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World ‘It’s eerie’: Capturing the emptiness of Paris, a city under lockdown

03:16  07 april  2020
03:16  07 april  2020 Source:   nationalgeographic.com

French Government to house domestic abuse victims in hotels as cases rise during coronavirus lockdown

  French Government to house domestic abuse victims in hotels as cases rise during coronavirus lockdown Th French government announced measures to help victims of domestic violence amid a surge of reported domestic violence cases since the lockdown began on March 17.Around the world, there has been concern that there is a rise in the number of domestic violence cases as governments have placed their citizens under lockdown to avoid the spread of COVID-19, which has infected at least 803,313 and killed 38,743 people.

In the nearly two decades I’ve lived and worked in Paris , I’ve never seen it this quiet. It ’ s an eerie , empty quiet. View Images. The Forum des Halles, in the center of Paris , is one of the largest commercial malls in Europe. More than 150,000 visitors may throng here every day.

Postcards, meanwhile, only captured the opinions of people who felt strongly enough to respond. One of the most famously bad predictions is captured in an iconic 1948 photograph of newly reelected President Harry Truman holding up a Chicago Tribune that falsely declares “Dewey Defeats Truman.”

a group of people walking on a sidewalk: Police patrol the empty Plan du Trocadero on March 17, the first day of the lockdown in Paris. Before leaving their homes, Parisians are supposed to show authorities a note stating the purpose and time of their outing. Those without one risk a fine. © None

Police patrol the empty Plan du Trocadero on March 17, the first day of the lockdown in Paris. Before leaving their homes, Parisians are supposed to show authorities a note stating the purpose and time of their outing. Those without one risk a fine.

In the nearly two decades I’ve lived and worked in Paris, I’ve never seen it this quiet. It’s an eerie, empty quiet.

At first, it took time for people to understand what was happening, that this new coronavirus was much more than an Asian crisis. Schools here closed on March 12—and yet on the following weekend, spring was in the air, it was sunny and beautiful, and Parisians couldn’t resist going outdoors.

Before / after: Paris is indeed confined!

 Before / after: Paris is indeed confined! © Copyright 2020, L'Obs Paris before confinement, remember? The Place de la Concorde and its incessant ballet of cars, the Marais and its onlookers, the Saint-Michel fountain and its tourists ... As all this seems far away, when the capital entered its third week of isolation to fight against the Covid-19 . "L'Obs" placed its camera where tourists and passers-by filmed scenes from "Parisian life". The contrast is striking, as shown in the video below.

Archaeologists have discovered mass graves that appear to hold the remains of the craftsmen and laborers—including convicted criminals in chains—who died during the three decades it took to create the royal mausoleum. Other mass burials seem to tell grisly tales of a brutal struggle to capture the

‘ It ’ s eerie ’: Capturing the emptiness of Paris , a city under lockdown . A young burrowing owl prepares to take flight from its perch on a mullein plant in this impeccably timed capture by Your Shot photographer Blake Hess.

a close up of a train station: The Forum des Halles, in the center of Paris, is one of the largest commercial malls in Europe. More than 150,000 visitors may throng here every day. Now it’s abandoned, with the only sounds the clatter of escalators—and the singing of birds. © None

The Forum des Halles, in the center of Paris, is one of the largest commercial malls in Europe. More than 150,000 visitors may throng here every day. Now it’s abandoned, with the only sounds the clatter of escalators—and the singing of birds.

Then on March 16, the full meaning came clear when President Emmanuel Macron ordered the entire country to stay at home for 15 days, starting at noon the next day. That morning, a line 200 yards long formed outside my supermarket. As I photographed the line, a few customers objected. But after we talked, I understood that they were just scared, and some were upset with the government for not seeing the crisis coming sooner.

When France’s ordeal began, London was still packed and bustling with people, and New York City was too. I think Paris was one of the first big, famous cities to empty out. By March 30, 11,838 people in Paris and its suburbs were sick with COVID-19, and 954 had died. Nationwide, France had 44,550 reported positive cases and 3,024 deaths.

January 2015 attacks in Paris: The trial will take place from September 2 to November 10

 January 2015 attacks in Paris: The trial will take place from September 2 to November 10 The trial for the assizes of the January 2015 attacks in Paris, supposed to start in early May, has been postponed due to restrictions linked to the coronavirus © Hollandse Hoogte / J. van G / SIPA Attack in January 2015 INQUIRY - The trial for the assizes of the January 2015 attacks in Paris, supposed to start in early May, has been postponed due to restrictions linked to coronavirus The trial for the January 2015 attacks in Paris s '' will open on September 2, 2020, until November 10.

The French lockdown has left 12 million residents of Greater Paris confined to their homes since Here’ s a visual diary of a city in lockdown , a curation of photos documenting deserted Paris Many of these photos capture a sometimes eerie , but often magical, atmosphere of emptiness , pierced by

‘ It ’ s eerie ’: Capturing the emptiness of Paris , a city under lockdown . Photography. Generosity, grief and the ‘black anaconda’: Inside the world's biggest annual pilgrimage. Coronavirus: National Geographic photographers capture their worlds on pause.

a tall building in a city: Six days after the order for people to stay home, La Defense, the business district of Paris, was deserted. © None

Six days after the order for people to stay home, La Defense, the business district of Paris, was deserted.

