I get out of bed early and look out the window. From my bedroom, I can see apartments, trees and parked cars; the Eiffel Tower standing forlornly in the distance; light grey shadows on the sides of buildings; and almost nothing else.
A rubbish truck appears. Two men in fluorescent orange get off their standing platforms, throw some debris into the back, then carry on their way.
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From time to time, crows appear in the sky, their cackles mocking the souls beneath them.
It's been almost 48 hours since the confinement began. In that time, I've been stuck inside an apartment on the outskirts of Paris. I'm safe and well, but I know that boredom will eventually set in. With the scenery more uniform than ever, I'm slowly losing track of what day it is.
To call the last week a whirlwind would be something of an understatement. Last Thursday no one, as far as I knew, would have foreseen how severe this crisis would become. Back then the City of Lights was as bright as ever. In the fashionable streets of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, restaurants, brasseries and cafes were their usual hive of activity. Families, friends and couples were chatting away over plates and glasses. While the crisis was spreading, it was yet to touch their way of life.
In hindsight, we all should have been more wary of the virus – or "vee-rooss", as it's called here – but when no one seemed to know anyone who had contracted it, putting oneself under virtual house arrest at this stage would have seemed needlessly paranoid.
By Monday, however, almost everything had changed. That morning, a dour grey sky hung over Paris. Though unremarkable on any other day, it looked like an absurdly obvious portent of bad news.
I took a walk around the city; it was a ghost town. The area around the closed-off Eiffel Tower was almost empty. At its base, a couple of men carrying metal trinkets stood around, looking bemused. Their usual target demographic was nowhere in sight. The air felt heavy with a vague and unknowable fear, as if the city itself knew that something worse was yet to come.
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Feeling hungry, I found a patisserie and bought myself a panini and a flan aux fraises. I asked the woman at the counter if I may eat at one of the tables. 'It's forbidden,' she says. I took my déjeuner à emporter to the Champs de Mars, next to the tower. A few people were taking their dogs for a walk, but aside from them, there was almost no one around.
As I finished my lunch, I realised something else: there were no toilets anywhere. Europe has never been renowned for its abundance of public loos, but now with the closure of all restaurants, cafes and bars, when nature calls people would have nowhere to go. Should a confinement be imminent, the government might not even need to bother with fines; the fear of soiling oneself in public would be reason enough to stay inside.
I caught the Metro home. To open the doors, some lifted the dreaded door lever with their elbows. Others had gloves on.
Leaving the underground, where just three days ago there had been rows of Parisian market stalls, I now saw queues of Parisians. A dozen or so waited patiently outside a boulangerie. A passerby walked past carrying a stockpile of six baguettes.
Nearby, some shoppers had formed their own Covid-19 queue as they waited for the right to enter a pharmacy. Standing two arms' lengths apart, they were keeping a farther distance from each other than the bread customers to their left. Perhaps the fact they were after medicine had made them more sensitive to the threat of transmission, but who knew?
I waited in line for 20 minutes to enter a Carrefour City. Once inside, I stocked up on oranges and kiwifruit. For the days ahead I liked the idea of New Zealand keeping me safe, even if it were only vicariously through one of our exports.
Walking down the aisles, I saw rows of negative space. The shelves of toilet paper, which had been full just a day ago, were now completely bare. Pasta was hard to come by. On the shelves that had previously stocked jars of Nutella, I could only find palm oil-free substitutes. When Nutella supplies have run out, you know the end is nigh.
I look out the window for the millionth time. It's now almost midday. The sun is higher in the sky, but the streets are as quiet as ever. A bus drives past carrying no one.
France is at war; and I worry that New Zealand will soon be too, if it isn't already.
But at least we're on the same side.
• William Sidnam is a New Zealand copywriter currently living in Paris.