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!