Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Driving In France

Well, my life in the states has come to an end and I’ve moved to France. I’m already here and the family follows in a couple of weeks. So far, so good. Granted, I’ve only been to work for one day (today) but I’ve enjoyed it so far.

I’ve know the Daily Life posts have been light lately but that’s all about to change. Going forward, you’re going to be regaled with stories of FRENCH Daily Life. If you though ordinary Daily Life was bad, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Let’s start with driving because that’s mostly what I’ve been doing since I got here. I landed in Paris and had to drive to Chalon Sur Saone in the Bourgogne region (South East).

As an American driving in France, the first thing I noticed is French highways don’t have signs or directions like American highways. In America, if you want to go somewhere you go north, then east, then north again, and so on. For example, to go from Baltimore to Vienna, Virginia (a suburb of DC), you take 95 South, then 495 East, then 66 East, and eventually you’ll see signs for Vienna.

Not so in France. Directions in France are all based upon places. So, for me to get from Paris to Chalon, I took the A1 towards Paris –Centre, then the A3 towards Aulnay Sous Bois, the A3 splits so made sure to stay towards Bagnolet, once the A3 ended, I took the left fork towards Champagny Sur Marne, then eventually the A6 towards Orly.

I had no clue if I was going north, south, east, west, up, down, or even sideways. For Americans this is absolutely brutal! In America, I always felt somewhat safe as long as I was going in the right compass direction. I’m in Baltimore, all I have to do is go south and I can’t miss DC. In France, I just prayed.

But, no matter how lost I was, or wasn’t, one thing made me feel at home. The French drivers pick their noses just as much as American drivers. While stuck in Paris rush hour traffic for an hour, I counted no less than three minor digs, and one major excavation. Yep, people are the same all over the world.


  1. huh, when I'm stuck in traffic I listen to the radio... it's just never occurred to me to count how many people are picking their nose, but to each their own I guess

  2. And in America I would listen to the radio too. BUT, when I can't understand a single word on the radio it becomes dull very, very quickly.

    Not to mention you can't talk on the cell phone and drive. It's illegal.

    For the record, I was looking for the Eiffel tower and caught glimpses of the other "sights"

  3. You couldn't find the big object that towers over the city? Are you sure you could find DC from Baltimore?

  4. Thomm-

    This may strike you as odd but there are other buildings in the city. Just like you can't see The Statue of Liberty from every spot in NYC, you can't see the Eiffel Tower from the highway in Paris.