Parisian cafe culture has come back to life as lockdowns eased in France after six months of closures. The long-awaited lifting of restrictions on alfresco dining has caused an influx of locals to the terraces of the city’s bars and restaurants, defying fears that occasional inclement weather will spoil the spirits.
Independent of the intermittent rain showers, people came in droves, dressing for the occasion and donning rain gear. On the first day of the reopening, the weather cleared up in the evening, allowing people to take full advantage of the later curfew, which was pushed back from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Cultural venues also came back to life. and visitors have infiltrated famous destinations like the Louvre, and new ones too, with the inauguration of the Pinault Foundation, while the Eiffel Tower will only reopen in mid-July.
The French capital has shown resilience despite the absence of international visitors, which had dramatically increased in the years leading up to the pandemic, bringing the city and its monuments to life, serving as key sources of income for the commercial scene – especially the top of the line. Department stores reopened with a bang, with executives giving welcoming speeches and salespeople lining up to greet customers.
“The atmosphere was happy,” observed a manager of Galeries Lafayette. “It was really moving,” said a representative of Printemps, noting that the new director of the Parisian department store Laurence Nicolas was on site, alongside CEO Jean-Marc Bellaiche.