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Posts from the ‘Côte d’Azur’ Category

on signs of the time during the covid-19 pandemic and talking about it in an interview

I was asked what it is like, as an American living in Antibes, to be in France during the Covid-19 pandemic. Annie from Join Us in France Travel Podcast talked to me and Patricia Perry, who lives in Paris, about our experiences with the mandatory home confinement in France. “What is it like sheltering in place in France?” she asked.

I am often stopped by the police; they want to see my attestation, the reason for going out. Leaving my apartment is becoming a privilege and not a right.

One late afternoon, I was walking next to the rampart that separates Vieil Antibes from the port. No one was ahead of me. I took one photograph of an empty street, put the camera over my shoulder, and stepped a few paces, when I heard motorcycles behind me. I turned. Two police officers stopped and asked for my paper, the attestation. After looking at it, one of them listed, sternly, the fines for breaking the rules. I was told that taking photographs is not on the list of approved activities. I was told to return home. I carry my camera still, but it is hidden under my coat.

Each day at le tabac near my apartment, I buy a national newspaper, Le Monde, and the local paper, Nice-Matin, that covers the news in my region. On Wednesday I want the Télérama, a cultural magazine. One day I asked the woman at the register if le tabac was going to stay open. Immediately, she said yes. It was necessary, she said, for freedom of the press to sustain itself.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

In addition to newspapers, local, national, and international, she sells cigarettes, lottery tickets, and phone service, as do other tabacs. But wait, there’s more!

on one late afternoon in antibes, france during the covid-19 pandemic

Maybe I should have chosen another film. I had watched Fast Times at Ridgemont High the other night. I had forgotten the opening scenes.

I am confined to my apartment in Antibes, France, because of the Covid-19 virus. I must stay one to two meters from others. Some stores have tape on the floor to help me mark the distance. I can go out for one hour for exercise, and if I want to buy food I need to note the time on the attestation when I leave the apartment.

The opening scenes from Fast Times at Ridgemont High startled me. It takes place at the Ridgemont Mall. The mall is crowded; a mob of people are constantly jostling one another. It is noisy with kids. So many scenes, including in the halls of the high school, feel claustrophobic. The last dance of the year, occurring at the end of the movie, is wild and crazy, framing the movie, reminding us of the opening scenes at the mall, with many students and teachers crammed into a tight space. Having fun.

During my first walk one morning, I pointed to a sign with the word, “restaurant.” I explained to my companion, who was a discreet distance away, “This is called a restaurant. People used to come to places like this, sit down, and someone would bring food. It was a marvelous idea.”  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.) But wait, there’s more!

on living in france during the coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic

On March 16, 2020 President Macron announced new restrictions to stop the swiftly spreading coronavirus: stay home. If it is necessary to leave the home, you must carry a paper with your signature, verifying your address and your purpose for leaving the home. It is called the “Attestation de Déplacement Dérogatoire.”

There are five legitimate reasons for leaving a home. Two apply to me; I can check one of two boxes: I can leave my apartment to buy food, or I can leave for a brief period to walk. In Antibes, where I live, I can go no further than 500 meters from the apartment.

During the first two days of the restrictions, I was stopped three times. Each time, I was challenged by a group of three officers. Others who might arrive were asked to stop and show their attestations. While walking, I saw officers stop cars at round-abouts where they asked for the paper.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.) But wait, there’s more!

look, it is bonne mère, the basilique notre-dame de la garde

She who governs the roads of the sea,
Who shines above the waves and the sun,
The giantess standing behind the blue hours,
high gold inhabitant of a long white country,
Christian Pallas of the Gauls.  –Valery Larbaud

I hastened to go up to Notre-Dame de la Garde, to admire the sea bordered with the ruins the laughing coasts of all the famous countries of Antiquity.  –Chateaubriand

Stand any where in Marseille and you will probably see the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde. There is no escaping its presence high on the hill. In this respect, it is much like the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

As a popular tourist destination, it offers a spectacular 360 degrees panoramic view of Marseille and the Mediterranean Sea.

One can choose many ways to go up the hill: public transportation, ie the city bus; the small tourist train; the tourist bus; and walk. I take the #60 city bus from the Vieux Port. To descend I enjoy walking down, choosing a different direction in order to see an unexplored part of the city.

It takes a little planning, but one can climb to the basilica via some neighborhood streets and via a path that approaches from the side that faces the Vieux Port. A decent digital map, such as Google maps or ViaMichelin, can help navigate some of the alleys and side streets.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.) But wait, there’s more!