Paindemic In Paris
France|December 2020
For American actor and writer Alexander Burnett, a shortage of bread at his local boulangerie was one of the biggest challenges of lockdown in his adopted home city

In the era of Covid-19, one thing has remained the same in France: Parisians must have their pain. And after several painful weeks of subsisting on frozen supermarket bread, I figured I could justify a nip down the street to my local boulangerie for the real deal. After all, I had gone weeks without seeing my favored bâtard six céréales. So, like any good Parisian in 2020, I donned a mask, signed myself a hall pass, and set out into the wild streets (read: largely deserted and primarily populated by pigeons).

When I arrived at the boulangerie, I joined a socially distanced line that snaked around the corner like an invisible ski rope tow. While such a line might have once deterred me in a previous life, now I welcomed the opportunity to stand outside for a few extra moments in the warm afternoon sunlight, which taunted us in our confinement. And besides, I was going to meet the loaf of my life!

Walking the line

From the street, I could see that a plastic barrier had been put up in the boulangerie, sealing off the clientele from the employees, with the exception of a narrow opening through which one could exchange a few coins for a delicious treat. The rows of mille-feuilles and divorcés winked at me. However, here is where things started to turn sourdough.

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