Novelist Danielle Steel got caught in lockdown in Paris & she’s going bonkers

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From where I sit, the people with the best sense of community in the pandemic are the Italians, the British and New Yorkers. People are scared everywhere, but those are the people who (from the outside looking in) seem to have a sense of virtual togetherness in a time of crisis. Germans seem to be handling the crisis well too, maybe not with a sense of “we’re all in this together,” but with an efficient, easy adaptation to the new reality. I would be curious to hear more from French peeps about how they think they’re handling the pandemic and lockdown. I bring this up because there’s at least one American in Paris who is going a bit bonkers: novelist Danielle Steel. She spoke to Page Six:

Supersuccessful novelist Danielle Steel: “My Paris apartment here is where I live half the time. I got caught in it March 1. I’m scared to death to be a world away. It’s traumatic. Although I have help, I’m afraid. I can write up a storm but — I’m unnerved. Anxious about my kids. Nervous if my children need me. Two had weddings last week. One’s in the Hamptons.

“I’m doing nothing. Staying home so long, you can’t get inspired. Life this way is unacceptable. Nights kill me. So nervous I’ve lost 10 pounds in four weeks. I look at the clock — it’s 9, 12, then 2, then … where did the day go? I go out an hour for exercise, but if a jogger sneezes nearby, it’s terror. You whip out a spray can. Twice a day I do laps around the apartment. I don’t want to live in seclusion. I could be a Carmelite nun. You only have the phone. It’s all about the phone.

“I can’t watch the news. It’s frightening. I don’t want to hear more of a friend’s cousin’s grandmother. Or hear if you smoke, you’re dead. I already have three in my mouth. TV is so terrifying. Like, you’re going to die no matter what you do. I hated science-fiction in school. Now I’m living it. What will normal life be again for us? It’s all unsettling. All sci-fi.”

With 650 million copies of Steel best sellers sold, is another heading our way? “I finally got to work. You never know where ideas come from. Random House is happy with my outline. Wednesday I delivered the new one.” Might today’s current misery end up in a book? “Count on it.”

[From Page Six]

First of all, WHO is losing weight these days? I’m sure I’m losing muscle weight/mass but I’m absolutely replacing it with fat because I can’t work out like I used to and I’ve gotten to that point in the lockdown where I want to eat everything, especially candy and sweets. Second of all, I don’t think anyone is really having weddings right now? Maybe virtual weddings or simple affairs with no guests? And yes, everything is so unsettling. I imagine moreso if you’re caught up in a lockdown in a country not your own.

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56 Responses to “Novelist Danielle Steel got caught in lockdown in Paris & she’s going bonkers”

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  1. whatever says:

    I’m losing weight. I’m nauseated, probably from anxiety, and have no appetite. And I bought a treadmill and had it delivered the first week of lockdown, so I’ve been on it a ton because I need to be active even though I’m cooped up inside. So I’m eating less and exercising more regularly.

    • olala says:

      My friend lost appetite as well..sems like internal anxiety. I wish to.lose weigh though.. doing you tube arm excercise sooo difficult

    • (TheOG) jan90067 says:

      Whatever, I’m like you. I will get hungry, then “reality” of this all floods in and I lose my appetite. I’ve lost 5 lbs so far. I can’t/won’t go “out” to exercise, as I live with my elderly dad (92) and won’t risk bringing anything into the house. I “pace” on my balcony, and try doing some stuff I stream on youtube. I WISH I had the nervous energy to dissipate, but I’m the total opposite: fear makes me inert. I’m exhausted without any reason to be.

      If you asked me what, in my wildest dream, my future would’ve been like, it’d NEVER have included this (and I used to inhale sci-fi books like “The Stand” and all the Stephen King, Dean Koontz stuff).

