Friday, October 14, 2011

DC vs. Paris: Part II

People gripe plenty about public transportation in both DC and Paris.  The trains are too crowded, they're running too slow, the announcements are inaudible, they fall to pieces at the least change in the weather.  Whatever.  Despite all the problems, I can't imagine myself without it.  I'm just not cut out to live in the suburbs and spend hours in my car, much of the time stuck in traffic. 

The Metro system in DC only dates to the late 1970s (some to the 1980s) and it is built deep underground with crazy long escalators and Washingtonians, impatient sorts that we are, rarely just ride all the way down or up. (A hint to you tourists:  ride on the right, walk on the left.)

By contrast, the Parisian Metro, much of it dating to the turn of the 20th century, lies just beneath the streets.  There are always stairs, rarely escalators, a sore spot for the disabled, the stroller set, and anyone with a suitcase.

Different?  Not so much.  When I arrived at my destination this week, lugging a rolling suitcase with books and files destined for my new office, what did I confront but a broken escalator.  It was Paris all over again.


  1. After schlepping my suitcase through the metro to CDG, I feel your pain. Since my suitcase was almost empty, I didn't think that it would be a problem until I confronted all of the stairs. Needless to say, I'm taking a taxi when I get back to Paris with my full suitcase!

    I've noticed that most of the people read Kindles or ebooks on the subway in Boston, whereas in Paris they're still reading the real thing. Also, it seems that people in Boston do crosswords or Sudoku while people in Paris seem to be more preoccupied with their cell phones.

  2. Hi again Anne -- really enjoy your DC blog (but have had 'issues' posting comments!). Anyway -- one of the first things my son told me when I visited him in Washington was 'move over, Mom - people want to pass you!'


    Carolyn at My Sydney Paris Life