Croque monsieur

France has been creeping (or bursting, in some cases) out of lockdown. As of May 11th, people can come and go without carrying a written permission slip. The outdoor markets, hairdressers, and other types of shops have reopened, under the advisement of the health ministry, who is encouraging people to wear masks and practice social distancing, keeping 1 meter (3-feet) apart from others. Some stores…

France has been creeping (or bursting, in some cases) out of lockdown. As of May 11th, people can come and go without carrying a written permission slip. The outdoor markets, hairdressers, and other types of shops have reopened, under the advisement of the health ministry, who is encouraging people to wear masks and practice social distancing, keeping 1 meter (3-feet) apart from others. Some stores (and people) have been strict about this, while others remain cavalier.

No one quite knows where this is going, with many proclaiming “It’s over!” while I’m remaining prudent. But on June 2nd, restaurants and cafés may be allowed to reopen.

While everyone waits, some restaurants in Paris have started serving food-to-go, either to pick up sur place, or be delivered. We’ve had food delivery services for a number of years, which are popular, but their offerings lean heavily on burgers, poke bowls, and bagel sandwiches, which aren’t very inspiring to me. In response to the virus, better-quality restaurants have gotten on the bandwagon and even my local French bistro is serving la cuisine française for pick-up…although bringing home a Steak-frites and Frisée salad in a box isn’t quite the same as sitting inside with a carafe of vin rouge.

For the record, I would love it if restaurants were allowed to put tables on the sidewalks and squares, distanced apart, which clients from any of the nearby restaurants would be allowed to use. (And while we’re at it, and since it’s my fantasy, let’s make the tables no-smoking, too.) Diners could still interact and remain “together,” as if they were inside, but if restaurants can only operate at half-capacity, most dining rooms are just too small and the profit margins are just too tight to make a go if it if they can only fill half of those seats.

In other news, I know a lot of you out there have been making your own bread. And I can’t think of a better use for it than to make yourself a Croque monsieur.

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France Comes out of Lockdown

Today Paris, and all of France, comes out of lockdown. The government has relaxed restrictions and you’ll no longer need an attestation (self-written consent form) to leave your home or apartment. The country has been divided into two zones, red and green, determining where the virus is spreading most rapidly. You can view the map here. (Paris is départment 75.) Restrictions vary by zone, but…

Today Paris, and all of France, comes out of lockdown. The government has relaxed restrictions and you’ll no longer need an attestation (self-written consent form) to leave your home or apartment. The country has been divided into two zones, red and green, determining where the virus is spreading most rapidly. You can view the map here. (Paris is départment 75.) Restrictions vary by zone, but here are some general guidelines, which are subject to change:

-Gatherings of up to 10 people will now be allowed.

-Schools are reopening, starting with elementary schools with reduced amounts of students (15) in each class, with a promise that classrooms will be regularly disinfected. A gradual increase in proposed to open junior and senior high schools, as the month progresses.

-Trains and public transit will gradually increase in service. Some métro stations will remain closed, however, and the RATP will operate at 75% of capacity. They are relying on a “civic duty and responsibility pact” with passengers to adhere to the rules. Seats will be blocked off in an effort to keep riders at a distance from each other. (The métro this morning was standing-room-only.) Workers in Paris will need to supply documentation from their employers in order to use public transportation to get to and from work.

[Note: Social distancing guidelines in France are to keep 1 meter (3 feet) apart from others. In the U.S., those guidelines are 2 meters (6 feet.)]

-Masks will be distributed to Navigo (transit pass) subscribers at certain métro stations. They will be required on public transit as well as in ride-shares like Uber and Kaptain. Pharmacies will receive a certain amount of reusable masks that can be handed out for free from May 11 to June 8 if you sign up at the Paris.fr website. Hand sanitizer will also be provided at public transit stations. The price of hand gel is regulated in France, but because masks vary by quality, design, and materials, there is no fixed price on them yet. French President Emmanuel Macron has been wearing a mask in public to encourage people to wear them as an act of civic duty and patriotic pride.

-Small museums will be allowed to open but larger museums, like the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay, will remain closed.

-Restaurants, cafés, and hotels will remain closed until at least June 2nd, when measures will be reviewed. However many restaurants and food-related businesses have started offering meals to-go. Most are putting that information on either their websites, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.