    • adastraperaspera says:

      I lost my appetite too. And I am a huge foodie. It makes me nauseous to think about my family and friends who are in essential jobs and can’t stay home. I try not to think about it, but…

    • Harper says:

      I’m definitely losing weight also. Not so much from loss of appetite, but from imposed impulse control. I’m eating better because I only ever put healthy foods on my bi-weekly grocery list, but now I can’t just run to McDonalds or the convenience store when I’m craving junk.

  2. maggi says:

    I was booked to fly out of Paris the morning that Icelandic volcano went off in 2010 and all air travel was suspended for an undetermined period of time.
    When I told friends and coworkers that I was ‘stuck’ in Paris, they laughed and assumed I was nothing but lucky to have more time in my favourite city but honestly, it felt horrible.
    After 18 bewildering hours at the airport and trying to get back into the city during a train strike with nothing but the few euros in my pocket, I finally made it back to the apartment of my Parisian boyfriend, who said “oh cherie, what has happened to your face?”
    Ah oui, merci, stress is what happened to my face.

    • Roberta says:

      “Ah oui, merci, stress is what happened to my face.” :-) Thanks, I needed that laugh today!

  3. MrsRobinson says:

    I just remembered that I ran into her daughter in February. Wow that seems like 5 years ago. Danielle Steele has an amazing Pac Heights mansion that would be an amazing place to ride this out. But I’m sure that her Paris apartment is lovely as well.

  4. lucy2 says:

    She says she lives there half the time though, so it’s not like she’s stuck in a hotel or some rental without her own stuff. And while I sympathize with her being far from her family and having anxiety, everyone is in the same boat, and at least she can work.
    I’ve actually lost a little because I had no appetite for the first 2 weeks or so, thanks anxiety! Now all I want is chocolate.

  5. Allz says:

    I think New Zealand has a great sense of community. They’ve locked it down immediately and helping out those in need as much as possible. Didn’t they only have like one death from it? Granted I know they’re a smaller country but still. And their prime minister is everything.

    • Tans says:

      I’m in NZ! So happy to be here and Jacinda is kicking ass. Everything has been locked down completely for weeks. No takeaways means my diet has improved substantially, but I’m snacking more and more and ate two desserts last night, oops.

    • clomo says:

      New Zealand is my favorite country. I lived for a few years in Nelson and miss it so much. If I could time travel I’d go back to that time in my life. Abel Tasman is surreal in its beauty. That whole place is heavenly.

  6. Lady D says:

    I don’t understand people getting ‘caught’ in a lockdown. It has been the lead story in the news for 12-16 weeks now. Everybody knew lockdowns were coming and borders were closing. Everybody. Leaders all over the damn world were calling their people home because borders were closing, flights were stopped, and the pandemic was calling the shots. All the people coming home here, in the States, flying back to Europe, all knew borders were closing. Why didn’t she make plans to fly back six weeks ago? I read an article in Wapo that said something like 400K Chinese people flew into the States in the first three months of this year. What is wrong with people?

    • olala says:

      Oh i actually commented on one influencers post on insta who was caught in Mexico and not able to return home whinging to her sheep herd followers with bunch of sad posed selfies of course:) oh i got attacked for daring to question common sense of wtf she flew to Mexico knowing what is coming

    • M says:

      Yeah it’s a bit odd. She said she was stuck on March 1, but France didn’t go on lockdown until the middle of the month and the US stopped flights from the EU on March 14. I do know the US announcement caught a lot of people off guard, but there was still a window when US nationals were able to make it back. So surely somebody in her family or friend group could have let her know that if she wanted to get home it was time?

      • (TheOG) jan90067 says:

        My older nephew was studying in Berlin (NYU Semester Abroad). He was able to catch a flight to London to LAX, arranged in two days after everyone was told to get home from abroad. If she wanted to come home, she could’ve come home, esp. considering her wealth, she could’ve chartered a private plane!

        If she got “stuck” in Paris, she’s either stupid, thought the rules didn’t apply to her, or well…I’ll stick with those two.

