Le Lockdown: Living Through the Coronavirus Lockdown in France

Luxe Adventure Traveler

What is there even to say? The world feels like its gone mad. China, Italy, Spain, now France – and many more to come – are in states of lockdown. Residents cannot leave their homes except for necessities like food and medicine. The phrase “social distancing” will no doubt be in Google’s annual Year in Search video for 2020 and added to the dictionary.

I’m not going to write about the virus. I’m not a medical professional and it’s all over every single one of our news feeds what feels like every waking second. You don’t need me to make recommendations or blast more COVID-19 news at you.

But as a digital content creator, writing is my outlet. And while I don’t think I’ll ever forget this “new” world we live in, nor I am sure I even want to remember with so much uncertainty ahead, I’m writing a daily update of what life is like living through the Coronavirus lockdown in France.

I hope you’ll read. Personally, I’m enjoying others updates from various places like Italy and Spain. Even these countries that are neighbors are so different from what’s happening here in France.

Tim kayaks around Ilet Oscar before the full lockdown in France and Martinique

Le Lockdown Day 1: March 17

We’re in Martinique and today is the first day of the lockdown in France. It’s already in effect back in the mainland, and it will go into effect at 12pm local time in Martinique.

We’re on a private island called Ilet Oscar staying in a historical house from the 18th century. It’s run by a couple who live there full time, operates on solar polar and is on an otherwise uninhabited island about 20 minutes by boat off of the Atlantic Coast of Martinique.

We wish we could just stay here! It’s heavenly. We’re the only guests, but normally La Maison de l’Ilet Oscar has four rooms.

We arrived yesterday just after the news broke that Martinique would not be exempt from the restrictions, even though there are relatively few cases of Coronavirus on Martinique and all are tourists.

We were so happy to be on Ilet Oscar. Already yesterday pretty much all tourism activities were cancelled. All restaurants, bars and non-essential businesses shut down. We were in a small village named Les Anses d’Arlet and everything but two boulangeries was closed. We were lucky to get ham and cheese baguettes for lunch from one of the boulangeries.

The lines at every grocery store stretched around the buildings. Gas stations had lines as people rushed to fill up.

Being on Ilet Oscar, we swam and kayaked. We had Josephine’s Bath, one of the most popular spots tourists visit in Martinique, almost entirely to ourselves and could kayak there in just a few minutes from Ilet Oscar. Normally, there would be 40-50 boats visiting the shallow spot in the Atlantic that Empress Josephine is said to have spent much time at when she was a child growing up in Martinique.

We had lobster for dinner last night prepared by La Maison de l’Ilet Oscar’s chef, Benôit. He flambeed it in Martinique rhum. It was one of the best meals we had on Martinique.

We did have to rush a bit to gather up our things and rinse off, because the boat called to say we must leave by 11:30am to get back to Martinique before the lockdown went into effect. And just as we got into the boat, Gendarmes in a boat stopped us. Our boat and the proprietors from La Maison de l’Ilet Oscar explained we had to go back because we are flying home to mainland France tomorrow. We were given an exception, and made it back to Martinique just in time.

Now to move about outside at all, we’re required to have a legal document with your name, date of birth, address and reason for being out of your home. We obviously had no way to print it, so we took a screen shot on my iPhone and filled it in as best we could until we could get to our hotel in Fort de France.

Yesterday McDonald’s was still open, but drive-thru only. The lines were long, but we figured this was the best option to get food for lunch and dinner. Our hotel has a small kitchen with a fridge, stovetop and microwave. We figured we could get some extra hamburgers and heat them up later.

After trying two different McDonald’s and finding they had even closed, we looked up the nearest grocery store. We had to wait in line for about 30 minutes to get in since the store was only allowing a limited number of people in at one time.

It was a Carrefour Market, which we have at home in Bordeaux, too. Everything was pretty well stocked, with the exception of the deli meats/saucisson cases and the pasta/rice aisle being picked over. There was plenty of toilet paper and paper towels, unlike the toilet paper shortages we were seeing all over social media.

We got a roast chicken, a baguette, ravioli and sauce to make later for dinner, a chocolate bar (since we didn’t get to go to the famous artisan chocolatier because the chaos struck) and some banana fritters, plus some water and a bottle of rosé. It was all very civilized, but just took a bit of time waiting to get in the store.

