As lockdown eases, Parisians go shopping again

Shoppers, carrying home their purchases.

Once the most mundane of sights.

In Paris on Monday (May 11), a vision of hope for desperate shopkeepers.

Stores, factories and some schools have begun reopening.

That after a declining death toll saw eight weeks of strict lockdown eased.

At least some Parisians responded with a bit of retail therapy:

“Being confined for one and a half months, it makes you feel less like a woman, and I think that’s not good. Wearing pyjamas all day long doesn't help either. So, yes I want to go shopping again, buy some more feminine or girly accessories, it’s good for morale.”

Upmarket department store Galeries Lafayette was among those to open its doors.

Strict social distancing was encouraged.

And a lot rides on the reopening.

France’s economy - the second biggest in the euro zone - is forecast to shrink 8% this year.

Boutique owner Ramla Borsali was hopeful, but also fearful:

"I try to look on the bright side, I have a mask, I have antibacterial gel, even for my clients, I offer it to them, I take a lot of care. I disinfect all the time, but I'm afraid. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't afraid."

It wasn’t just France reopening on Monday.

Similar moves across the border in Belgium too.

But the day also brought a warning.

Germany reported a surge in new virus cases after it too eased lockdowns.

France and Belgium will hope that isn’t a vision of their future.