Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A pied

Continuing on my quest to become a French citizen, I headed over to the court house yesterday to pick up a new copy of my birth certificate and my parents' marriage certificate. Except....*gasp*.....I have no car here so I went on foot. What a novel idea. At least you'd think it'd was, given how people reacted. It was like a 20 minute walk max (think going from la gare to Thabor, for all the rennais out there). The sun was shining and I had nothing better to do, so I figured, why not? But everyone kept saying "I can't believe you walked here!"

I'd never noticed it before, but this city is not set up to encourage walking - there isn't a single sidewalk in my mother's pretty much brand-new neighborhood. There are all kinds of bike trails and whatnot outside the city, but what about inside? City planners, take note - how do you want to encourage people to be more active on a daily basis if they need to get in their car and go outside the city to do it?

It's not an easy battle though - driving is so ingrained in our culture. How many times have you seen someone at a shopping mall get in their car and drive a few stores down, instead of just walking? I keep trying to convince my mother to stop driving around and around the parking lot, looking for the closest spot. If it's a nice day, take the first open spot and walk! It's ridiculous how much time people will spend turning around in circles, looking for a spot near the door, when they could've been in the store ages ago! But I guess it's the same uphill battle when trying to convince people to take the stairs instead of using the elevator....



Blogger Milk Jam said...

yeah totally. when frenchies ask why it is that i say that i feel much more in shape here i tell them that we can't really walk around at home, that it isn't done. when they are stunned and ask why then i explain that walking around to shops at home is like walking around "cote de nacre" a big carrefour type stripmall complex on the edge of caen, then they sigh and go "ohhh ok i see, yes, that is not beautiful to walk around in.." lol no kidding! ;-)

April 29, 2008 at 9:32 PM  
Blogger Mignon said...

I get what your saying. I am much to impatient to drive in circles. And I walk with my dogs to town. It's just a couple of miles. I get gasps. And my town is designed for walking.

April 29, 2008 at 10:59 PM  
Blogger Alyssa said...

I have always lived out in the country, where I relied on my car (and before that, my mom and her car) to do anything. I moved to France so that I could live in a centre-ville and walk everywhere. Heaven! When I came back to the States, I moved to my old town but made the decision to live IN the town (and pay twice the rent btw) just so I could walk. So now I live in town and, though I have a car, I walk eveyrywhere. I take a backpack and walk to buy groceries. I walk to and from work. And everywhere I go, I am treated like a total freak of nature.

April 29, 2008 at 11:46 PM  
Blogger judyb said...

But I guess it's the same uphill battle when trying to convince people to take the stairs instead of using the elevator....
Pun intended? :)

April 30, 2008 at 12:03 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

I am so with you. When I move back to the States, I'm hoping I won't have to buy a car again, but it's SO much more convenient with one the way everything's laid out. We'll see. My little brother actually got pulled over by the cops because he was walking home one night. (Is it being pulled over if you're walking?) It's just not done in our little Texas town, so they thought he looked suspicious.

April 30, 2008 at 12:26 AM  
Blogger La Framéricaine said...


I just paid the State of Virginia $12 each for two, really boring, certified copies of my birth certificate--they don't do the really pretty ones anymore--and the State of California $13 each for two copies of my marriage license but they took my $26 and only sent me one copy!!! I also "lost" my driver's license and had to pay $22 for a replacement and $23 for a new ID card.

They have a racket going between those organizations who issue them and those who demand them because they can't be more than 2-3 months old or you have to order a "new" one!

Have fun stretching your legs and preparing to return to France with your precious documents for les fonctionnaires to process and turn into a brand spanking new dual citizenship for you! It will be a grand accomplishment.

Stop by Halfway to France and check up on my latest adventure with bi-cultural documents! You will appreciate it.


April 30, 2008 at 4:13 AM  
Blogger Leesa said...

Much better to exercise by walking instead of driving, when possible... Esp. for such a short distance!!! Good on ya!! Leesa

PS. I have bad knees so I try to avoid the stairs when my knees are really bothering me... So, it's a bit different than walking... my knees don't hurt when walking... just from stairs (my back, too... for that matter)... But, I am an old and injured person- broken knee in '96 and a herniated disk in low back - 2004/05

April 30, 2008 at 8:34 AM  
Blogger katiez said...

My favorite is when the drive round and round the parking lot looking for the closest the Health Club! Duh!!!!
Very few neighborhoods, especially the new ones, have sidewalks, I thing it's horrid - and cheap!

April 30, 2008 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger Alisa said...

Completely agree. I have bitched to my dad many times about the people who drive in circles in the parking lot looking to walk 10 less meters. And then they wonder why they're overweight?? (no, not ALL people who do that are overweight - but you know what I'm saying)

April 30, 2008 at 10:13 AM  
Blogger barbara said...

Walking is one thing that I enjoy in France.I have never walked as much in my US life, than my years spent here.I used to live in HI what they call a "bedroom burb" where everyone comes & goes all day.
Each time I go back to the States, I also experience how much car oriented US society is.
I'am in the South Parisian burbs (92) and go everywhere in our town & around it on foot.
No one thinks that it's odd, and I do my health a great favor by footing it.

April 30, 2008 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger Patricia said...

My husband and I once lived in Florida and I felt like a freak when I would walk somewhere. One day a woman pulled over and asked me if I wanted a ride (it was about a 20 minute walk). She made me feel like a was a poor/homeless person. It drove me crazy. I live in Washington, DC (which was just voted the most walkable city in the U.S.!) and there are so many great places to walk here - although I live in the suburbs and use my car more than I would like!

April 30, 2008 at 12:38 PM  
Blogger L said...

When I was back in San Diego this fall I tried to walk more, like I do in France, but it was hard. It's like a pavlovian reaction: see American streets, get in car [in robot voice]. Distances I wouldn't think twice about walking in France I really have to convince myself to do in the US. And then I usually take the car because it's faster and there's rarely a problem finding parking. I swear it's not my fault; I regress to my old behavior when I'm in the US eventhough I've moved on in France.

April 30, 2008 at 12:43 PM  
Blogger Samantha said...

That's a good point L - I might never have noticed this had I had a car available to me!

April 30, 2008 at 4:18 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home