Couple with photographer wearing masks
Billet d'Humeur/At a Glance,  Life in Paris & France

Fashionable Paris Masks

I am no longer desperate to find just any kind of face mask. Finding a mask has transitioned into its fashionable period in Paris. Face masks are no longer hard to find. They come in various shapes, prices and patterns. One day I saw a mask that coordinated with the skirt a girl was wearing. What would you think of fashionable Italian designed masks? The Italian-designed face masks are sold at the Casino grocery store on Rue Chemin du Vert. Piled together in a cardboard box without any fanfare, they sell for 3,50 Euros. They are comfortable, lightweight, washable, perfect for summer. The Italian-designed and imported to France masks include a built-in filter.

There was a period when finding a face mask during the pandemic was very difficult. I had to ask the guy selling cotton candy where he bought his black one. Anne, the lady at the pharmacy, was selling masks her friend made. I bought one. I called and ordered two more. I made arrangements to pick up the two and met Anne along the small street Commandant Lamy. She was smoking a cigarette and on the phone. Coincidentally, she was calling me to arrange the pick-up; she had the masks. The scene and the feeling were intriguing, clandestine. There we were —  on the street leaning over the envelope. I passed over the ten Euro bill. She gave me two fashionable masks.

Government-issue and disposal issue

The French Ministry of Health and the Paris Mayor’s office were to supply us with masks by the beginning of May. The separate envelopes arrived one day around the 11th. Each envelope contained four bluish, surgical masks (not fashionable). Blue is not my color. Suddenly, I went from searching desperately for masks to being overwhelmed with masks.

Masks are everywhere, including thrown down along the street with cigarette butts, plastic bottles and other trash. For a while, the streets were not being cleaned. The workers were afraid of possible contamination by masks and gloves being thrown in the trash or those that missed the trash and landed on the ground. Paris was very dirty.

The Ministry of Health has come out with a short video on Twitter how to dispose of the masks and gloves. Collect them in a proper, sealable bag, let the bag sit for 24 hours, then dispose of the bag in regular not recyclable trash.

I am looking for masks to appear in the souvenir shops or Monoprix designed with Parisian monuments next.