Coronavirus Lockdown Notice to Hotel GuestsNotice of lockdown to hotel guests at our hotel in Fort de France, Martinique

Once we got to our hotel, there was a sign posted in French and English about what had transpired. We had to stay in our room, unless going to for a necessary reason like to get food or medicine. And the hotel had the necessary legal form printed off should a guest need it.

We spent the last afternoon of our trip confined to our hotel room, and it was absolutely gorgeous outside. But we understood the need to stay inside, as much as we would have preferred to be just about anywhere else.

We used the time to get all packed up and ready to leave early tomorrow.

I also made the mistake of checking in our business. It’s depressing with a capital D. This is no time to be a digital content creator. The majority of my income comes from ad revenue and affiliate bookings (when you book hotels, tours or purchase things through the affiliate partner links on this site).

Understandably, the world is gripped by Coronavirus right now. It’s not the time to travel – take it from two people that are living through trying to get home. Travel search queries are way down on Google, which means our traffic is way down. That means our income has come to nearly a grinding halt.

I hope it will all recover when one day it’s safe to travel and discover our beautiful world again. Until then, thankfully we have savings to get us through. And if you’re wondering how you can help, the best way is to take a few minutes and read a couple posts on our site. Then share your favorites on social media, so your friends read too.

Le Lockdown Day 2: March 18

Today we began the journey home from Martinique to Bordeaux on our originally booked flights. We didn’t see any reason to move up our flights since many people would be panicking and we’d be met with even more people along the way home. We knew departing flights would operate until Sunday, when the airport in Martinique then plans to close down.

Originally when we booked this trip, we didn’t mind having a long layover in Cayenne, French Guiana. We planned to use our 8 hour layover to get out and see something like we have on many long layovers. Of course, that now wasn’t possible with everything going on. French Guiana is also an overseas department of France.

Our trip didn’t start out great. We woke up to no water at the hotel in Martinique. With reduced staff, no one was on the premises to deal with such problems. We improvised by using our bottles drinking water to clean up and brush our teeth.

I had a major fail. First, I only rinsed off with my bathing suit still on the day before and washed my hair. With the lockdown going in to effect at 12pm, we had to rush to the leave the private island and get a taxi boat back to the main island. So I decided to wet myself and soap up.

Trying to get the soap off with just a bottle of water wasn’t working. I called Tim for help. He poured a trickle of water on me, but the soap just kept lathering more. Eventually, I gave up and just wet one of my facial cleansing cloths. I wiped off the soap as best I could and figured I was better off smelling like dried apricot soap than salty and sweaty.

Arriving at the airport, it was like a ghost town with the exception of the queue checking in for Air France. We had no questions about our American passports.

There was just one little bar open that had some drinks for sale and croissants, muffins and pain au chocolat. We didn’t buy anything, opting to wait until we got to Cayenne for our first connection.

The plane from Martinique to Cayenne was almost completely full. Arriving in French Guiana, the captain announced that only 10 people would be allowed to disembark the plane at one time. Every passenger had to fill out forms with our contact information, which was presumably to be able to notify us if someone tests positive or presents themselves as unwell.

Unlike when we arrived in Martinique, no one was scanning every passenger to take their temperature. At this point, it was deemed unproductive.

We had a lot of messages on Instagram about how we return to France since we are American citizens. Both Martinique and French Guiana are overseas departments of France, so technically we never left France during this entire trip. But we did pass through immigration in French Guiana and were questioned. I have my French resident card (carte de sejour). Tim has a visa, and won’t receive his carte de sejour until next year when he renews his visa. We just explained we are returning home and we reside full time in Bordeaux.

The international departures terminal was basically one long room with a total of five gates. The lounges were, understandably, closed due to Coronavirus restrictions. There was one bar open that had three different kinds of sandwiches and drinks, so we each had a ham and cheese baguette for lunch.

Up until about two hours before our flight, we were the only two people in the international departures terminal. So we had absolutely no problem maintaining social distancing. With two flights departing, the international departures area is nearly full with passengers.

Once we arrive home tomorrow, we are only allowed to go outside our apartment for essential reasons like grocery shopping, going to a medical appointment and brief exercise within our neighborhood. We will have to go one at a time. We cannot go out together, even for a walk in the neighborhood. And we have to carry a legal document we complete each time we leave the house. Otherwise, we face fines from €135 – €350 if we are stopped by the police and do not have the document and a valid reason for being outside.

