Aero: Emma (Reno) Bondi – France 2015 – City Life


Aero: Emma (Reno) Bondi – France 2015 – City Life
Creative Commons Image via The LEAF Project

Aero: Emma (Reno) Bondi – France 2015 – City Life


Reno Bondi

Let me tell you about my one true love, the Paris metro system. I have never been one who enjoys driving. I have a car and yes, it is a great convenience, but it is also a great burden. I remember the days long past where I rode the bus every day to school and my mom chauffeured me everywhere else. Just riding along is a great pleasure. If you have ever been to New York City, or any metropolis area, you’re familiar with the subway system. While effective, it does have its flaws. Paris metro is literally flawless, I kid you not. On the platform, there are mounted electronic signs that give times for the next and following trains. The times denote minutes to arrival. And they are always on time. Miss the train? No worries, the next one is coming in three minutes, or something else that’s extremely convenient. You don’t have to drive a car if you don’t want to, and what’s the point anyways, when there are plenty of stops to connect you anywhere in the city. There is also a second train system that takes you to outlying towns. And it’s a high speed train too. Take that, Amtrak.

The biggest traffic struggle was the metro going to and from the heart of Paris. Which was to be expected, given where we were. There was a time where we split between two train cars and had to wait for the next available train because of sheer overcrowding. Other than that, the streets didn’t seem all that bad. It’s expensive to be able to drive a car (not including the initial purchasing cost) in France, and Paris especially. This is to dissuade people from having cars, and to use public transportation instead (which altogether sounds like a wonderful idea).

I must point out something that makes me happy, and ultimately ranks Paris over New York City. The lack of technological advertisements. New York is bright and busy. Billboards blinking and taxis whizzing to and fro. It’s all go go go, look here, look there, look at this! The biggest, brightest structure in Paris is the Eiffel Tower, and that’s only at night. I didn’t see one electronic billboard, or even a billboard with lights, during my entire stay. That’s saying a lot right there.

Paris doesn’t have very many tall buildings. The city is mainly filled with longer buildings, maybe five or six floors at the most. One of the tallest buildings is Tour Montparnasse. It features a viewing floor and rooftop access for the public, which give a great view of Paris and the Eiffel Tower at night.


ML@FLCC France 2015 Flickr Photo Gallery

You will, at some point during your excursions in Paris, notice the police. Now I know what you’re thinking, and you’re wrong. You thought of your typical American police officer; Caucasian male, mid-thirties, navy blue shirt and pants combo, maybe a black tie to tie it all together. Insert buzzer sound, you are wrong. A more accurate picture would be to compare them alongside the SWAT team. Yes, you probably just whispered to yourself, that’s badass. It most certainly is. So, think SWAT, but more pretty. Everyone in France is a supermodel (this is true more often than not), including the police. They are also more stylish. Instead of wearing a quasi-military helmet, the French sport a side cap, or garrison cap if you’re a World War II buff. And to finish off, they’re packing heat. Nope, your assumption is wrong again. Try assault rifles. Yeah. Yeah. Now I don’t think that’s the case all the time, but it was during my experience. The police were also seen carrying riot shields. A good explanation to this big stick display is the “Je Suis Charlie” incident in January.

Emma (Reno) Bondi
LEAF Contributor