    • R. says:

      Maybe I’m wrong, but didn’t Trump order a travel ban on Chinese people? If so, then the 400k are probs (Chinese)-Americans then. I could be wrong though…I have to say though, a lot of countries and cooperations didn’t take it seriously enough, fast enough…

  7. Aims says:

    Danielle Steele reminds me of my mother.

  8. Rose says:

    I’ve lost about 10 pounds because I don’t eat as much at home , I don’t allow myself snacks or junk food for now .

    • whatever says:

      Same. Stuff like that is an occasional treat when I’m out, but I don’t bring it into the house. So there are no cookies, no ice cream, etc.. here.

      • Lady D says:

        I found a recipe for chewy oatmeal raisin cookies with a cinnamon buttercream. I don’t like sweets, and I’ve never tried buttercream, so I made the mistake of making this recipe. This buttercream stuff is amazing, it’s good but not gag me sweet. First time I’ve ever run my stand mixer for 16 minutes to mix anything, but it was worth it. I’m going to make my third batch this morning. I haven’t gained weight yet, but…

  9. Laalaa says:

    Croatian here. I would say our community is great. Especially with the fact we had a massive earthquake DURING the lockdown.
    It seems almost biblical, but we are handling it well and out health departments are AMAZING

    • Lady D says:

      It’s times like this that you find out what your leaders are really worth, and hope everyone remembers it when it’s time to vote.

  10. R. says:

    I honestly would say South Koreans, Singaporeans, Hong Kongers, Taiwanese people (have heard Vietnamnese as well) and their govs are handling it the best. They are now able to out and meet with friends, small businesses are open etc (thanks to the fact they were following early, strict measurements implemented by their govs) and even now their govs remind them to keep as much distance as possible and to be careful to not overcrowd places.

    • L4frimaire says:

      Singapore went back into lockdown a few days ago. They had in increase in cases. This virus is tricky.

      • R. says:

        Yeah, but from what I understood, mostly out of precaution? Singapore tends to be super cautious and strict. They have 500+ infected people and 6 deaths. Singapore has the same population as where I live and we have deaths in the 2000 and about 1.5 million people infected.

  11. EM says:

    I lost 15 pounds in March on the anxiety diet. I’m honestly frustrated about all the comments that assume we gain weight in quarantine. I’d love to gain a few pounds, if it meant I was feeling less stressed out.

  12. julia says:

    I’m French, and while I’ve been living in the UK for a while now, I wouldn’t say the Brits are better at getting together when facing a crisis. IF anything, I was a bit flabbergasted by the amount of panic and bulk-buying that happened in the supermarkets here (Spain, France and Germany seemed less affected by that trend somehow?). So much for Keep calm and carry on ;)

    My parents are in France, my sister lives in Germany, my aunt in Spain, and I’m in the UK, and it feels like the “looking out for each other” is quite similar in all countries to be honest.

    In mainland Europe, the clapping for the Health workers is every evening (at 8 or 9PM depending on countries) whereas in the UK it’s once a week (tonight! Looking forward to it), and I feel like in every country, people are making sure their elderly relatives/neighbours are doing ok and taken care of.

    A lot of French parents seems to be sharing activities for kids, from drawing tutorials to meditation apps aimed at kiddos getting anxious with what’s happening. My parents are getting cakes on their doorstep from their neighbours, while in Germany, my sister’s bff who is a musician plays the trumpet for 1 to 2 minutes from their balcony to entertain the hood ;)

    Stay strong peeps, wherever you are!

  13. Sean says:

    Oh no! Another rich celebrity who’s stuck inside, the poor dear.

  14. David says:

    Her kids are on their 2nd-3rd weddings at least!
    Lost weight here too.

  15. Valerie says:

    yow. She’s a writer, you’d think she’d be better able to occupy her mind. Read, write, journal, and do the things her privilege affords her.

