Thursday, May 14, 2020

Lockdown Eases

On Monday, the lockdown in France eased.
We were allowed to go out without an attestation, a paper that said where and why we were going somewhere. The reasons were limited -- fulfilling essential needs, like medical or grocery, exercising within 1 kilometer of our home, or helping others who couldn't go out.
We weren't even allowed to go to the grocery with other family members. Only one person per car.
As of Monday, we are allowed to travel, no papers required, within 100 kilometers of our home. That's quite a bit for us. It includes Carcassonne, Toulouse, the Mediterranean -- but the beaches are still closed.
Andorra and Spain are also in are 100 kilometer area, but the borders are still closed to both of those places.
We were so excited to venture out of our house and to take Grace and Jack to see some of the beautiful places near us.
Remember that they arrived on Friday before the lockdown happened on Tuesday. Since then, they've been sheltering in our house, taking occasional walks and stopping at the bakery sometimes.
We debated going to an old medieval town and showing them the market. It's about an hour away.
But the weather forecast had other plans.
The forecast has been rain for the entire week.
Monday afternoon, we went about 10 kilometers away to Rennes le Chateau. As you can see from the picture, the weather was ominous. 

On a sunny day, the view from here is beautiful.
Rennes le Chateau is one of those mysterious places that has to do with a priest and sudden influxes of money that allowed him to build this tower among other beautiful structures.
Our next day out was planned for Wednesday. Earl and I needed to pick up our visas. In France, they're called carte de  séjour or titre de  séjour. They give us permission to stay in the country for another year.
We had our appointment on February 25th and received a text that the cards were ready on the Friday before lockdown. Obviously, we hadn't been able to retrieve them.
Strategically planning when to arrive and how to avoid long lines, Earl and I drove to Carcassonne. Grace and Jack decided not to come along because rain was once again forecast for the entire day.
The map on our phones took us right through Carcassonne rather than around it because traffic was so light. We found a parking spot a block away from the prefecture. We waited maybe 5 minutes for the security guard to allow us in. Another 5 minutes and our cards were in our hands. By 8:59 a.m., we were back in the car.
But wait! I paid for parking until 10 a.m., I wanted to protest.
In years past, we would go with friends and celebrate our new visas with breakfast in an outdoor cafe. This year, no restaurants or bars are open.
Instead we visited a home improvement store for paint and a used furniture store where we found chairs for our kitchen table.

The living room in the background is in a state of flux because the drywall is going up this week. 
Throughout the quarantine, this is how our living room has looked. Metal supports on the ceiling and along the walls. 
In preparation for drywall

Our builder friend Kris put up the boards a week before quarantine ended. How did we convince him? We had a new kitten arriving and couldn't allow it to hide inside unfinished walls. 

Next came the mudding, or as the British call it, plastering, to cover the boards. 
Now the walls and ceilings are complete and we are waiting a week for them all to dry, because everything is humid as we apparently are going through a rainy season. Soon we'll be able to do a few mist coats and then to paint.

A week ago today, we picked up our new kitten, Louis Catorze -- that's a play on the name Louis Quatorze, the 14th. The Sun King.

Louis is an upstairs cat right now as we work on the downstairs, but he's mostly fine with that because the stairs are a challenge to him.
The rain is scheduled to dry up next week, so we're hoping for some adventures then.
Meanwhile, our market has still been happening every Wednesday and Saturday with fruits, vegetables, cheese, honey and plants, so we get to walk around and make eye contact over our masks. And I heard even the coffee truck has returned, so I'm super excited to see all the vendors that arrive Saturday morning.


Terra said...

What a beauty your kitty is, with a name like his he will expect to be obeyed. Your floors are nice looking, perhaps grey tile? Lockdown being lifted is exciting, and I am praying it will be done safely all around the world.

sillygirl said...

Oh, to have a kitten again! And just look at those paws - he won't stay little for long. Looking forward to kitten adventures!

Kiwi said...

Glad you are all well, and that you are beginning to be able to share France with your daughter and son-in-law. Little Louis is adorable.

Just Me said...

Yah you guys ! Welcome Louis.

Marg said...

Carcassonne is a place that is on my bucket list! No idea when we will be able to visit France but still.

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