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Paris is roaring back despite everything. This week is la rentrée, France’s national return to work after the summer holidays, and the government is doing everything it can to avoid another lockdown. Masks are obligatory in public places, but otherwise life proceeds almost as it did before the pandemic. Stand in the middle of Paris, look around you, and the roads, offices and flats are packed again. Only one (vast) bit of the city centre is almost empty: the river.

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