    • L4frimaire says:

      Those of us not on the front lines of this or not directly hit by this are so lucky. Not specifically defending her, but honestly get tired of people telling us what we “should” be doing. We should be exercising more, or more disciplined with home schooling, or more organized. I’m procrastinating on filing for unemployment and submitting my last expenses, which is illogical , but… We shouldn’t complain about being bored ,or sick of zoom calls, or whatever, because we’re the lucky ones. Yes we should be more grateful, tidier, but some of us are still up until 2am, raging at Trump, or just don’t feel like doing the dishes. We feel what we feel, and feel bad about it, regardless of stuff.

      • Valerie says:

        Good points, and I agree with you! It’s fine to be unproductive or feeling stuck, or even bored. But saying ‘life like this is unacceptable’ and acting like she’s the only one struggling when she has more privilege than the average person rubs me the wrong way. And saying one kid is in the Hamptons, lol. It’s like, okay, we get it. You miss your rich lifestyle. We *all* miss the things we used to do a month ago, but it isn’t as if she’s in an unfamiliar place without help. She’s in her Paris apartment. She’s allowed to be afraid; her fear is valid, but she’s really overlooking the fact that she’s basically comfortable, all things considered.

    • alexc says:

      My mother knows her, she’s a straight-up wackadoo.

      • Valerie says:

        she seems super unaware of like, everything, lol. This whole Carmelite nun shit, please!!

      • Ali says:

        I’ve never read or heard an interview with her before but straight up wackadoo is exactly how she comes across.

        She also reminds me of my mother.

  16. JennyJenny says:

    My ex-boyfriend used to be her accountant…..
    She’s tres eccentric!

  17. Izzy says:

    Yay. Another crappy book heading our way.

  18. Whatabout says:

    Danielle Steele has spoken in the past about having extreme claustrophobia. She started her own flying sensory experience in San Francisco to help her get over her fear of flying. So this isn’t surprising.

  19. Jequill says:

    French here!
    I think she is scared because the virus kills mainly the olders (but I agree with her, the TV makes it worst than it seems).
    The situation here is quite fine, my mom is a nurse in a paris hospital, it is hard because there is a lot of people to take care of but it is not chaotic. We have nearly 11 000 deaths unfortunatly but we could have worst if the lockdown wasn’t here and thanks to our healthcare system. I’m more afraid for the US, as Trump messed up with the lockdown and also because you have such a bad healthcare system.

    • JM says:

      Glad the situation in France is under control. As for the US healthcare system, our case fatality rate right now is 3.5% where in France it is over 9%, so I don’t think it is so bad in the US as perhaps some believe. Our issue here in the US is how expensive healthcare is and hopefully this pandemic will bring about change.

      • Marion says:

        The rates are not accurate because we are not being tested so the figures dont mean anything

      • Jequill says:

        Those ratios aren’t relatables because US is less advanced in terms of days into the pandemic compare to France. You should check John Burn-Murdoch twitter account.

      • Arpeggi says:

        People who die at home aren’t automatically tested in the US, so the death count is also uncertain…

    • Marion says:

      Well… Yes we have a good healthcare system but we can see this is not as good as we thought… When you dont have enough masks for the health workers or when you have to use an old blouse over and over again…
      The problem here is that everyone has their word to say and nothing moves…
      As for having à sense on community,to respond to the original post, my sister is a nurse near Lyon and All the neighbours around her are grocery shopping for her or preparing meals for her. I dont think having a sense of community is related to a nationality’…

  20. Geeena says:

    Losing weight here, too. Very anxious which for me is an appetite suppressant. As well since we’re allowed walks and runs, I’ve been running a lot, another stress response. I get comfort eating and stress eating but I bet tons of people are like me and get nauseated and food averse instead.