Many here assume the actual number of cases must be much higher because we’re testing only people with severe symptoms. France doesn’t have enough tests available, as opposed to Germany where more than a hundred thousand people are tested every week. And the number of reported deaths here must be artificially low as well, because only those who die in hospitals are counted.

Pictures: Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak around the world

Based on health officials’ projections, we expect the big wave of COVID-19 to hit Paris this week, with the peak coming around April 5. Some authorities say the caseload in the Paris region will be similar to that in northern Italy, where 6,818 people had succumbed by March 29.

a yellow chair in a room: With flights being canceled around the world, the train from the city center to Charles de Gaulle Airport is a ghost ship. © None

With flights being canceled around the world, the train from the city center to Charles de Gaulle Airport is a ghost ship.

If you go outside in the city, you must have an official note that says why you need to be out and what time you left your home, or you risk being fined by the police. Early in the lockdown, I went to a market in Barbès, a poor neighborhood in the north of Paris. It was crowded that day, and many people I spoke with didn’t have a note, but I didn’t see any police officers choosing to impose fines.

In these poor neighborhoods, where life can be a struggle on an average day, fights have erupted between young men, and the local markets have all closed. My press credential allows me to be out in the streets and public places taking photographs. I consider myself lucky—for poor families stuck in small apartments, it’s much harder.

On March 26, Paris closed some 50 Metro stations and drastically cut bus and train services to limit the spread of coronavirus. © None

On March 26, Paris closed some 50 Metro stations and drastically cut bus and train services to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Though I’m originally from Normandy and have lived in Paris for 18 years. I’ve done little photojournalism in France. Instead I’ve concentrated on documenting social issues in Africa and the wars in the Central African Republic, Libya, Syria, and Iraq. When you cover wars, you need to keep your distance from the pain and suffering. You need that separation to report objectively and not be overwhelmed by your emotions.

The first time I covered something bad happening in my country was in 2015, when I photographed the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on a concert hall, café, and soccer stadium in Paris. Compared to that, my work during this COVID calamity is so different. It’s about all of us—strangers, friends, my family, my neighbors, me.In some ways, it’s more difficult to shoot your own place and people.

a train is parked on the side of a building: With an eye on the unfolding crisis in neighboring Italy, France moved quickly to shut down its busiest areas, such as the Forum des Halles shopping mall. Starting March 14, only essential services were allowed to stay open. © None

With an eye on the unfolding crisis in neighboring Italy, France moved quickly to shut down its busiest areas, such as the Forum des Halles shopping mall. Starting March 14, only essential services were allowed to stay open.

One thing I’ve wanted to do is convey the mood of the city’s most iconic structures as they appear under lockdown—the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the business district of La Défense—at different times, in different lights.

It’s very hard to photograph emptiness. I’ve been spending a lot of time—sometimes three hours or more—at each site. In all, I must have shot at least 4,000 frames by now.

a large white building: A lone police car enforces the lockdown on Place du Trocadero, across the River Seine from the Eiffel Tower. The lockdown has been extended to April 15 as the COVID-19 death toll rises. © None

A lone police car enforces the lockdown on Place du Trocadero, across the River Seine from the Eiffel Tower. The lockdown has been extended to April 15 as the COVID-19 death toll rises.

In familiar settings I have to find beauty and meaning in something I see every day, and I’m so used to what’s around me that I may miss interesting scenes or moments. In the city center now, I see so many homeless people I hadn’t noticed before when they were hidden among the daily crowds. Their situation is terrible. 

They can’t plead with passersby for money because the streets are empty. All the public toilets they usually use are closed. In the past, homeless people have been helped by small aid organizations, but nearly all these groups have stopped their work.

a bench in front of a building: Parkgoers confined indoors are missing the glory of spring in the Jardin des Halles in the center of Paris. © None

Parkgoers confined indoors are missing the glory of spring in the Jardin des Halles in the center of Paris.

I want to show how the pandemic is affecting the homeless, as well as immigrants and refugees who live in camps just outside Paris. For them, social distancing is impossible. They have no access to masks and gloves, and maintaining strict personal hygiene is difficult. I’m also planning to cover the work of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), who are helping vulnerable populations by organizing mobile clinics to test them and teach them how to protect themselves as much as they can.

I intend to continue this work over the next few weeks, to give the world’s people at least one view of the pandemic in my city. As I’ve roamed Paris, I’ve noticed that the air is much fresher—there’s less pollution. And one day when I was shooting at the main entrance of Les Halles, one of the biggest commercial malls in Europe, I heard birds singing. I’d never realized there were birds at Les Halles of all places. It gave me hope.

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Deconfinement: in Paris, boulevards could be transformed into cycle paths .
Christophe Najdovski (assistant to the Mayor of Paris in charge of mobility) works on solutions to ensure the movement of Parisians - without risk - during deconfinement. © Manuel Cohen / AFP The first deputy to the Mayor of Paris Emmanuel Grégoire spoke on Tuesday of the possibility of temporarily transforming the boulevards of the capital into cycle paths during the deconfinement planned from 11 May.

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