Friday, May 8, 2020

Diary of Covid-19 confinement, day fifty-three, Victory in Europe Day

French Village Diaries covid-19 confinement day fifty-three Victory in Europe 8th May 2020
Village war memorial VE Day 2020

Day fifty-three, 8th May 2020

75th anniversary Victory in Europe Day

8th May is always a public holiday here in France to commemorate VE Day, the end of Second World War in Europe. We usually mark the occasion with the laying of flowers at the village war memorial accompanied by an address from the government, read out by the Maire, and a minute’s silence. We then congregate in the salle des fêtes for a shared moment of conviviality with friends and neighbours, where apero nibbles and drinks are served. 

French Village Diaries covid-19 confinement day fifty-three Victory in Europe 8th May 2020
Village floral tribute VE Day 2020

Despite today marking the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe, the current war with Covid-19 meant this morning there was no ceremony, no gathering of villagers and no vin d’honneur or tasty treats from the boulangerie. I popped down to take a photo after the Maire had laid the floral tribute, and the only movement in the centre of the village was the fluttering of the flags in the breeze. It was a rather subdued and ordinary day to mark such a momentous anniversary.

From Monday the strict rules of lockdown will be relaxed here in France, however social distancing is something that will remain for the foreseeable future. The virus has not gone away, but we need to adapt our way of life and find a way to live with it. With bars still closed and no date yet given for their reopening, and most summer events and festivals already cancelled, it will be the lack of community organised social gatherings that I will miss most this summer. Nothing says French village life quite like the coming together of friends and neighbours, sharing a meal and dancing in the bar or salle des fêtes, or just a fun afternoon of games and picnics in the village park. We do need to find a new normal, but it will be a sad thing for small communities if we can’t continue to hold events that celebrate village life.

French Village Diaries covid-19 confinement day fifty-three village events
One of our village summer events

Tonight, we shall be raising our glasses in memory of all those who brought peace to Europe on this day seventy-five years ago. Santé !


  1. Jacquie, your comments are so evocative of expressing the essence of life in France and how this is being affected by the dreadful Covid-19. We hope for the miracle of a cure/solution/vaccine that will once again allow French traditions to breathe life back into every part of the country. That goes for the rest of the world as well ... so much at stake.

    1. Thank you Patricia, life won't be quite so colourful if we can't hold the events we've come to love. Fingers crossed.


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