Letter from Paris: October News Digest and More

   2278    5
Letter from Paris: October News Digest and More

The big news this week in Paris? The city and three surrounding departments (Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis and Val-de-Marne) have become “maximum alert zones” due to the rising number of cases of COVID-19. (The incidence rate is more than 250 cases per 100,000 people, and the proportion of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units is more than 30 percent.) New restrictions have thus come into force, including the closure of bars.

Restaurants are allowed to stay open, but with stricter sanitary protocols. Case in point: Once you’re seated at your table, you are required to fill out a personal information form to facilitate contact tracing (if it should become necessary). Additional regulations include the banning of gatherings of more than 10 people in public, the prohibition of amplified music in public areas, and the continued closure of gyms and swimming pools. Theaters and cinema are open with strict health measures in place.

Museums also remain open and there’s such a tempting array of exhibitions in Paris right now– from Banksy to Picasso. One of our favorites? Get a glimpse of Turner’s works from the Tate London, now on exhibit at the Musée Jacquemart-André, the jewel-box of a museum in the eighth arrondissement. (The tearoom alone is worth a trip- and oui, it’s still open during the pandemic.)

The talk of the town? The Gabrielle Chanel show at the Palais Galliera, the city’s fashion museum, newly reopened after a two-year closure for renovation. Stay tuned for an in-depth review in next week’s Bonjour Paris newsletter.

Speaking of fashion, Paris is in the full throes of fashion week as we write this. No one describes the event better than Vanessa Friedman in the recent New York Times article, “The Glorious Absurdity of Paris Fashion.” (Subheading: Balenciaga was great, Chanel was lumpy, and Thom Browne had spaceships.) Describing the “giant floating dachshund spaceship” that closed the Thom Browne show, Friedman writes:

“And it crystallized the absurdity of the whole exercise: of holding fashion month in the midst of a pandemic; of pressure by the French government (according to multiple sources) on fashion houses to go ahead as close to usual as possible, the better to support the hard-hit industry, despite the masks and social distancing and security measures put in place.”

{Gauche} Robe, automne-hiver 1964-1965. Paris, Palais Galliera. {Droite} Robe, printemps-été 1959. Paris, Patrimoine de CHANEL © Julien T. Hamon

Meanwhile, the city’s expats can’t stop talking trash about the new Netflix series Emily in Paris. Darren Star, the creator of Sex in the City, has created a glamorous fantasy version of Paris, in which a young American moves to Paris and endures the inevitable pitfalls and culture clashes.

Full of cliches and stereotypes, the show is dishing out some much-needed escapism to Paris-starved viewers (mostly in the U.S.) who are missing their jaunts to the City of Light. But— the critics say— the producers could’ve done so much more! Just check out the jokes on Twitter. Stay tuned for a full-fledged review soon on Bonjour Paris…

Lead photo credit : Photo by Pedro Szekely/ Flickr

More in covid-19, letter from paris, pandemic in paris, Paris news

Previous Article Bonjour Paree! Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire in ‘Funny Face’
Next Article Pierre de Ronsard: Poetry in a Time of Dislocation

BP's expert editorial team includes some of the city's top English-language journalists.


  • Patou Schneider
    2020-10-08 07:01:06
    Patou Schneider
    I rent our apt. in Paris for several weeks each year, know the city so well and have great friends there. We're supposed to return the end of this month but with Covid 19 and the restrictions imposed on U.S.-European travel waylaying those plans until the spring (j'espere!), I watched "Emily in Paris' with initial optimism; however, it's a disappoint, cliche-ridden series trafficking in the lamest and worst of clueless, bore-is American tropes. Darren Starr failed massively here. At least "Sex and the City', while completely unrealistic in its portrayal of life in the real NYC (and I live there), had its moments of real-ness and down to earth depictions of friendship, illness and heartbreak. "Emily" has none of that, and all the irritating nonsense that doses't depict la vrai Paris. While Carrie Bradshaw was a self-absorbed, annoying character, at least the other characters leveled her out. "Emily" doesn't even have that to redeem it-and we're stuck to watch Lily Collins portray a dopey young woman I'd go out of my way to avoid. A tres bientot, Paris!