Confinement in Carcassonne, Day 9

So many of all of us around the world are now hunkered down, and we send great wishes to you and your loved ones for your health and pleasant experiences during confinement. We would be very interested to hear about your “stay at home” experiences. Here’s a little update about what’s going on in confinement in Carcassonne.

I’ll start with a little humor, and then will move on to the more serious stuff.

Here on Confinement in Carcassonne Day 9, Jeff’s and my theme song is “Happy to be Stuck With You.” A little more on that song at the end of the post.

And here’s a little French humor for us all.

Confinement in Carcassonne Nouveau Decret

This roughly translates to: “New Decree: Due to the confinement, cocktail hour is advanced to 9:00 am in the morning. Thank you.” Made me laugh out loud!

We had a l’heure de l’apéro (cocktail hour) FaceTime date, complete with wine and munchies, with two friends yesterday – and despite the (humorous) New Decree, we did wait until 5:00 pm. It was so nice to connect with friends “face to face.” We’re going to plan more of these!

Carcassonne’s curfew started March 23

Joining a few other French cities, our mayor announced that we will now be under curfew – not permitted to go out at all – between 9:00 pm and 5:00 am. This is because too many people were ignoring confinement rules and gathering together, thus overwhelming police and security.

Fines for breaking Confinement and Curfew rules have increased dramatically

  • On March 18, fines for breaking rules were 135 euros
  • Yesterday, fines were increased to 1500 euros in the case of a repeat offense within 15 days
  • And then to 3,700 euros and six months in prison in the case of four violations within 30 days

Confinement will probably be extended

Yesterday, March 24, the Scientific Council published an opinion that national confinement should be extended four more weeks, making it a total of (at least) six weeks, which would take us to April 28. So far it’s just an “opinion” – not a mandate yet.


I also have heard second hand that schools are going to be closed until (at least) May 2. Summer vacation in France is July and August, so if school does start back up on May 2, the students will still have two good months of school.

Schools were closed starting Friday March 13; France’s minister of education rolled out an online learning platform on Sunday March 15, and by Tuesday March 17 some teachers were teaching classes live online.

Exercise was limited even further starting March 24

Here are the new exercise restrictions:

  • Only one hour per person
  • Only one time per day
  • Only a radius of 1 kilometer from your home (just over half a mile)
  • Fortunately, Jeff and I can go out on walks together (people confined together can be together)

March 19, a new list of “off limits” places was listed

  • Carcassonne’s La Cité – our medieval walled city. I’m so glad we can see it from our house, and it makes me so sad that we can’t just walk into it for a while. About 47 people live inside the walls – it must be so very quiet for those residents (and, of course it’s quiet everywhere)
  • Forests
  • Seaside beaches and inland waterfront areas
  • Leisure centers
  • Areas around all castles an abbeys
  • The banks of the Canal du Midi

We’ve mostly stayed home

I will admit we’ve left our property only once in these 9 days since the first day of confinement in Carcassonne (and all of France) which was Tue. March 17. It’s bizarre – I don’t think I’ve ever in my adult life stayed at home for 7 or 8 days in a row. Not that we’re frightened, but there’s just so much here to keep us busy that we haven’t felt too stir crazy yet.

Monday March 23, signed attestations and IDs in hand, we biked to the grocery store to make our purchases, and we’re having half of them delivered to the house today. We biked back home right after shopping.

Town and the store were very quiet, of course.

Confinement in Carcassonne a very empty Place Carnot

Our store had mostly everything, except it was out of pasta, and there weren’t many eggs or much meat.

We didn’t get pulled over while we were out – police didn’t ask to see our attestations. A lot of people are practicing the 1 meter of social distancing, but many are not.

Postal services are limited

Yesterday it was announced that deliveries will be reduced:

  • four days per week this week
  • three days per week starting next week

Farmer’s markets are now closed

Our latest confinement in Carcassonne house project – organizing the ground floor store rooms!

Friday March 20 – Jeff built shelves in one of our store rooms on our ground floor

Saturday March 21 – Jeff painted the shelves

Confinement in Carcassonne Jeff paiting the new shelves

Sunday March 22 – we took about five hours and moved an overwhelming, inaccessible pile of stuff that’s been sitting there for months on to the new shelves, labeled and organized! This means that next December I know where our Christmas place mats and plates are!

