Paris | A beer “with a taste of freedom”, the emotion of a terrace cafe, a “big day” for restaurateurs: the French found with pleasure Tuesday the terraces of cafes and restaurants authorized to reopen after long weeks of confinement .
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At aperitif time, on this sunny afternoon, the terraces of the popular 10th arrondissement of Paris are crowded.
At 5:00 p.m., the first regulars rushed in: “We were watching for the opening of the terrace, we were the first there,” laugh Yoann, Vincent, Paul and Antoine, three beers and a grenadine on the table.
“It feels good to be with friends too,” says Yoann, when Vincent describes this first beer and its “taste of ‘come back’.”
For Gaspard, 33, who begins his second pint: “it’s more than just a beer”. A few streets away, in another bar, Adèle, 21, makes the same observation, sipping her beer “with the taste of freedom”.
France has been hit hard by the COVID-19 epidemic, which has killed nearly 30,000 people and caused the economy to nearly stop. But thanks to the continued slowdown of the epidemic since the start of deconfinement on May 11, the government has decided to go into phase 2 of this deconfinement, synonymous with a virtual return to normal
In the Paris region, only the terraces of restaurants and cafes have been authorized to reopen, with a minimum distance between each table.
And even if this constraint has forced restaurateurs to reduce the number of tables available, they share the pleasure of being able to receive customers again.
“We live again”, rejoice in the heart Kevin Amar and Matthias Leveque, owners of Verre Taquin, near the Saint-Martin canal.
“It feels good”
As of this morning, the sun which bathed the capital had pushed the Parisians to take advantage of this reopening.
“The café on the terrace is Paris!”, Martine Depagniat, sitting at a table at the Café de la Comédie, in the heart of the capital, told AFP.
This employee at the nearby Louvre Museum, wearing a mask and sunglasses, says she is “almost moved” while enjoying her steaming coffee, confident that she missed the “taste of espresso”. “I think people need to get back to normal,” even if “there is also a bit of apprehension,” she said. “If there is too much recklessness too quickly … there should not be a return to the epidemic.”
“I really missed it … I’m a fan of the terraces!” Launches AFP Rachida, a 70-year-old Parisian, with a big smile that can be seen behind her mask.
She does not sulk her pleasure by joining the large open terrace of the restaurant “La Consigne” in Romainville, near the popular suburb of Paris.
And among passersby who stop to start a conversation with certain customers, the words “it feels good” often come up.
A few tables away, Thérèse Houdry, 85, contemplates her espresso with greed. Morning coffee on the terrace? “It is essential, it feels good, we live again!”, Says this retired woman from the North of France, where the life of cafes is particularly important in the daily life of the inhabitants.
Busy around the “La Consigne” coffee machine, sparkling green eyes surmounting her mask, Emma Gil, 35, believes that she did not have the impression of losing the link with customers, thanks to take-away which she has insured for a few weeks.
But today, “it’s liberation! it’s a great day, we’re very happy … “, says the waitress.
For owner Marc Durand, 50, the French government’s closure decision was “necessary” to stem the epidemic of new coronavirus, even if it was “catastrophic for our business.”
His colleague, Petro Jaupi, restaurateur at the Auberge de la Butte aux Cailles, in the eponymous district of south Paris, hopes that customers will come back.
“We just want to be able to do our job,” he concludes.