PARIS — With their bright yellow awnings and sagging iron shelves, the Gibert Jeune bookstores, which sell cheap secondhand books, have been a fixture of the Latin Quarter in Paris for over a century, a mainstay of the neighborhood’s shabby-chic intellectual life and beloved by tourists too.
“So old and unchangeable,” said Anny Louchart, 74, a longtime customer who was recently rummaging through boxes of paperbacks at one of the stores, her voice filled with nostalgia.
But a sales assistant told Ms. Louchart that four of the store’s seven outposts in the area, including the one she stood in, would soon close, hard hit by a drop in sales because of the pandemic.
robbing their city of its soul has not spared the Latin Quarter, where fashion stores and fast-food restaurants have taken over many of the spaces once occupied by ancient cafes, bookstores and movie theaters. The neighborhood’s appeal has driven up rents, causing a once-vibrant student life to crumble.
Figures from the urban planning agency Apur show that 42 percent of the Latin Quarter’s bookstores have vanished in the past 20 years, and Paris’s open-air booksellers are also fighting for survival.
But the news of the closings of the Gibert Jeune bookstores — an institution that seemed immortal to many people — has sounded an unusual alarm. It strikes at the very heart of the neighborhood’s identity: access to culture at an affordable price.
Three Gibert Jeune stores just closed, and the fourth was expected to follow suit in the next few days.
student-led “May 1968” protests that took place there.
Ernest Hemingway wrote that Paris and its Latin Quarter allowed “a way of living well and working, no matter how poor you were.”
Michel Carmona, a historian and geographer specializing in Paris, said that the cultural erosion of the Latin Quarter started in the 1980s and was intertwined with the gradual decline of student life. “Cheap bookstores, cafes and movie theaters are primarily for students,” he said.
He added that residents of the neighborhood were increasingly “transit people” — wealthy foreigners eager to have a pied-à-terre or tourists renting Airbnb apartments.
At the heart of this dynamic lies a paradox: Gentrification uproots the same bohemian charm that draws people to the Latin Quarter.
Latin Quarter Committee that lobbies the authorities on defending the neighborhood’s cultural identity.
In an attempt to help, the Paris authorities said they had acquired the premises of some struggling bookstores and offered them rents slightly below the market rate.
In a statement, the leadership of the Gibert Jeune chain said that “the Covid crisis, with the emptying of the Latin Quarter of Paris,” had been the final straw.
apocalyptic” since the start of the pandemic. The gloom that has settled over Paris has been perhaps most conspicuous in the Latin Quarter, whose very heart — the cafes, restaurants, theaters and museums — stopped beating amid government lockdown restrictions to fight coronavirus infections.
The temporary shutdown of these cultural pillars has resonated among local residents as a dress rehearsal for the near future. Cafes and theaters have not reopened since the fall, when a second wave of infections was taking hold in France, and many fear that some will have gone out of business by the time restrictions are lifted.
On the Rue Champollion, a cobbled, narrow street close to the Sorbonne, the lines of film buffs that once stretched out on the sidewalks in the middle of the day are nowhere to be found today. The three art-house movie theaters there were closed for the lockdown
One of the theaters, Le Champo, has been displaying extracts from its guest book — “the memory box,” as it called them — behind its closed windows. A 2018 message left by the prolific screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière, who died last month, read: “For Le Champo! So many years later … and how many more years to come?”
Governments across Europe raced on Friday to lift suspensions on the AstraZeneca vaccine and reassure an exhausted and anxious public that it was safe amid a new wave of infections that led many countries to reimpose harsh restrictions on movement and businesses.
German officials warned that plans to ease restrictions by Easter would have to be put on hold and said that more measures might be needed in the weeks ahead. Paris was one of many cities across France where people were essentially ordered to stay at home. Italy entered its third national lockdown on Monday, and Poland will put in place its own lockdown on Saturday.
The rapid moves to tighten what were already relatively stringent restrictions came as nearly every country in Europe that had halted use of the AstraZeneca vaccine — including France, Germany Italy and Spain — said they would start using it again.
But the brief halt in the use of the vaccine underscored the slow pace of mass inoculation campaigns, which led officials to warn that the only way to control the virus was to impose restrictions.
900,000 last week, according to the World Health Organization. But this spring, it was supposed to be different.
Vaccines are rolling out, albeit at a halting pace. They are effective. They can stop serious illness and death. And for the vast majority of people in Europe, and around the world, they are agonizingly out of reach.
three times more vaccines per 100 people than countries in the European Union —meaning that it is likely to be months rather than weeks before enough people will be inoculated for vaccines to turn the tide of the pandemic.
“There are not yet enough vaccine doses in Europe to stop the third wave by vaccination alone,” Germany’s health minister, Jens Spahn, said on Friday. “Even if the deliveries from E.U. orders come reliably, it will still take a few weeks until the risk groups are fully vaccinated.”
The mass vaccination efforts across the European Union were thrown into deeper turmoil this week as more than a dozen countries suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine while reports of a possible link to rare side effects involving blood clots were investigated.
On Thursday, the bloc’s medical regulator, the European Medicines Agency, said that its review came to the firm conclusion that the vaccine was “safe and effective.”