Thankfully we have a balcony we can sit outside on to enjoy sunshine and fresh air. The weather forecast looks like it’s filled with lovely spring days for the coming week ahead.

Some Blogs We’re ReadingNow is a great time to discover some new-to-you blogs! Here’s some interesting posts from our travel blogging friends:

61 Fun & Productive Ways to Make the Best of Self-Isolation

11 Live-Streaming Wildlife Cameras in Pennsylvania

Beautiful Chakra Meditations for Each of Your 7 Chakras

You’ve Been Making Gin & Tonics All Wrong

45 Fun Ideas on How to Armchair Travel from Home

Le Lockdown Day 3: March 19

We flew overnight on an almost full flight from French Guiana in South America to Paris Orly, arriving around 7:30am. We flew Air France and the flight itself was fine, but we didn’t see anything extra special being done. We brought travel Purell hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, so we could clean down our seats. The try tables definitely had not been cleaned in between the flights.

Paris Orly was the worst of the airports throughout our trip. We’d heard that the terminals had been condensed to one for international flights and one for domestic. In the domestic terminal, we had just a small area where everyone was congregated for five gates. There was one small Relay open where you could buy a drink and limited snacks. It was really busy with people departing to Marseilles and Lyon at the same time as the Bordeaux flight.

Our last leg was Paris to Bordeaux, on a completely full flight. We were actually due to leave on an 8:30am flight, which Air France had already notified us several days earlier was being combined with a 9:30am flight.

Once home in Bordeaux, announcements continually played that said if you did not have a boarding pass, you needed to leave the airport immediately.

We took the airport bus line home, which is still operating but at a reduced schedule. To keep safe, the driver was socially distanced with the front part of the bus roped off so passengers couldn’t sit up front within 2 meters of the driver. Only about a dozen people were on the bus, and we all entered through the back doors.

No one spoke a word. We all rode in silence. Presumably we were all, or nearly all, locals who were returning home. Streets were empty of people, cyclists and cars. Almost all businesses except the occasional pharmacy or boulangerie were closed along the bus route.

Bordeaux is eerie. We live on one of the busiest pedestrian streets of the hyper center, or Centerville. On any normal day at noon, people are dining on the terrace at the restaurants – even in the wintertime. There’s a steady stream of people passing. But with our balcony doors open to let some fresh air in, we could practically hear a pin drop.

There are a few restaurants still offering delivery via Deliveroo (if you’re in one of the 12 countries Deliveroo operates in, you can get €10 off with our referral link) and UberEats (and get €15 off your first UberEats order with our code eats-jenniferd18124ue). We ordered lunch from Edmond Burger, which is one of our favorite burger places in Bordeaux. The new regulations mean contactless delivery. Our delivery guy called to say he was here. I watched from our balcony as he placed our order on the step outside our building door, then they must back away 2 meters and wait to visually confirm you retrieved your food.

We won’t order food a lot because I have basically no income coming now as a digital content creator, but we’ll try to support our local businesses like Edmond Burger that are still able to operate maybe once a week as a treat to ourselves.

The rest of the day, we napped off and on and binge watched Netflix. We’re exhausted from the long trip back.

It was IKEA Swedish meatballs we had in the freezer for the win for dinner. In a pinch, breakfast potatoes we also had in the freezer rounded out dinner.

More strict lockdown measures were put in place as of this afternoon in France, too. Suddenly everyone was exercising. Our quayside was so busy with walkers, joggers and cyclists since the lockdown that it is now entirely off-limits. Cycling is no longer allowed either. Exercise is still allowed, but it must be brief. We must stay within our neighborhoods, only venturing a 1 kilometer radius away from your home.

Books To Transport You Reading is a great way to escape and take our minds on a great adventure! We rounded up books travel bloggers recommend, including the first one from us.

5 Books to Fuel Your Wanderlust

10 Books About Africa You Should Read Before You Go

33 Books About Italy

Best Teen Books for Your Summer Travel Reading List

International Book List for Travelers: Stories Set in Other Countries A split before and after. Before is a crowded Rue Sainte-Catherine with a sea of people in January and after a lone person walks way down Rue Sainte-Catherine in Bordeaux, France during the Coronavirus lockdownRue Sainte-Catherine is one of the busiest streets in Bordeaux. Before: taken January 2020; After: taken March, 20, 2020

Le Lockdown Day 4: March 20

Day 4 is really our first full day at home in Bordeaux. We woke up late after 10am since we were both exhausted from the long trip back home to Bordeaux from Martinique.

