Thousands of French people danced and partied on Monday in the first big blow out since the coronavirus lockdown ignoring Social distancing and abandoning face masks.
The annual midsummer Festival of Music usually brings millions of people out onto the streets across the country for impromptu concerts in cafes and on street corners that go on long into the night.
And despite emergency measures which ban gatherings of more than 10 people, thousands thronged the trendy Canal Saint-Martin and the Marais districts of Paris late Sunday to dance and sing along to bands and DJs.
Not even heavy showers could dampen spirits, with few beyond those serving spicey merguez sausages from street stalls bothering to wear masks.
“The Festival of Music is important, it’s a national event,” 28-year-old reveler Violette told as she boogied to a band in northern Paris.
And she laughed at the idea that people would be strictly respecting social distancing. “Not at all,” she said.
Cinemas also reopened in France on Monday for the first time since the lockdown began in March.
The 5 Caumartin cinema in Paris opened one minute after midnight for a red-carpet champagne and popcorn sneak preview of the upcoming French comedy, “Les Parfums” (The Perfumes), about a prima donna perfume “nose”, who comes up with new fragrances.
“There are no words to describe what I feel. I have been waiting for this for 99 days,” cinema manager Louis Merle told the 120 people who had queued up for their first big-screen experience since March 17.
“Watching series on Netflix is one thing, but the cinema is something else,” said the film’s star Emmanuelle Devos.
Even though cinemas have reopened, they are far from back to normal.
The authorities insist that screenings can never be more than half full with a free seat on either side of each filmgoer.
And everyone must wear masks as they queue for tickets and in the corridors.
Even so, pollsters estimate that 18.7 million French people – almost a third of the population — plan to go see a film in the next month.