#1146. Paris with only Parisians

By Dallas Thomas | Travel Photography

Oct 13

Normal is something we all haven’t experienced in more than 18months. On this visit to Paris, from late October 2020 onwards has been like no other time I doubt and hope to never see again. Non essential shops closed, cafe/restaurants export/takeaway only for many months. No museums, no theatre, no cinema and no live cultural experiences. Curfews from 9pm to 6am, restrictions on how far you can venture from home, firstly 1km then extended to 10km. No exit from Paris allowed. Empty streets that are usually buzzing with cars, buses and people.

Looking toward L’église de la Madeleine

As lockdown was eased in mid May 2021 and life returned to some form of normal with museums and other cultural venues slowly being again to allow public access albeit at first via pre-bookings. We had the privilege of visiting venues that are normally a mecca for Parisians and visitors alike with extremely small numbers of visitors.


For those of you that have visited the Louvre, this scene above is unimaginable. The other areas of the Louvre that we visited were exactly the same.

Looking towards the Louvre from the top of the Tuileries Jardin

Another gallery, empty!

Trying to get a seat in this park, in the Marais, to just sit and take in the surrounds can be challenging, however, not the case on this day in January. Its usually full of locals reading and chatting.


Place des Vosges below is another area that in normal times is bustling.


Chateau de Versailles is one the most visited sites in France. To be able to visit with only a few others after hours was a privilege. That is a story in itself, if you are interested in the experience visit this website.

The Hall of Mirrors.
Hand held Pano of the Palace, during opening hours
The forecourt – after hours
Hall of Mirrors from the normal direction on visit – after hours
The Grand Trianon – before opening to the public for the day.
The Orangerie – during opening hours – so The Palace was not overrun with tourists even in mid-June.

Another case in point is The Musée de l’Orangerie an art gallery of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings located in the west corner of the Tuileries Gardens next to the Place de la Concorde in Paris. Famous for housing Monet’s Water Lilies. This image was taken just after reopening in mid June.

Musée d’Orsay during opening hours
One the many Parisian passages.

An early morning self guided tour of Opera Garnier with fellow senior DS contributor Philippe.

In the 7th Arrondissement pre-dawn
Cloudy morning looking towards Gare de Lyon
Place de la Bastille
Domaine National du Palais-Royal
Rue de Rivoli

I know Paris was not unlike any other major world city during this pandemic. The lack of the usual hustle and bustle that we’re come to expect and love/hate was missing. It has been a truely unique and unexpected experience to be in Paris during this period. I felt the need to document this as part of history.


​Never miss a post

​Like what you are reading? Subscribe below and receive all posts in your inbox as they are published. Join the conversation with thousands of other creative photographers.

  • Nancee Rostad says:

    I absolutely love your images and post, Dallas! That’s the Paris I always wanted to see on my many visits – empty streets, museums, historical sites, etc! Just me wandering around being able to see everything without having to dodge people on the sidewalks or wait at crosswalks – I can’t think of anything better. I had a similar but much less exciting experience in Seattle right after the first lockdown in 2020 when I drove through the city which was empty of all pedestrians and cars. I could have pitched a tent in the middle of any street! I was able to stop my car without parking or pulling over to take photos – none of which were very interesting. The City of Light has never looked more serene or beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

    • Nancee, many thanks for your kind words. It was a privilege and a pleasure to be able to experience Paris like this and then to be able to share to others so they may enjoy also. Take care

  • Pascal O. says:

    Dallas, your set of pictures is stunning!
    Stunning because of the situation of course, but more importantly because of the quality of your reporting.
    Color, black and white, Versailles’ hall of mirrors, Opera Garnier, the Louvre, dawn, dusk or broad daylight, you name it, what a splendid selection and, as always with you, executed in an immaculate way.
    A truly remarkable set to remember a period we indeed wish to forget.
    Thank you !!

    • Pascal, I’m very humbled by extremely kind and generous kind comments, lets hope we or our grandchildren never to have experience anything like COVID again.

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Chilling. And yet there are still lunatics out there trying to tell the world that COVID doesn’t exist, it’s just a conspiracy.

    You would probably have seen more people in these streets and venues during WW2!

    I love the photos – sort of – the subject matter is a bit bleak – I found myself thinking of all the hand held panos I’ve done , and then I found I was trying mentally to excuse all the emptiness on the grounds that you got up before anyone else, while the streets were still empty and parisians were still munching on a croissant & drinking coffee. But then I found it wouldn’t work, because it was just as empty at dusk – or later.

    Which pano program do you use to join the shots, Dallas? I’ve given up on Adobe’s, and gone over to Affinity’s

  • Mel says:

    Thank you Dallas for the wonderful photos and reportage. Your image of The Musée de l’Orangerie took me back to my first visit to Paris. I loved to sit by the Water Lilies, my thoughts floating along with them on the quiet blue surface. Reveries reawakened.

  • Michael Fleischer says:

    Hi Dallas, so much concentrated (opulent) art without human appreciation makes for a stark contrast.
    We humans brings life to things.
    Your photos is a rich voyage of colour/shape/form and detail convey a delicate sense of presence
    in the absence of many people; our lives are temporary and fragile.
    What a great collection…I keep looking!

  • Lad Sessions says:

    Dallas, These are wonderful! The ornate interiors, the stylish buildings, the immense outdoor spaces, all marvelously depicted by a very skillful photographer. But the mood these vacant scenes conjure is eerie. It’s a rare and important glimpse of our civilization without its creators or inhabitants. Thank you so much for sharing these.

    • Hi Lad, thank you for your very kind comments, it was a privilege to be able to capture these movements in history and be able to share them with DS Readers.

  • Phil Cargill says:

    Hi Dallas. Greetings from Sydney. This is a brilliant documentary on the impact of Covid in a city that everyone knows and loves. The absence of crowds is very chilling and your images capture the reality that we have all been living these past months. One image in particular, the Hall of Mirrors, reminds me of the time I visited several years ago. The area was so crowded I was unable to free my arms to raise my camera to eye level. Great images.
    Well done.

    • Hi Phil, You comments about the Hall of Mirrors made me smile I had a similar experience. It was a privilege to be able to capture and share these images. Enjoy the end of lockdown and take care thanks for your kind comments.

  • philberphoto says:

    What a breathtaking set of images, Dallas! The visual impact interfaces so well with the story and with your own style. Wow! Very, very Wow!!

  • >