Image of Le Figaro newspaper small business owners
Billet d'Humeur/At a Glance

Paris: Shopping for Essentials – Who decides?

Thinking about the holiday shopping ahead? France is working through a vocabulary issue: what is considered essential shopping and what is non-essential? On the morning breakfast show, Télématin, Gabriel Atal, a government spokesperson, said it was unfortunate the government chose the legal form of the word, essential. In other words, deciding what is or is not essential is very controversial.

Small businesses are hurting in November

Image of store sign asking shoppers to order online
Image of store sign asking shoppers to order online with free delivery of 50 Euros

Monoprix, a mini-department store (grocery, household, parapharmacy, clothing, toiletries, etc.) was fully open during the first 55-day lockdown. This time, to be in solidarity with the small business, certain departments are cordoned off: books for example. However, magazines are sold because the magazine kiosks and shops are open. The toys are blocked off except for the small animal figurine play toys, and you can buy Christmas wrapping paper. You can buy underwear and children’s clothes but not adult clothes. During the first lockdown, Monoprix clothing became “la mode de vie”! At FNAC you can buy tech equipment, televisions and radios, appliances but not photo, music and books. “Click and collect” is the term du jour. Order non-essentials online and pick it up. Buy up to 50 Euros at Bring France Home and you receive free delivery.

Nous restons ouverts Bastille Optic Reconfinement
Nous restons ouverts (We are staying open) Bastille Optic during Reconfinement – my eyewear shop

There is more foot and vehicular traffic than the first lockdown. The restaurants and bars are closed. Cases are dropping now mid-November. Maybe the small business will be able to reopen December 1. Maybe the holidays will take on a new appearance. Holiday decorations are lighting up the shops and streets but will anyone be shopping?  Government subsidies are going out to the closed shops and restaurants so they can try to hold on.

C’est la vie in Paree for the moment.

Image of Le Figaro newspaper small business owners
Le Figaro newspaper the distress of the small business owners. The For Sale sign shows the phone number of the Elysée Palace, official Presidential residence