The first order of importance was getting food to sustain us since our fridge and pantry were basically completely empty from being away for 12 days. I made a menu for dinner for five nights, some of which will give us more than just one dinner.

I actually use to do this regularly, which helps me make my grocery list. I get out my favorite cook books like Live, Love, Eat!: The Best of Wolfgang Puck, The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, The Bordeaux Kitchen and The Borough Market Cookbook to peruse for different recipes.

Only one person from the household is allowed to go to the grocery store. Tim took this first turn and went with the list. The challenge for us is both that we have to walk and carry everything home that we buy, plus that – as is typical of French city homes – we have a very small fridge. We typically only shop for 2-3 days maximum at at time (which actually means we have very little food waste).

You must shop at a store in your neighborhood. We needed so much, and grocery delivery isn’t available to our area currently because there has been such a high volume of orders. So Tim went to a big grocery store that is kind of like a super Target called Auchan. It’s inside a commercial center, which is like a mini mall with shops like Sephora and H&M. Only the grocery store is open.

There was a line to get in, since only a small number of people are being let in at one time. This is to help with social distancing in the grocery store. Tim had to wait around 15 minutes to enter, which wasn’t bad at all. Most shelves were restocked.

A meme showing a man pulling a shopping cart of toilet paper filled with toilet paper while a woman holding two wiggling kids tries to push itCredit unknown

This particular store had many empty shelves earlier in the week when people were panic buying and made the local news for the craziness like people fighting over things. Someone created a meme about the 2020 Battle of Auchan, which a friend texted while we were still traveling home. So we were glad to see things have calmed down.

We were also on the edge of our seats to see what President Macron would say today at a midday address. People are not taking this seriously enough, and Parisians in particular are treating it like a long holiday and going off to their second homes on beaches and in the countryside. We were prepared for even stricter restrictions and increased fines.

Instead, we got a warning that if people don’t stay home the stricter restrictions will come. But for now, cycling is now prohibited along with hunting, going to the beaches and hiking in the countryside. And people cannot go off to their second holiday homes now either.

For us, the quayside between our two major bridges is off-limits now here in Bordeaux. Too many people were traveling further than 1 kilometer radius from their home we are currently allowed to venture to come run, walk, skateboard and the like on the quayside.

We live in what’s called the hyper centre of Bordeaux in the Hôtel de Ville – Quinconces quartier. It’s basically where ALL the tourists would normally be while visiting Bordeaux.

We are allowed brief periods of exercise outside the home, but you must go alone. This is to limit the number of people going on out the streets. I went out for my walk, and snapped a few photos of the usually tourist trodden streets.

Place de la Comedie, Bordeaux, FrancePlace de la Comédie is normally the bustling center of Bordeaux An empty Place de la Comedie in Bordeaux, France during the Coronavirus lockdownPlace de la Comédie is a ghost town during the lockdown in France

Places like Rue Sainte-Catherine, the busiest pedestrian shopping street in Bordeaux and the longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe, is normally a sea of people. It was surreal to see only a few people walking along it with nearly every single business closed. Even during the worst of the Gilets Jaunes protests, Bordeaux was never so empty.

Our window apéro with a bottle of Italian wine, saucisson and cheese in Bordeaux, FranceEvery Friday we have a community window apéro together at 7pm in Bordeaux

This evening we had our first Friday window apéro, which began organized as an event on Facebook by a Bordeaux local. Apéro, or a before dinner drink, is a massive part of the French culture. It’s particularly part of the culture here in Bordeaux, where we’re the World Capital of Wine. Bordeaux residents are going to do this every Friday at 7pm.

We have to say, we enjoyed it a lot. Tim and I were able to sit out at a table we have on our balcony. It was a gorgeous first day of Spring evening. Neighbors came to their windows and balconies, and we all wished each other “buon appetite!” We learned a neighbor in the next building over and a floor up has a Siamese cat, as their cat sat with its tail swinging as she joined in to the neighborhood apéro.

