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French Culture – Responding to a Crisis Posted by on Mar 24, 2020 in Business, Culture, Politics, Vocabulary

Last week it still felt like we could ignore what is happening outside, at least here in the US. As France, following la Chine (China), l’Italie (Italy), l’Espagne (Spain)et bien d’autres pays (and many other countries) started to ask people to stay home and to keep physical distance, I know I for one wanted to focus on hope for a quick return to normal. How fast things change.

Le Confinement

France is now officially on lock down. Désormais (From now on/for now) French people can only leave their homes for one of cinq raisons (5 reasons). In order to go out, les Français must fill out une attestation de déplacement dérogatoire (official explanation for an exceptional outing).

The only legitimate reasons for going out now are:

Déplacements entre le domicile et le lieu de travail, lorsqu’ils sont indispensables à l’exercice d’activités ne pouvant être organisées sous forme de télétravail Trips from home to a workplace, when they are required by the work and cannot be replaced by virtual meetings
Déplacements pour effectuer des achats de première nécessité dans des établissements autorisés Shopping trips for neccessities in approved shops
Déplacements pour motif de santé For health reasons
Déplacements pour motif familial impérieux, pour l’assistance aux personnes vulnérables ou la garde des enfants For critical family needs, to care for vulnerable people or to take care of children
Déplacements brefs, à proximité du domicile, liés à l’activité individuelle et aux besoins des animaux de compagnie Short excursions close to home, for individual sports or to address the needs of pets

Malheureusement (Unfortunately/sadly) not everyone is taking these consignes (rules) seriously (as you can see in this video) and so the government has had to crack down, closing beaches, increasing patrols, and handing out des amendes (fines) starting at € 135 (~ 145 USD).

Il y a même un meme qui circule sur Facebook qui dit “Les Français … Quand il faut descendre dans la rue il y a personne et quand il faut pas y aller, ils y vont!” (There is even a meme making the rounds on Facebook that says: “The French … when they need to take to the streets there is no one, but when they’re not supposed to, there they go!”)

Au pied de la Tour Eiffel désertée, le moindre passant est contrôlé. Pour faire respecter les consignes de confinement, la présence des forces de l’ordre a été renforcée.” (At the empty base of the Eiffel Tower, any passerby was detained. In order to enforce the rules, more police officers were added.)

Comme si cela ne suffisait pas …

And if that wasn’t enough … I know it’s a silly little thing, but I was saddened to learn that the Coronavirus and Covid-19 have caused the cancellation of the Eurovision song contest for the first time ever. Maybe – as so many are doing during these times – they’ll be able to come up with some way to bring the artists together virtually for a moment of détente (relaxing of tensions).

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Photo by Florent B. from Pexels

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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Lise: Maybe not always. Paris has ways of making people forget. / Jerry: Paris? No, not this city. It's too real and too beautiful. It never lets you forget anything. It reaches in and opens you wide, and you stay that way. / An American in Paris