Today in Paris we hold our breaths

Montmartre is the same, but it’s harder to climb the stairs with a mask. I stop to catch my breath.

The whole city is holding its breath since yesterday.

What will they make us do tonight? What will end, shut down? What will be salvaged?

The owner of a fabric shop in the Marché St. Pierre is surprisingly optimistic: “Maybe it will only be a weekend quarantine.” I thought we were well past that. But like her, for a moment, I nod and hold my breath.

The once tourist-choked streets aren’t as crowded now. Some families leisurely stroll and enjoy the sights. There is life. Turn the corner and shops that were open since I first came here are now shuttered.

I hold my breath.

Down the hill, on the rue des Abbesses, flowers cover and tumble from the façade of a café called Le Vrai Paris.

People at café terraces, beauty that cannot be stopped or contained.

This is le vrai Paris.

I hope the flowers will continue to bloom.

I hold my breath.


This post was written to capture a moment, something the entire city is feeling now as we face stricter rules and possibly a second total lockdown. It is not in any way intended to be political.