  21. StrawberryBlonde says:

    Losing weight here but bc we don’t keep treats in the house much and I am back on WW to shift baby weight (almost all gone and starting to fit back into almost all my clothes)

  22. Belindaya says:

    Speaking from a small town in Normandy.The situation in France is relatively under control .The country is on full lockdown.In order to go outside ,you have to have a good reason and file a form stating why you have to go out.:buying groceries,going to work if it’s impossible for you to work from home ,take care of an elderly relative or neighbour, respect the terms of a shared custody agreement, have a stroll or exercising in your neighbourhood once a day for 1 hour).If you go out without your id and your form ,there is a fine (135 euros ) to be paid .
    People are clapping for the medical staffs at 8pm,some hotels rent rooms to the medical community or the homeless people for free.People sew masks for their neighbours ,some companies like Vuitton are doing it to and give them for free.Some people organise food delivery to the hospitals and their elderly neighbours.A lot of cultural website are offering free contents online .I even heard of prisoners raising money for their local hospital.
    “Working people” who have to stay at home are paid between 100% and 84 %of their wages.Freelance people are paid 2000 euros and it will be increased to 5000 from some people who will have to pay rent.Companies can apply to bank loans guaranteed by the French government. Doctos and nurses from areas with less contamination go to work in the most affected areas.Patients are transferred to less busy hospital(western part of France,Germany…) if their family
    agrees. And nobody had to pay for the care provided.
    Of course,we have jerks who want doctors ,nurses or firemen out of their appartments because they are afraid of being contaminated.We don’t have enough masks or respirators and the medical community is under stress and exhausted.
    Sorry for any mistakes I would have made,French speaker here :)
    Be safe everybody. Stay inside.

    • theotherViv says:

      Thanks for the update. Here in Germany, freelancers don’t really get compensation money but can apply for welfare online. There have been new laws where every small business can receive €9000 + support funds but this is misleading. I run my own business and have lost all income until at least September and while I qualify for such funds, I can only use them for expenses such as office rent but not my own living expenses. health insurance or my loss of income, which sucks. For that we have to apply for welfare/ unemployment money. If you are a translator or a freelance language teacher or events coordinator you are screwed and have to that route. But I guess we have it better than many in the US.
      We have online networks where you can connect to offer your services to sick or elderly and students are delivering food to those who normally have to go to food banks. Eveywhere you see signs for elderly with telephone numbers to call if they need help shopping but not everyone uses those sadly. But people are helping others out.

      • Belindaya says:

        So sorry for you .I’m sending you positive vibes , hoping things will get better soon.Stay safe.

  23. Ashley says:

    I left Paris on March 5th and I’m so happy to be in Texas. I can be outside. The parks are open so I can go hiking on the trails daily. Pretty much anything that involves being outside is open. If I were in Paris I would be stuck inside day and night. And Steel has no idea how lucky she is. Her apartment is probably 400m2 or more. Most people live in less than 40m2. People with children will get a bit luckier having more space than single people but they won’t be living in a mansion like her or like Lenny Krqvitz who owns a whole hotel particular, probably complete with garden. At least she can do laps

  24. Ina says:

    First world problems for her. I can think of worse places to be locked down. An apartment in Paris with help is definitely not one of them.

  25. Sass says:

    I don’t really have any opinion of her as a person or an author – I’m not in to her genre and it’s been at least 15 years since I have read anything of hers.

    That said – what she is saying really hit my empathy button. She’s alone, frightened, and not able to get to the people she loves the most…and she doesn’t know if or when she will.

    Being rich, a prolific writer, or a “straight up wackadoo” doesn’t change that. She’s allowed to feel just as terrible as any of us currently do.

    • Valerie says:

      I agree with your last point, I think it’s just the tone-deaf way in which her post was written that is putting people off. Here I am in my Paris apartment, my daughter is in the Hamptons, I now feel like a cloistered nun… Like, dude. Come on. She’s in her own place, not a strange hotel and she has help, which a lot of people don’t have. Her money and status don’t make her immune, but they give her a much softer place to land.