Bonne année, best wishes, and bah humbug (5/1/2022)

#PARISFOMO and other funny stories from France
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Bonne année and Happy New Year from Paris! Yes, it is actually 2022, or “2020 two” as some folks are calling it.

It has been a rather quiet start to the year, however with a major communication fail on New Year’s Eve in Paris.

Thousands of people assembled on the Champs-Elysées on Dec 31st for the annual countdown that had actually been cancelled a few days earlier.

Now this would be quite hilarious, if France wasn’t at the same time declaring 200k-300k+ odd covid cases per day. If the point was to maintain social distancing, I’m pretty certain that having a ton of people crowded together for no reason can declared a bit of a failure. (Yes, we can still giggle at those who gathered in the cold for hours, with their smartphones at the ready.)

Anyway, they did get to see another spectacle: the French flag being replaced with the EU one at midnight and many of the country’s major monuments lit up in blue.

The lighting was to celebrate France taking over the presidency of the European Union. Which sounds quite impressive until you realize that all the fuss is over an EU presidential term lasting exactly 6 months.

But while one politician (President Macron) says celebrate, the others of course proclaim their horror. “How dare there be another flag flying over the tomb of the unknown soldier?”!

Basically all the politicians pontificated to their own base, the EU flag came down, the French flag is back, and we can all move on with the next “scandal”.

It is going to be a long 4 months till April’s presidential election in France.

In other news:

  • Epiphany falls on Thursday January 6th, so French patisseries and grocery stores have stocked up on the annual galette de rois cake for 3 Kings’ Day.Even those who are not religious can expect to be served some cake in schools and offices across the country to dig around in their dish looking for the feuve. (Yes, I confirm, my kids already were served a slice in school on Tuesday.)
  • The French government has increased restrictions on travellers coming from the U.K. and the U.S. It is basically the equivalent of closing the gate after the horse has already bolted, because as I said there are now around 270k+ cases a day in France. But I digress.Effectively, the British are not allowed to drive in, but can fly in. Which is not a problem Americans will have; instead unvaccinated Americans have to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival. (Which perhaps works if you have 8 weeks vacation like the French, but not so much for the American 2-week holiday norm.)In addition, every visitor needs to do a test, jump through 3 hoops, and pat your head and your stomach counterclockwise at the same time. If you are travelling to France, the rules are changing day to day, so I recommend verifying exact travel details here.
  • Emily in Paris Season 2 is out on Netflix. If there is ever a show to leave us all speechless, this is it.

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