Confinement in Carcassonne the pile is organized

Confinement in Carcassonne items organized on the new shelves

Our department (county), Aude, has laws about quiet hours

More people of course are doing yard work and noisy things around the home, so our French friend who is keeping us informed posted info about the law in our “county.” I love this – on weekends, noise pollution is not permitted during the two-or-three-hour lunch time. Lunch is indeed a very important thing in the life of the French. Gardening and do it yourself work is authorized:

  • Saturdays, 9am – 12pm, and 2pm – 7pm
  • Sundays and public holidays 10am – 12pm and 3pm – 6pm
  • During the week 8:30am – 7:30pm

Toilet paper stories

Jeff read that bidet sales are up 10-fold in the United States, as a way to deal with the toilet paper issue. So funny, because we removed three bidets from our house in the last year! (To see how much nicer this bathroom looks today, you can read my post No More Shag Carpet in the Bathroom!)

Confinement in Carcassonne an old bidet

In a recent article…

The French are bad at social distancing. The Finns excel at it. LOL!

There are so many things I’m so very grateful for during this time

Our home

OK, I admit it, once or twice I’ve thought that gee, wouldn’t it have been easier to just rent an apartment here in Carcassonne instead of buying a large house that needs “some” work. But now I am SO glad for our many 7-foot windows, our terrace and our balcony bar with views of the castle, our garden, and all of our opportunities for sunlight and outdoor time.

Confinement in Carcassonne balcony bar wine and La Cite

Our grill

One of the wonderful things about our terrace is that we’ve had a grill for at least a year, and we grill, and dine outdoors, almost every night. More outside time.

Confinement in Carcassonne our grill on our terrace

Our American fridge

When we built our new kitchen, yes, I’ll admit, we put in what’s called here an “American Fridge.” Our goal was to have an ice maker so we didn’t have to manually fill ice cube trays every day like we did for our first year living here. (Yes, we use a lot of ice – we dunk our dinner wine in an antique cream bucket with ice every night.) So, yes, I am very happy that we have a large fridge and freezer so it’s been easy for us to stock up. Not hoard – just stock up.

Confinement in Carcassonne our American Fridge

My husband

Jeff is a master at staying busy and coming up with projects (he calls our house “The house of 1000 projects.”) So, like everyone else who’s confined, he’s staying very busy making our home an even better place to be.

Confinement in Carcassonne Jeff mowing our back lawn


I’m so glad it’s spring, with longer days and warmer weather. It would have been much more depressing to be confined when it was colder and darker!

“Happy to be Stuck with You”

As many of you know, it’s a song by Huey Lewis and the News. Some people may not know that they got their start in Mill Valley, Marin County, California, in a bar called The 2am Club which was about a 10 minute drive away from where we lived. We must have driven by it hundreds of times while living there.

Bonne Sante, everyone – Good Health



  • Jenny says:

    Marvelous update on your lives at this time, Vibeke. Thank you! Glad you are staying busy and healthy. The same for us, and hopefully none of us will go bonkers, socially, during this time of social distancing. We spent a couple of weeks camping in Baja recently, and the 8 of us were rather sorry to return! We must get on board with FaceTime Happy Hours soon. Love to you both, Jenny

    • Vibeke Arentz says:

      Bonsoir, Jenny, it’s so nice to hear from you as always! Your camping trip sounds wonderful! Oh, you’ll love FaceTime happy hours! We would love to do that with you – you could have morning mimosas and we could have our l’heure de l’apero chardonnay and munchies! Feel free to pick a morning that would work for you – we’re confined, so any afternoon is available. Big hugs and hope to “see” you soon! Vibeke and Jeff

  • Angelika Ilina says:

    Thank you for sharing, Vibeke! It’s interesting to learn how other places in the world are dealing with the confinement. Here in Puerto Rico, we are on our 2nd week of confinement. We are blessed to have a large balcony with a partial ocean view, so we enjoy ocean breezes as we work from home. We take daily walks to various grocery stores, or just carry a grocery shopping bag with us on our walks, so we have a “reason” to be out and about. I hope you and Jeff stay healthy and safe!

    • Vibeke Arentz says:

      Bonjour, Angelika! I was just thinking about you today, wondering if you were in Puerto Rico. Sounds like you’re in as pleasant a situation as possible. Enjoy, and stay healthy!