I always admired Paris since the moment I moved here from the Netherlands. Being forced to spend more time inside and going from 120 days travelling around the world every year since 8 years to practically no travel at all, has given me a different view on the area I live, le Marais. Maybe even a different view on life and the way I live. A renewed energy to be grateful for always having been able to travel, explore different cultures, meet new people and learn from all that. And grateful to live in in the heart of one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Without the tourists and less crazy traffic during the lockdown, the city sounds different and the smell of nature is more prominent than normally. Even the light seems to look different around sunset. Or maybe we are normally too distracted to see them. I remember the first week of the lockdown in March, walking next to the Seine, closing my eyes, smelling freshly fallen rain and listening to the sounds of singing spring birds and the water rippling slowly through the Seine. It was as if I was in a forest of tranquility in the eye of the Covid-19 storm.
With the 1km radius restrictions (#attestation), the highlight of my day was watching the sunset from a small bench on pont d’Arcole, with a view on the Conciergerie. Often I was the only one, immersed in my own thoughts and absorbing the sun light pushing its last strength of the day through the clouds from behind the buildings, using the Seine as a reflection of the light spectacle playing in the air in front of me. “10 more minutes before my 1 hour of freedom is over”, I thought, “OK, one more picture”. These were days where I hoped that these were the last days of freedom limitations due to the Covid-19 situation. They weren’t.
Sander van Roest