paris. It’s quiet in the 16th, but stores are open for food and holiday “cheer’. On Tuesday, the powers that be met to decide if we would be going into a third lockdown. It was announced yesterday that No, we wouldn’t be. However, much of Eastern and Northeastern France will be starting a 6pm curfew. They also announced new groupings to get the vaccine. I am now in Group 2 whereas I was in Group 5 known as “Everybody Else.” They are predicting that Group 2 will be vaccinated end of February and March. I know that many people are hoping and praying that things will change in 2021 but the truth is that no one has informed the virus that things are to change on January 1. I fear a long, dark winter of things getting worse before they get better. What’s surprising to me–and much of French culture surprises me–is that 60% of the French do not want to get vaccinated. They are quite suspicious. All the more reason for me to get the vaccine so I feel safe walking amongst my neighbors.

So today ends 2020, the strangest year of my life. Someone in my writing group, said the cleanest joke she heard this season was: ‘Picture Snoopy at his computer typing a goodbye letter to 2020: “I just want you to know that I am typing this with my middle finger.”‘ It got a good laugh out of me. Most of the people I know will have dinner and go to bed before midnight–something we’ve done for years. But it is also a time of reflection. How did you survive 2020? Much to my surprise, I can honestly say that I mostly lived in acceptance and carefulness. I never questioned what the experts told us. I anticipated a lot of what would happen, I think, because I read my history. Pandemics don’t seem to change that much. How people deal with them changes.

I took some wonderful photos of lights in Paris but for some reason, WordPress won’t let me upload them–for reasons of security!!! So you are getting some recycled photos from last year!!!

Have a safe, a healthy, and hopefully a happy New Year. My very best to all of you. Thank you for being readers of this blog! I appreciate each and every one of you.

A bientôt,

Sara

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.

11 thoughts on “Christmas in Paris”

  1. Sara,

    I always love reading your blog! I feel like I am looking out your window as well.

    I was a little shocked at first to read about the 60% of French people who distrust the vaccine. But then I remembered my good friend and partner in design who is French and know her defiance against being told to do anything. She’s softer and more introspective now that she is more americanized and is shocked by her family’s attitudes when she returns to France (often). So there it is.

    I wonder if you have heard about my own blog and if you would like to give it a look, a try. There is the same kind of honesty (I think).

    Here’s a link:

    https://www.breathinginspanish.com/blogs

    As I think you know, I am a She Writes Press author.

    Sara—it occurs to me just now that we might collaborate some time—issues in France and in New York/US—or even Panama, where I’m from originally. Do a joint blog in some way—a conversation between us. Just a glimmer of a thought right now…but why not?

    Best wishes to us all in 2021. Continue growing into the author everyone knows you are.

    Marlena

    Marlena Maduro Baraf White Plains, NY (914) 525-9249 http://www.marlenamadurobaraf.com

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  2. Happy New Year, Sara. I just love your posts. They bring back memories of our year living in Paris–2014/2015 and trigger my longing to go back to France. What a year for you! A terrific book in print! Keeping writing, my friend. Your readers love you.

  3. Hey, Sally! I do hope you are having a “Happy New Year”! I am glad you had a good Christmas. I had a quiet one. We, here at Trezevant, are still being encouraged to “stay put” but we can also get out and about. What, if anything, do you hear from Peggy? Susan

  4. Happy New Year Sara and to all your readers. It’s probably unanimous that everyone is happy to say goodbye to 2020 and no one knows what 2021 will bring. You wrote about a lot of films you enjoyed watching again and one at least, discovering. I heard on a podcast that if we had to rate 2020, like we do films it would get ” half a star – Not recommended”. Happy. Healthy New Year 2012/ Bonne Année 2021 et Bonne Santé 🌟 Bisous 😘 Barbara in Marly-le-Roi, France

  5. I haven’t written to you in a long time, but I want you to know that I read and love your posts. You have set up a wonderful like for yourself and I envy that. We all hate this COVID, but at least you don’t have to listed to the orange nutmeg. Have a happy and healthy new year. Paula

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  6. Thanks, Sara. I enjoyed reading this on my quiet New Year’s Eve. Jim went to bed by 8:15 (he has been sick) and I had a nice long talk with another “loner” friend from the program in Paris, who now lives in New Mexico. It’s time to write the final installment of The Plague Diary Volume 10, draw my monthly self-portrait, and cuddle Hector who is nuzzling me. Who needs more company? Love to you, Alice

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  7. Hi Sara,
    Happy, healthy New Year!
    You are sooo right about Russian Roulette! This Virus has me more worried now, than when we first heard about it, since we know the damage it can do and has done. Now we hear about a more contagious strain that is in Colorado, California and Florida.
    We are leaving for St. Pete Beach, FL., for 3+ wks. This mutation is 56-65 % more contagious, so there goes visiting any family, or friends!
    We hope we will be able to receive the vaccine in Feb., or March, but is slow going bringing the doses of the vaccine to those age groups most in danger.
    Let us hope Spring looks more promising for the vaccine and we begin to reduce the number of positive cases and hospitalizations.
    Hugs from afar,
    Dee

  8. Imagine not being able to meet via zoom or even to see photos of loved ones if you do Facebook or Instagram. Although they may have a few faults I appreciate being able to converse with someone such as yourself and to read your blog. The internet has helped somewhat with the solitude as have your descriptive writings. I absolutely loved the Snoopy joke. Best regards.

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