-Some shops will start opening today, at the owner’s discretion. Owners may limit the number of people in their shops at the same time and require purchases to be made by credit card. Food stores, supermarkets, and bakeries remain open. Outdoor markets are scheduled to reopen providing they take precautions regarding following proper hygiene procedures and social distancing recommendations. The city of Paris has launched a website where you can get items delivered to your home from some of the outdoor market vendors. The website is here.

-Depending on the region, and whether you are zone red or green, some parks (and perhaps beaches) may be open.

-The Health Minister announced that France now has the ability to test 700,000 people per week and said they will begin doing so. Testing will be overseen by the public health department.

-The borders of Europe still are closed to international travel and France is under a state of “Health Emergency” until July 24th. There’s been no indication or notice given when that will be lifted but the government is planning to release a reopening of tourism plan by the end of May. For updated information about tourism, I advise you to check with the embassy of your country for guidance if you have current or future travel plans.

Visit the official French government website with information on the coronavirus here.

France24 also has French news in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic. RFI is another multilingual news source in France.

The Tunnel Cocktail (from Cravan, Paris)

Note: Join me and Franck as he mixes up this Tunnel cocktail today on my IG Apéro Hour, live from…Cravan! Join us at 6pm CET, Noon ET, and 9am PT. Go to my Instagram profile at that time and click on my profile picture when there is a red circle around it, which means we are live. You can also watch us in replay on…

Note: Join me and Franck as he mixes up this Tunnel cocktail today on my IG Apéro Hour, live from…Cravan! Join us at 6pm CET, Noon ET, and 9am PT. Go to my Instagram profile at that time and click on my profile picture when there is a red circle around it, which means we are live. You can also watch us in replay on my IGTV channel. More information about how to tune in, and watch live, as well as in replay, here.

One of my favorite spots in Paris is Cravan. It’s not right in the middle of town, nor is it in the popular St. Germain area, or the trendy 10th or 11th arrondissements. But a few métro stops is all it takes to find yourself at one of the loveliest little outposts in the city.

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The Making of Drinking French

A few years ago, after My Paris Kitchen came out, I began thinking about what I’d write about next. Whenever you have a book come out, the most common question is, “What’s your next book?” Sometimes you already have an idea, but other times, it’s nice to sit back and enjoy what you’ve written. I was happy that people took to that book so much,…

A few years ago, after My Paris Kitchen came out, I began thinking about what I’d write about next. Whenever you have a book come out, the most common question is, “What’s your next book?” Sometimes you already have an idea, but other times, it’s nice to sit back and enjoy what you’ve written. I was happy that people took to that book so much, and after a respite, I started thinking about what to write about next.

Because I was asked about it so much, I decided that telling the story of my apartment renovation would make an interesting book, which turned out to be true, knowing that people would be surprised at what a comedy of errors it turned out to be.

But another subject I found myself becoming more and more interested in was the culture and traditions of French drinkings, and the drinks themselves. I submitted both proposals at once, nearly six years ago, in a two-book arrangement with my publisher, deciding to tackle the renovation story first while it was still fresh in my mind and take on French drinks when I was done. That ended up being a good thing…because I needed a drink after reliving L’Appart…and from what many of you have told me after reading it, so did you!

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Weekend Reads

Thanksgiving is (kinda) just around the corner and you can check out this round-up of Thanksgiving Recipes here on the blog. Rather than getting all stressed out, though, maybe think of making less…and having more fun. As a French friend once told me, “We don’t go out to eat for the food. We go out to be with our friends.” Another friend in Paris told…

Thanksgiving is (kinda) just around the corner and you can check out this round-up of Thanksgiving Recipes here on the blog. Rather than getting all stressed out, though, maybe think of making less…and having more fun. As a French friend once told me, “We don’t go out to eat for the food. We go out to be with our friends.” Another friend in Paris told me that when she entertains, she serves only three things, which may not pan out for T-day spreads; I can skip the marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes…but not the turkey, stuffing, purée (mashed potatoes), and cranberry sauce.

Every November I get asked by a few people, “What do the French do for Thanksgiving?” Since it’s an American holiday, I don’t think they want to be in the mishigas of cultural appropriation, sp they’re fine to let us have it, and don’t do anything to celebrate. That said, some butchers in Paris stock whole turkeys (pro-tip: Stay away from butchers in upscale neighborhoods. The prices some of them sell them for are insane), and go to a regular butcher shop elsewhere. Even better, if you order in advance, some butchers may be willing to put the turkey on the same rôtisserie they use for roast chickens, to cook for you, which is a godsend if you have a petit apartment oven.

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