We sat on our balcony having a bottle of wine, a Terra dei Ciliegi 2015. It’s an Italian wine from Verona and we had it with some Comté and saucisson. The occasional passerby down on the street would call up “buon appetite” or “bonsoir”. In the Facebook event, many partakers posted photos.

At 8pm every night, we applaud the healthcare workers who are risking so much to tirelessly work through this crisis with a standing ovation. First, we heard applause down on the next block. Like a ripple effect, the applause grew from faint claps and cheers a few streets over to ringing out through the streets of Bordeaux.

It’s a sense of community that is needed so much right now when you can’t gather with friends as you usually would. We are not alone in this.

Le Lockdown Day 5: March 21

IMPORTANT: US Citizens Wishing to Leave France

As of March 23, Air France will have one flight daily to either LAX or JFK. U.S. citizens who wish to return to the U.S. should book now or be prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.

All official information and updates on US Embassy in France website.

It was another gorgeous day in Bordeaux with the sun shining and 70F temps. It was the kind of day that everyone would normally be picnicking in the park and along the quayside.

We tried to be at least a little productive today. After weeding my balcony fruit trees and giving them some TLC, I did some work – because any little work coming in at the moment is a top priority. And I started a daily journal of these Le Lockdown updates which I had only been posting to my personal Facebook profile until now. I plan to make it my nightly routine to update this post with the day’s update before bed.

Some sort of routine is good.

I’ve also got a list of posts that I need to write from various trips we’ve been on over the last couple of months that we collaborated with partners on, so my plan of action is to continue to create content during this time. Hopefully it inspires you, which is always our goal, and you’ll be ready to travel the world again once it’s safe to do so. In the meantime, please be an armchair traveler and enjoy seeing the world through our stories!

In case you missed them, here are a few new posts I’ve written in the last month:

  • Longyearbyen: The World’s Northernmost City
  • Loisaba Conservancy: The Kenyan Wildlife Park That Needs to Be on Your Radar
  • The Perfect 3-Days in Tenerife

While I was working, Tim tinkered with our hot water heater. For a few weeks now, we’ve had air in the hot water. The faucet makes a sputtering noise when we turn the hot water on.

The water heater is located up in our ceiling, which is typical in French apartments as a space saver. He got the ladder, had a look and found the manual online.

While I was a bit worried about tinkering around when we can’t have a plumber come, he managed to find a purge valve. And now the water isn’t sputtering. So good job, Tim!

We also each talked with our families. My mom is sick with the flu right now. She’d been doing some fundraising for a charity she volunteers with, so she’s been exposed to a lot of people recently. But she doesn’t currently have the symptoms of Coronavirus and medicine seems to be helping her slowly feel better.

Of course, that still worries us. Flights will stop soon from France and right now Air France is only operating one flight a day to JFK or LAX to repatriate US citizens stuck abroad.

It’s hard to know that if something were to happen to anyone in either of our families, we’re currently in a position that we would not be able to make a trip back to the USA to be there…as the US Embassy in France said, indefinitely.

Our table set with two pasta bowls of pasta fagioli and Maremma Syrah winePasta fagioli better than Olive Garden. Just missing the bread sticks!

I made an Olive Garden-like pasta fagioli for dinner, which I also shared step-by-step on our Instagram Story. I’ve made this recipe for years and it’s one of our favorite dinners. It also makes enough to have it for a few meals.

We enjoyed it with a Maremma Syrah from Tuscany, which we bought on one of our weekend adventures when we lived in Italy. We like pulling out a bottle from our fridge and reminiscing about where we got it. Nearly our entire collection has been bought at the wineries themselves.

There’s some holes starting to appear on shelves in our wine fridge. But not to worry! We cataloged all of our wine when we got the wine fridge a few months ago on our Vivino app. We currently have 191 bottles in our cellar, so we’re well stocked for several months.

And of course, we were sure to go out on the balcony before 8pm to be ready to applaud our healthcare workers as we do nightly. Tonight’s applause was also accompanied by party horns. It starts slow and distant. Then the applause comes from all directions – a reminder that even though the streets are dead, we are not in this alone.

