The Coronavirus and life in Provence

It’s the biggest worry around the world and of course even here in Provence life is having to halt, for the most part, as we all do our bit to help contain the dangerous virus that can no longer be ignored and must be fought, in the words of the French president Emmanuel Macron, like a “war.”

People are being told to stay at home and only go out if absolutely necessary for work and food shopping. Those who can work from home are not allowed to go to their offices. Restaurants, bars, and shops that have nothing to do with food have been ordered to shut. Pharmacies and supermarkets, gas stations and tabacs (where you can buy cigarettes) are open, as are places where you can buy magazines and newspapers.

Yesterday I went into a frozen foods shop (Picard) in Brignoles and saw that half their stock had disappeared and there was a very long queue waiting to pay. It took me 30 minutes to get out of their but I got out with enough food to last a week. I have also stocked up on much needed wine the week before and was thinking “thank God I live in France” where wine is affordable! I’m also thankful that I am a decent cook and that I can whip up international dishes to serve my family (I have two adolescent kids and a French hubby) like chicken stew, tagines, cous cous, sushi, Mexican chili, Thai fish cakes, Chinese dumplings etc. I love to cook and having lived around the world I always have a good choice of different spices and oils in my kitchen, cupboards full of seaweed and rice, a fridge full of miso and tofu, and freezer full of wild boar (from our last hunter’s gift) and baguettes – did you know bread freezes really well? It’s a great time to empty those cupboards!

Details about Macron’s speech and demands here:

Before all this drama with COVID-19, or rather, while it still seemed far away (when cases were being recorded in China), I wrote a piece about my last six years as Council member of Cotignac. I know it seems a bit out of place currently (with the more pressing reality of a killer virus going rampant) but I needed to put down, in writing, the important work I have been involved in, with and for the village. My duties have now come to an end (with the recent Municipal elections on the 15th of March 2020) as being a British citizen I was cruelly no longer allowed to vote or serve as a result of Brexit. But I will continue doing what I can to promote and help bring attention to everything our village has to offer, to tourists and residents alike. Here’s wishing all of you good health and bon continuation! One day this will all be behind us and we will see international travellers in and out of Provence once again. For now though, I can only take photos from around my house (please follow me on instagram under Provence Living, Susana Iwase) but will keep my followers updated on important information. You can also follow me on Facebook: Susana Iwase.