Paris Memories: Reflections During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Paris Memories: Reflections During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Strolling the streets and parks of Paris, pretending I live in the 6th arrondissement, and tasting my way through upscale chocolate shops, local patisseries, and good restaurants are now done only in my memories. As Rick says to Elsa in Casablanca, “We’ll always have Paris.” But are memories enough?
Reality in California means hunkering down at home during the shelter-in-place mandate. No eating out with my adult children, no meeting friends over coffee or lunch, no workouts at the gym, no non-essential travel. The only voyages I will be making in the near future are trips to the supermarket. Maybe not even that, as online shopping is safer.

The Louvre. Photo: Dawn Dailey

In these turbulent and frightening times, it’s too easy to lament what’s lost and not be thankful for what we still have. I prefer to think of my confinement as a staycation where I catch up on projects hiding on my to-do list, like taking that online photography course I paid for last year but never got around to doing. Now I can spend more time studying French online. Or maybe I’ll simply relax with a good book.

Notre-Dame de Paris. Photo: Dawn Dailey

While my planned trip to Paris may not materialize, I can’t help planning the one after that. Perhaps all will be well and safe later this year. Despite the pandemic’s current impact on France, I am optimistic. It is France, after all, and the French are a resilient and resourceful people.

Café at Sacré-Cœur. Photo: Dawn Dailey

While life as we know it has changed, I can still go to Paris in my mind, if not in a plane. I remember all my wonderful times in the City of Light. I revisit Paris through my photos, taken in what already seems like another lifetime ago. With memories of the past, I dream of the future and the possibility to see Paris again someday. Because, in the words of Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina, “Paris is always a good idea.”

Luxembourg Palace. Photo: Dawn Dailey

Pont Alexandre III. Photo: Dawn Dailey

Lone lamp post at Notre Dame. Photo: Dawn Dailey

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Dawn Dailey, author and photographer, is passionate about travel and seeing the world through her camera lens. When she’s not traveling, she’s home in California planning her next big adventure, which almost always involves exploring France.

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  • Barbara
    2020-04-23 00:36:48
    What a wonderful post; my trip to Paris was postponed on 3/30 would have been my third trip, but I was so looking forward to it. There is no place like Paris and I, too, hope that the fall offers a window of opportunity. When I was there last year with my son we attended Mass in Notre Dame. One month later, from our respective homes, as we watched the flames engulf Our Lady, I couldn’t believe that in the history of that magnificent cathedral we were one of the last to actually attend Mass there. Yes, Paris is always a good idea. And for now, it is always on my mind and in my heart.


    • Dawn Dailey
      2020-04-25 02:39:29
      Dawn Dailey
      Hi, Barbara. Thank you so much for your comment. I totally understand your disappointment in having to cancel your trip to Paris. Hopefully, you can reschedule when it's safe to travel again. The "lone lamp post" photo in this essay was taken about a week before the fire at Notre Dame when all the cherry trees were in bloom. I, too, watched the news in horror from another French city, knowing that I had just been there. I am hopeful that we will get through this pandemic together, Notre Dame will be rebuilt, and travel will once again be part of our lives. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy!