For the past six weeks, our small village in the south of France has been in a second round of lockdown. The first lasted almost four months. Outings are restricted to grocery shopping and outdoor exercising. Social gatherings are interdict and bars and restaurants are shuttered. Community spaces are as barren as the vineyards, now asleep with the winter chill.
Despite the return to lockdown, our village has felt comfortable and safe. Our daily routines keep us grounded and walks through the beautiful countryside buoy our spirits. Aside from a few Covid-safe road trips, we've been content to stay put.
But when we received news that Carol’s 94-year-old mom had contracted Covid, we immediately began to prepare the necessary documents to travel within France and fly to the US. As American citizens with French residence cards, we’re subject to the same restrictions as French citizens. Fortunately, these mandates include travel exceptions to care for an elderly relative.
It was a little scary to leave the comfort and safety of our village and journey to the US, especially in the midst of the winter resurgence. Our watchwords were “safety” and “preparedness.”
Covid travel essentials, including an essential read :)
First step — transportation to Paris and Charles de Gaulle Airport. We were concerned about taking a taxi to the nearest airport, an hour away, with a driver we didn't know. As well, the local regional airlines have been crowded and not maintaining empty seats between passengers. We decided our safest option was to drive, an 8-hour journey with a pitstop in Orléans.
We drove beneath brilliant blue skies en route to Orléans, at one point traversing the Millau Viaduct, one of the tallest bridges in the world and an architectural marvel. The effect of the cables whipping past is mesmerizing…
In Orléans, it felt good to stretch our legs after our long drive, even though it was freezing!
Left: Winter-barren trees in Orléans on the Loire River. Right: Gigi hunkers down against the cold in Orléans.
When we arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport, we were heartened to see the level of compliance by travelers, from masks, to face shields, to full body PPE. This was generally the case in the Newark and Houston airports as well.
We enjoyed a nearly empty flight to Newark, but our connecting flight was full. As dawn broke through the clouds over Houston, we were relieved to touch down.
Left: Full flight from Newark. Right: Good morning, Houston!
But our greatest relief, and gratitude, stems from the recovery of Carol’s mother. She is stable and content, knowing that family is close by, awaiting a safe, joyful reunion in the near future.
From all of us at the Princess and the Bear, we wish you a safe, healthy, and peaceful holiday and a blessed New Year.
A votre santé,
Carol & Steve