Based in Paris | Coping with COVID in a Silent City

Silvery Silent Seine

Paris, Seine, hush of serenity as the sun begins descent

Paris coping with COVID-19

Below is a photo article written by Aurore Rominger as she walked through a quiet and locked-down Paris. It is a glimpse into the other side of a city that is usually bustling with life. A quieter, more still side. Enjoy.

Silence in the city

It was a year away when the authorities first said,

“No, you can not go out to play.

There is great danger lurking about.

You must remain. Stay home.

Stay. Stay. Stay.”

I’ve been a lucky one. I and all of my family have remained well during the past year. Last Spring was the most beautiful of springtime seasons in Paris that I can remember. Warm and gentle days were offering only subtle whispers in variability; far different to the temperature swings of ‘normal’ springtime in Paris.

Walking the quiet streets

I sat in the window, where the sun reached me directly. I overlooked the sidewalk and watched the minimal numbers of passers-by from my ground-floor apartment in Paris. Literally, in the open window, I sat like a black cat daily so as to take an ample dose of vitamin D. I never filled out an attestation form to pop out to the market, bank, or pharmacy. Until one day in May. I was two days short of freedom’s welcomed return when I suddenly realised that I had missed all of the – ‘not goings on’ –  and I wanted to experience it and capture it for myself.


Paris Louvre Palace, in a tame and tranquil moment

Paris Louvre Palace radiates the quiescence of history

A moment captured

What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” ~ Karl Lagerfeld, (1933 – 2019)

Today, I attest this quote to be true. The first sounds of silence from this restrictive period permeating in shock, disbelief uncertainty, and even fear, never will be recaptured as it was here.

The quieter you become the more you are able to hear.” ~ Rumi (1207 – 1273)

A site that, on a 'normal' day in the sun and shade along the Seine, would host a picnic

Popular picnic site barred from entry.

The sound of silence

Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom. ~ Francis Bacon.

Spaces guarded against entry. The feeling of the city was as though she has been polishing herself clean during the past month’s respite from never-ending full-time occupancy.

Parisians with children are sensiblily authorised to take an outdoor breather

Museum grounds appear to be temporarily reserved for Parisians.

Noise creates illusions. Silence brings truth. ~  Maxime Lagacé, 1993.

Even children know the wisdom of silence and of the space needed to become whomever one is at her or his best.

Paris know for her life of cafes, Closed.

Chairs, stacked and sidelined metaphors of Parisian life.

It is perhaps a truth to be discovered, albeit by force, that All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone. ~ Blaise Pascal (1623 – 1662)

'Paris Life' metaphore - lockdown

Locks along the Pont d’Iéna, symbol of love and lockdown.

Creativity in COVID-19

It is possible that in locking us out of our exterior distractions, the monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulate the creative mind. ~ Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955).

Perhaps it has been an opportunity for increased space in which to explore ways to expand each of our own creative minds.

La Pause, once a welcome rest stop becomes ceaselessly sidelined

La Pause,1 Rue de Solferino, 75007 Paris, once a welcomed dining delight has surrendered service for now.

A fool is known by his speech, and a wise man by silence. ~ Pythagoras ( c. 570 – c. 495 BC). It also valid that a pause and offering of silence may be the best response in certain examples.

The Flow stops here , temporarily

Le Flow s’arrêt The Flow stops (temporarily).

Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” ~ Dorothea Lange, (1895 – 1965).

The flow of the river Seine or any river never stops, only photography can hold it quietly.

Mozza&, temporarily imobile, and out of actionMozza & Co, normally mobile service. Left Bank 11 Quai Anatole France 75007 Authentic and well-appreciated trattoria service subdued.

If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet…maybe we could understand something. ~ Federico Fellini (1920 – 1993).

The COVID-19 experience

In summary, I for one, feel that I have used the COVID-19 experience to my benefit. Through my practices, I have prevented it from using me. And I do agree that “when words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” ~ Ansel Adams (1902 – 1984).

Surely the impact of the collective experience of art, theater, and cinema that supports humanity has been sorely missed and will be greatly embraced upon its return.

I finish by offering a moment to break the silence of this story. I invite you to listen to the children’s choir sing about memories and notice the ‘child’s voice,’ …how different this is for the children of today as compared to any previous childhoods. Perhaps, consider the possibility that the oneness of our childrens’ recognition reaches us to illuminate our capacities to embrace the oneness of humanity. onevoicechildrenschior