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Before anything else, we’d like to make it clear that we also think the spread of Covid-19 is one of the worst things to happen to humanity right now. We see how it continues to wreak havoc upon the daily lives of people in different parts of the globe. We see it every day, several times a day on the TV, on the papers, on the Internet, and social media.
This sphere of information has become way too saturated and so we thought it would be nice to swim against this tide of ‘bad news’. We’ve decided to compile a bunch of good stories that have come out in the midst of the current situation. We hope it inspires you to laugh, to be hopeful, and to pay forward kindness.
Expect to read a lot about FREE things, extraordinary acts of generosity by individuals, and government action! Here we go!
Read this article if you’d like to see what Paris looks like during the lockdown!
1. LVMH has stepped in to provide hydro-alcoholic gels for hospitals
LVMH, the parent company of luxury brands Louis Vuitton, Dior, Chaumet, and Dom Perignon, is repurposing its perfume manufacturing facilities to make hand sanitizers to be donated to hospitals in France.
The production plants for Christian Dior, Guerlain, and Givenchy perfumes located in Saint-Jean de Braye, Chartres, and Beauvais, respectively are those who have taken up the task of manufacturing these hydro-alcoholic gels.
2. Restaurants across Paris gave away their food
Following the announcement of President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday evening, many Parisian restaurateurs were quick to think on their feet on how to dispose of their perishable foods like vegetables, fruits, and breads.
Mr. Denamur, owner of the popular Les Philosophes in Le Marais, is a glowing example of generosity. He asked his employees to come in on Monday to grab whatever food the could. Residents in the area also lined up on the street as he donated the rest to them.
Other restaurants like Daroco in the 2nd organized sales of their fresh ingredients like mozzarella, pizza dough, cured meats at very low prices.
|INSIDR Tip: Not all restaurants have actually completely closed their doors. Those that have been allowed to stay open have converted their services to strictly take-away or delivery. Check your delivery apps like Deliveroo and Glovo! Click|
3. Canal+, one of France’s major cable TV channels is now FREE
The CEO of Canal+ (Canal Plus) announced that its TV channels that were previously only available through paid subscription, can now be accessed for free during this confinement period until April 15, 2020.
This is an absolutely great news for many people who don’t have access to other paid subscriptions like Netflix as Canal+ has tons of films, tv series, kid-friendly-shows, and documentaries.
4. Chocolatier donates his Easter treats to hospital staff
Expert chocolatier Jacques Genin, ranked among France’s best artisans, may have closed his shops but not his lab! He donated no less than 500kg of fine chocolate to be transported through France’s Ministry of Health. The chocolate creations included his hand-painted Easter eggs—surely they’ll cheer up the hospital staff who have been working very hard to fight this pandemic.
According to Genin, “we don’t care about money at this point, people are what matter and without all of our medical staff, we wouldn’t be here.” Warms the heart!
5. You can tour the Louvre—and it’s for free!
It was a big shock when the Louvre announced closing its doors especially to so many travellers who used the museum as their deciding factor for continuing their trips to France. But the world-class museum has found an amazing solution for its disappointed fans!
The Louvre has announced its virtual tours of the museum which you can access for free online! Through this virtual tour, you can visit the museum’s exhibition rooms and galleries and contemplate the façades of the Louvre. Click here to transport yourself from your couch to inside the Louvre Museum!
We wrote an article that talks about the must-see works of art when you ‘visit’ the Louvre!
|INSIDR Tip: You can also get free access to all the works of art from the collection of Paris Musées! You can look at them, download them, and print them! Another free virtual experience is the Faces of Frida exhibition that let’s you take a closer look at the many faces of Frida Kahlo through her life, art, and legacy.|
6. You can watch shows at the Opéra for free!
But you’ll be watching them on your screen, from the comfort of your home. So even though all of Paris’ opera houses and theatres have been closed, you can still fullfill your dreams of watching shows like Swan Lake and The Barber of Seville!
Here are the shows available to access online:
Manon: from March 17th to 22nd
Don Giovanni (2019): from March 23rd to 29th
Swan Lake (2019): from March 30th to April 5th
The Barber of Seville (2014): from April 6th to 12th
Robbins night (2018): from April 13th to 19th
The Tales of Hoffmann (2016): from April 20th to 26th
Carmen (2017): from April 27th to May 3rd
|INSIDR Tip: If you’re a fan of classical music, watch for free the concerts that have been held at the prestigious Paris Philharmonie! Watch them here.|
7. Shelter will be provided to the homeless
Being under confinement is not how many people imagined to welcome the coming of spring. But while we stay comfortable inside our homes, there are thousands of homeless people especially in France’s largest cities who are the most vulnerable to catching the Covid-19.