Better Than Olive Garden Pasta Fagioli Recipe (expand for the recipe) Better Than Olive Garden Pasta Fagioli Recipe

1 lb ground beef
3 15 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
2 15 oz cans kidney beans
2 15 oz cans white beans like Great Northern beans
1 yellow onion finely diced
3 stalks celery finely chopped
1 small head garlic crushed
1 cup julienned carrots
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tbsp Tabasco
2 tsp oregano
1/2 cup Ditali pasta
Sugar and salt to taste

1. Brown the ground beef in a pot with a bit of olive oil, the onions and garlic
2. Add in the diced tomatoes, stir.
3. Add the white vinegar, Tabasco and oregano. Stir.
4. Season with sugar and salt to taste.
5. Drain the white and kidney beans. Add in and stir. Let simmer on low for 20 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the Ditali pasta to al dente.
7. Drain the pasta and add in to the beef, tomato and bean mixture.
8. Add julienned carrots. Stir and let simmer on low for 5 minutes.

Serve with grated parmesan on the pasta fagioli and bread or breadsticks. An empty Rue Vital Carles with the Bordeaux Cathedral visible at the end of the street in Bordeaux, FranceRue Vital Carles is a ghost town during the lockdown with trams running on a very limited schedule

Le Lockdown Day 6: March 22

We slept horribly last night. I’ve suffered from insomnia for years, since back when I worked at Blockbuster and was attacked with a crowbar to the head during a robbery. Over the years, the insomnia has gotten much better with it only popping up when I’m stressed and anxious.

I don’t really feel anxiety. But I just couldn’t get to sleep last night. And I kept Tim awake, too.

We both concluded it was because we were inside all day yesterday. We’re used to walking daily. So this afternoon we each went out separately for our allowed 20 minutes of exercise in the neighborhood. With our completed attestation forms on us, of course.

An emergency bill was passed today. That’s how serious this is – the French did work on a Sunday! Jokes aside, now the fines for not complying with the nouvel ordre will increase with each offense up to 3750€ and six months jail time.

Various kinds of goat cheese with herbs at Marché du QuaisGoat cheeses at the Marché du Quais, which we can look forward to again someday

Normally on Sundays we go to our weekly market along the quayside. We get empanadas from a guy from French Guiana. His salsa is incredible, and I’ve long told him I wished he sold the salsa in containers.

I miss Empanada Sunday. I’ll be looking forward to when we can resume Empanada Sunday.

I was actually writing away on a post I’m working on to publish tomorrow while waiting for my turn in the shower when Tim called me to help him. He decided that he could no longer wait, and gave himself a haircut.

Actually, color me impressed. He pretty much got everything but the very back of his head and it was relatively even, too. I don’t cut hair. I’ve never cut his hair in nearly 20 years together. But with his instruction, I helped even out his “fade” he gave himself.

Only Day 6 and we already got home haircuts going on up in here!

It was such a nice day that we sat on the balcony and had apéro as the sunset. We may not be able to walk at sunset while the buildings glow in a golden light, but at least we can watch it from our balcony while sipping wine.

Sitting out on the balcony more, we also discovered a neighbor kitty. New goal: lure cute kitty to our apartment.

Here’s something else that’s like a light in the crazy. We can hear birds singing! Even though Bordeaux does have a lot of private green spaces with loads of hidden gardens in courtyards, we only usually hear birds very, very early in the morning. Then the buzz of living in the bustling center takes over well until after we even go to bed. But now we hear birds singing all day long again!

Of course, at 8pm we once again applauded healthcare workers. Tonight the applause was loud, echoing through the streets and accompanied by cheers and party horns.

So while we started out the day a bit rough, we have so much to appreciate that helps ease the moments of struggle.

Le Lockdown Day 7: March 23

At some point, the crazy starts to set in.

Me: {places 3 pieces of baguette on my plate} “Hey! The baguette looks like seahorses today!” {takes photo}
Tim: {just laughs at me}

The living room with our wine barrel coffee table, Michael Godard artworks and our dining area with a big glass table and our new wine fridgeOur dining room table, for reference

We also didn’t feel motivated to get dressed or go outside today for our allowed exercise periods. So we just ran around our dining table for some laps, then reversed direction and ran the other way.

A guy in Toulouse made the news yesterday (or was that the day before…) for running a full marathon of 26.2 miles on his 7 meter balcony. If he can do that, we can get some laps in around our dining table.

