Covid-19 in France: Here's what Paris looked like an hour before lockdown

Yes, even the Eiffel Tower is closed.

Sumita Thiagarajan| March 19, 06:46 PM

In a bid to limit the spread of Covid-19, France has placed all its citizens under a 15-day confinement.

The 15-day lockdown started at noon on Tuesday (Mar. 17), reported France 24.

Lockdown declared by French President Emmanuel Macron

On Monday (Mar. 16), the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, announced the 15-day lockdown to "severely restrict movements".

When Macron made the announcement on Mar. 16, France had 6,633 confirmed cases and a death toll of 148.

As of Mar. 18, 2020, 8 p.m., France reported a spike in cases and had 9,134 confirmed cases and a death toll of 264, reported France 24.

The French government announced the following measures on Monday, with regards to the lockdown:

  • People asked to stay at home unless they need to buy groceries, travel to work, exercise or seek medical care
  • Those who are found outside their home will need to provide proof of their reasons for travelling, but gatherings of groups are of course not allowed
  • 100,000 officers will be deployed to enforce the lockdown
  • Second round of municipal elections will be suspended
  • EU’s external borders will shut for 30 days, but French nationals will be allowed home
  • French army will be deployed to help transport the sick
  • E€300 billion package to help struggling businesses

Closure of museums, theme parks and other tourist hotspots

Tourist hotspots, such as the Eiffel Tower and Disneyland are currently closed during the 15-day confinement period.

Disneyland Paris announced the closure of their parks and donated excess food from their parks to organisations serving the needy.

Here's are photos of the Eiffel Tower, which is now closed during the lockdown, as seen in the following tweet:

Life under lockdown from a Parisian's perspective

The lockdown, which started on Mar. 17, was put in place to limit social contact amongst those in France.

Ivan Derré, a French citizen, who lives and works in Paris, shared with Mothership what the lockdown looks like from a local's perspective.

On Tuesday (Mar. 17), between 11 a.m. to the lockdown at noon, Derré told Mothership that he took his time to cycle back home from work as he knew he would miss cycling during the 15-day confinement.

According to Derré, he has been working from home since the lockdown on Mar. 17 and has access to food and water.

He told Mothership that his friends from a sailing club he is in usually meet every Tuesday evening at a cafe after work.

However, with the lockdown, him and his friends from his sailing club met online on Tuesday (Mar. 17) via Skype instead.

Unusually empty streets along tourist hotspots

Derré shared that he saw fewer people on the streets and his photos of Paris, before the lockdown on Mar. 17, showed mostly empty streets.

Here's his photo of the street outside Musée d’Orsay, which is ranked number one for museums in Paris on Tripadvisor.

Photo by Ivan Derré

Here's the view of Notre-Dame Cathedral and another photo of an empty road overlooking the same cathedral:

Photo by Ivan Derré

Photo by Ivan Derré

Here's a photo of Place de la Bastille, which is close to Bastille Opera, where a few cyclists and a car are seen on the empty roads.

Photo by Ivan Derré

In a tweet by Reuters, drone footage of the unusually quiet Paris can be seen:

Residents have to fill up a form to go outside or they will face a fine

According to Macron's lockdown announcement on Monday, anyone who leaves their home will have to a sign a document stating where they are going.

Derré confirmed that anyone leaving their homes need to produce a signed form with details on their destination and why they are heading there.

Here's a photo of the form:

photo of form people need to fill up Photo by Ivan Derré

If someone is found violating the rule, they will be issued a fine by the French police.

According to France 24, the French police have issued over 4,000 people with fines on Mar. 18.

It was reported that the fine started at E€38 (S$55) on Mar. 17 and could be increased up to E€375 (S$588).

Top photos by Ivan Derré