According to France’s Ministry of Housing, accommodation centers that house about 14,000 people under the ‘winter plan’ will be extended for 2 months! And because that is still not enough, the government is trying to identify hotels and public places that can accommodate the homeless during this period. For example, new gymnasiums opened in Paris and Toulouse precisely for this purpose.
In addition, the French hotel group AccorHotels has been able to offer up to 2,000 beds in 40 hotels across France for the homeless.
8. The quai Branly museum joins Culture Chez Nous!
The museum offers a virtual tour of the Collections Plateau, with Google Arts & Culture, to discover or rediscover its architecture, its scenography and the masterpieces of its collections. There is also selection of 25 works accompanied by detailed instructions, high-definition images and videos that complete the discovery.
If you’re looking for video material, head on over to their YouTube channel for videos presenting the collections and for video recordings of their shows and concerts!
9. French people have organized to party all together!
You’ve read that right! People all over France are gearing up for the biggest party ever—a party from their respective balconies and windows! La Fête Aux Balcons event will be held this Friday, March 20, from 8-9pm, in all windows and balconies of those who want to follow movement.
This event was inspired by our Italian neighbors who have shown that we can still take pleasure in the little things, and uplift each other, especially the brave medical workers, police officers, and supermarket staff who are working every day!
How it works:
It’s simple! You just have to play your favorite music or you can tune in to one of the hundreds of French DJs and musicians who are going to play live on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram and DANCE!
This is the only party that doesn’t require you to get dressed in fancy clothes nor pay an expensive entrance fee!
|INSIDR Tip: Did you know that since Tuesday, French people have been opening their windows or stepping out into their balconies at 8pm ever night to clap their hands and shout out cheers for the medical workers? Truly heartwarming.|
10. Free shelter to healthcare providers in France
AccorHotels has been quick to help provide shelter for medical workers fighting the Covid-19 epidemic in France. Access to their CEDA platform will be free while operations will be paid for by public authorities.
As for AirBnb, they have launched ‘Appartsolidaire‘ which is an online platform to offer free accommodation to medical staff and social workers in France, following a similar initiative in Italy. Basically, each host that provides free housing for medical and social workers during this time will receive 50€ from AirBnb.
11. New government initiative to help victims of domestic violence
Unfortunately, the horrors of this virus do not stay in one sphere only. France’s interior minister says that reports of domestic violence across the country have jumped by more than 30% since the country went into lockdown on March 17th.
The French government has reserved social housing units and hotels where victims can seek shelter during this period of confinement.
In addition, there has been a new code devised for victims to be able to report cases of abuse. Basically, victims can go to a pharmacy, even when with their abuser, and report the abuse discreetly. One such code is: mask 19.
The emergency hotline for victims, 3919, would remain open during this period.
12. Luxury label Dior makes masks for France’s front-liners
Dior is one of the latest to share their resources in showing support for France’s brave front-liners fighting the spread of Covid-19. Dior has announced that they have re-opened the workshop of Baby Dior to make protective masks. This comes after committing to produce hydroalcoholic gel under the leadership of its parent company LVMH.
Bravo to Dior! Once again, they’ve proven that they’re not only forward-thinking when it comes to supporting equality rights but also when it comes to crisis support.
13. Monnaie de Paris creates a medal to celebrate France’s front-liners
People everywhere in France have been showing their support to all the brave front-liners by going out of their balconies and opening their windows to clap in solidarity every night at 8pm. Monnaie de Paris, the government institution responsible for producing France’s euro coins has just announced the release of a commemorative medal.
This medal’s face shows a doctor, a nurse, and a firefighter with a big ‘Merci’ on top. There is also another version with a garbage collector, a cashier, and a farmer.
They are only some of the key figures who have continued to go to work to hold French society together. While no material thing can ever compare to their contribution, this commemorative medal aims to not only be a symbol but also raise funds for the Fondation de France. Each medal is on sale at 8€ where 6€ will be donated to the fight against the virus.
Click here to order your commemorative medal now!
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