The father and son are standing at Place Saint-Michel, in Paris, in the heart of this Latin Quarter so often set ablaze by Saturday night fever. Both wait, both observe and glance from time to time at the clock located a few meters further on on the quai de Seine. It is 8:40 p.m. “It’s the first day of the curfew, it’s an event, we want to be there, we live right next door, we will have time to go home …”, proudly declares the father.
More than twenty minutes to go and suddenly, life accelerates as in an old movie of Charlot. The shops lower their curtains, the waiters hurry to enter the terraces, passers-by hasten their pace. It is almost time. Tick tock, tick tock. Some 20 million French people are now required to stay at home between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. in order to contain the second wave of Covid-19, as the government explained to them. And yes, they obeyed and followed the instructions.
8:43 p.m. The city of Saint-Denis already seems to be asleep. The rue Gabriel-Péri, the city’s main artery, has become depopulated. Even the doors of “129”, a kebab famous throughout the department of this popular suburb are closed. Usually, young people from all over the “93” line up there. The sidewalk this evening is deserted.
8:45 p.m. Paris, near Beaubourg. Samuel finishes tidying up tables inside the cafe where he has worked for ten years. He groans, we can hear him get angry. “What do you want me to tell you?” Come on, I’ll play the hypocrite. You see, I close, I respect this formidable law, and all is well… ” But fighting Covid-19 is fundamental, isn’t it? “I am going to tell you one thing and only one: I hope that the future will prove the government right because otherwise, for us, the cafes and restaurants, the price to be paid will be very heavy. “
“Difficult to have dinner while looking at your watch”
8:48 p.m. In Lyon, Frédérique, 50, sits at a table with two couples of friends at the Corsican restaurant “A Cantina”, in the Town Hall district. It’s almost time to leave. The five guests have calculated their travel time. They are being cautious.
“It’s part of our daily life now, we have to adapt, it may last”, explains Dominique; his friends nod. About thirty customers are distributed in the very cozy rooms of the establishment. “Usually on Saturdays, we welcome four times as many, we serve around 120 people, but it’s difficult to dine here looking at your watch”, says the young boss Garry Blaisonneau, 32, while he is preparing exemption sheets so that his twelve employees can return to their homes without problem. ” Customers, testifies Steve, one of the waiters, consume differently. They ask us to choose for them to save time. “
You have 65.15% of this article to read. The rest is for subscribers only.