We weren’t totally lazy lumps today, though. I updated my post about travel books with a few more I’ve read. So if you’re looking for some great reads, check out these true stories for an armchair trip around the world:

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The Best Travel Books: True Stories to Armchair Travel Around the World

And Tim started working on photos from Austria, so that I can write about Innsbruck and Hallstatt. There’s still work to be done and we’ll all travel again someday, right?

I also checked in by texting some friends I know live alone. I can’t imagine if this had happened a year ago and I was all alone here in Bordeaux. Be sure to reach out to your friends and just see how they’re doing, regardless of if you’re locked down, sheltering in place or otherwise.

And we talked to our families again. My mom sounds better, so that made me feel better.

Some cities and towns in France now have a curfew. The Prime Minister addressed the nation this evening and I felt sure we were headed for a nationwide curfew and more stringent restrictions. For now, we got another warning.

It’s frustrating when we’re following the rules, and see others going out together. Or cycling. Or congregating in groups.

Get it together people! Stay home. Follow the rules. Practice social distancing. The sooner we all do, the sooner we can get back to living our lives.

I made a homemade pizza for dinner tonight with chorizo, yellow pepper and red onion. We spice it up with Espelette pepper infused oil from the Pays Basque, which is just south of us in our region of France.

And at 7:55pm, we opened our balcony doors to be ready to applaud our healthcare workers like we do every night.

Le Lockdown Day 8: March 24

I died a little inside tonight.

It’s been reported that the new Comité Analyse, Recherché et Expertise (CARE), that has been appointed to advise the French government, is recommending SIX weeks of lockdown.


I want to cry. Not because of the thought of being home for that long. But because of the economic devastation this is going to leave as a long lasting scar on our communities. The thought that small businesses I love so much may not weather this storm and ever open again is heartbreaking.

On that note, Tim and I each went out for our allowed 1-hour of exercise separately. On my walk, I also stopped by one of the fromagerie still open. For now, Chez Delphine is open daily and I bought some brillat savarin and comté.

It’s important to support small businesses and shop local during this – if you’re able. Chez Delphine appreciated my business while social distancing.

How it worked: I browsed the cheese selection from outside through the window. Then the door was cracked open and I placed my order. Once my cheese was cut and wrapped in paper, I briefly stepped inside and was asked to stay on the doormat in the entry while the credit card machine was brought over. I used contactless with my Apple Pay, which they also appreciated.

There’s been some clarification to our restrictions. People were continuing to go out together. We get you live in the same household, but the rule of only one adult per household out for exercise at a time is to help limit the number of people out and about. You known, so we can easily social distance.

As of today, we now have to also write the time we left home on our attestation form when going out for exercise.

Tim passed by the same police van four different times on his walk. I, on the other hand, was stopped and asked for my attestation.

The gendarmes aren’t out to “get people”. They were very nice. They greeted me and asked very politely for my attestation. I was even congratulated on completing it fully and correctly, before I was wished “bonne promenade, madame!” and sent on my way.

I made chicken & asparagus teriyaki for dinner tonight. I used to make this all the time during asparagus season for myself. It’s only recently been asparagus season, so Tim had it for the first time a few weeks ago.

Chicken & Asparagus Teriyaki Recipe (expand for the recipe) Chicken & Asparagus Teriyaki Recipe

Ingredients for 2 Servings
2-3 chicken breast cut into pieces
1 bunch of asparagus chopped into pieces
2 cloves of garlic diced
1/4 cup teriyaki marinade
2 tbsp honey (we use a chili infused honey for spiciness)
Salt to taste
1/2 cup rice

1. Cut the chicken breast up into pieces and place in a bowl
2. Add in the diced garlic, teriyaki marinade, honey and salt
3. Stir up the chicken in the marinade and let it sit for 20 minutes
4. Heat a bit of oil in a skillet or wok and brown the chicken in the marinade
5. Once the chicken is cooked, taste and add salt as needed. Add additional chili infused honey to adjust spiciness. Add the chopped asparagus. Stir.
6. Cover the wok and simmer on low.
7. Meanwhile, cook the rice.
8. Divide the rice onto plates, then spoon the chicken and asparagus teriyaki over the rice and serve.

This is an easy, simple recipe that requires minimal prep and only takes about 20 minutes to cook.

Soon one of us will need to go for groceries again. I spent some time today perusing my cookbooks and making our next dinner menu, in order to make our shopping list.

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