Political leaders rushed to try and undo any damage to the public’s trust and faith in AstraZeneca and vaccines more broadly — with a number of them rolling up their sleeves and getting the shots themselves to drive the point home.
reported nearly 40,000 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, according to a New York Times database — the highest number since November, when a second wave of infection forced the entire country into lockdown.
On Friday, the authorities ordered the lockdown of Paris once again, one of many regions in the country where a weary public was told the now familiar refrain: The situation is getting worse and desperate action must be taken to keep it from deteriorating even further.
tracking coronavirus restrictions around the world, said it was remarkable how similar the pattern playing out across Europe in recent days was to the situation a year ago.
“A big question is whether people will do again in spring 2021 what they did in spring 2020,” he said.
Constant Méheut and Gaia Pianigiani contributed reporting.
PARIS — Amandine Chéreau hurried from her cramped student apartment in suburban Paris to catch a train for an hourlong trip into the city. Her stomach rumbled with hunger, she said, as she headed for a student-run food bank near the Bastille, where she joined a snaking line with 500 young people waiting for handouts.
Ms. Chéreau, 19, a university student, ran out of savings in September after the pandemic ended the babysitting and restaurant jobs she had relied on. By October, she had resorted to eating one meal a day, and said she had lost 20 pounds.
“I have no money for food,” said Ms. Chéreau, whose father helps pay her tuition and rent, but couldn’t send more after he was laid off from his job of 20 years in August. “It’s frightening,” she added, as students around her reached for vegetables, pasta and milk. “And it’s all happening so fast.”
As the pandemic begins its second year, humanitarian organizations in Europe are warning of an alarming rise in food insecurity among young people, following a steady stream of campus closings, job cuts and layoffs in their families. A growing share are facing hunger and mounting financial and psychological strain, deepening disparities for the most vulnerable populations.
intensifying crisis over how to meet their basic dietary needs. As the global economy struggles to rebound from the worst recession since World War II, hunger is on the rise.
In the United States, nearly one in eight households doesn’t have enough to eat. People in already food-starved countries face a greater crisis, with food insecurity in the developing world expected to nearly double to 265 million people, according to the United Nations World Food Program.
In France, Europe’s second-largest economy, half of young adults now have limited or uncertain access to food. Nearly a quarter are routinely skipping at least one meal a day, according to le Cercle des Économistes, a French economic think tank that advises the government.
acknowledged a growing crisis after undergraduate and graduate students demonstrated in cities across France, where higher education is seen as a right and the state finances most costs. He announced a rapid relief plan, including 1-euro meals daily at university cafeterias, psychological support and a review of financial aid for those facing a “lasting and notable decline in family income.”
Linkee, a nationwide food bank that set up new services dedicated to students who cannot get enough food. “Students have become the new face of this precariousness,” he said.
Food insecurity among students was not uncommon before the pandemic. But the problem has ballooned since European countries imposed national lockdowns last spring to contain the coronavirus.
Aid organizations that mainly fed refugees, the homeless and people below the poverty line have refocused operations to also meet a surge in demand among youth. At the Restos du Coeur, one of France’s largest food banks, with 1,900 outlets, the number of young adults under 25 lining up for meals has risen to become nearly 40 percent of the total.
Over eight million people in France visited a food bank last year, compared with 5.5 million in 2019. Food aid demand across Europe has surged by 30 percent, according to the European Food Banks Federation.
While the government subsidizes campus meals, it doesn’t provide food pantries. As the cost of staying fed grows insurmountable for students with little or no income, university administrators have turned to aid groups for help fighting hunger.
The pandemic has wiped out jobs in restaurants, tourism and other hard-hit sectors that were once easily accessible to young people. Two-thirds have lost work that helped them make ends meet, according to the National Observatory of Student Life.
limit mass layoffs and prevent bankruptcies. But that hasn’t shielded parents from the recession’s widening toll.
Co’p1/Solidarités Étudiantes, the food bank Ms. Chéreau visited, opened near the Bastille in October when six students from Paris Sorbonne University banded together after seeing more of their peers go hungry.
Aided by the Paris mayor’s office and the Red Cross, they negotiated donations from supermarkets and food companies like Danone. Now, 250 student volunteers organize pasta, cereal, baguettes, milk, soda, vegetables and sanitary items to give to 1,000 students a week — though the need is five times greater, said Ulysse Guttmann-Faure, a law student and a founder of the group. Students go online to reserve a place in the line.
“At first, it took three days for these slots to fill up,” he said. “Now, they’re booked in three hours.”
Food banks like these, run by student volunteers for other students, have become a rare bright spot for thousands who have been struggling silently to confront the psychological toll of living with the pandemic.
Thomas Naves, 23,a philosophy major on a scholarship at Nanterre University, said he felt abandoned and isolated taking online classes for months at a time in a tiny studio.
When his student jobs were cut, he began seeking out food banks that set up at his campus twice a week. There, he found not only desperately needed meals, but a way to escape loneliness and cope with his growing distress. His parents were both ill, and were themselves barely making ends meet.
Mr. Naves settled behind a small table in his student lodging one recent afternoon to eat a microwaved curry he had gotten from the campus food pantry. In his closet was a small stock of donated pasta and canned goods — enough to eat several more meals.
“Going to the food bank is the only option to feed myself,” he said.
“But meeting other students in my situation made me realize that we are all sharing this suffering together.”