How do you walk like Parisienne? The simple answer: don’t care and do whatever you want. The walking style in Paris is very chaotic and stressful to witness; it could be likened to the style of New Yorkers (although I’ve never been to NYC and only have other people’s references to fall back onto). While Parisiennes have the laid-back style down pat, their style of getting somewhere is less than laissez-faire. At first, it seems daunting and terrifying watching full-grown adults step into on-coming traffic. Do they have a death wish? Assume the cars will stop? What could be running through their minds? You can easily pick out the tourists as they stand calmly on the sidewalk, waiting for the walk signal to turn green. I was one of these people, until the City of Paris took me under their wing and showed me the way to truly get places.
The Metro runs quite frequently during the day and a train is often only 3-8 minutes away. So, if you hear it coming down the tracks while you’re still on the last few steps, you don’t think much of it and just wait patiently for the next train to arrive. You are, of course, in Paris and you cannot be seen running for the Metro! How embarrassing. Besides, there’s that weird-looking guy in the corner playing an accordion and it sounds kind of nice.
…And then… 3 days go by. Your mood changes, your views on passersby change (they are no longer beautifully chic french men and women, they are slender annoyances that keep popping up everywhere). Of course, you’re still not in a huge hurry to get where you’re going. You would be perfectly fine and absolutely capable of waiting. But, something happens inside of you and soon you find yourself walking into on-coming traffic and blissfully ignoring vehicles honks. After 3 days, Paris had me running for the Metro, hockey-elbows out as I rammed my way onto the train car, yelling ‘PARDON’ as I shoved anyone who dared to get in my way of the only vacant seat. Of course, it’s not as barbaric as it sounds; everyone still looks chic and wonderful as we squish ourselves onto the awaiting train car. This is Paris, after all.