January 29, 2011

Une Voiture

Almost every day I walk the five or so minutes to my new favorite bakery. I usually admire the architecture of Vieux-Lille, peek into the windows of the vintage shops, and people watch on my way over. However, between my apartment and the boulangerie, there is a stretch of street that doesn’t have a lot going for it.

It was while I was walking down this part of the street that I noticed a car and this thought popped into my head, “you know, these cars are rather big cars!”

This is the car that I walked by:

A Mini Cooper!!

I then laughed at myself. Mini coopers are not big cars! They are absolutely tiny cars. My best friend got one for her 16th birthday, and it was the tiniest car I’d ever been in. Yes, we did manage to squeeze in 8 people one day and drive around the neighborhood (including my then boyfriend in the nonexistent trunk), but we weren’t comfortable all in there!

Plus, she has a bunch of stories of having almost-accidents because people don’t see her in their regular sized cars (and forget about people noticing her who are driving SUVs).

But here was this exact same car, parked along the classic route I take to the boulangerie, and it was one of the bigger cars there! I had actually questioned the use of the word Mini in its title, just for an instant.

With this unsolicited thought about the large size of a car I once considered itty-bitty, I felt a little more French for the rest of the walk to the boulangerie and back.


  1. Ah, yes. This is definitely a measure of your emerging "Frenchness"! (The image of your friends stuffed into a mini had me giggling...and thinking of clowns in a VW - but that's revealing more about my age than anything about you and your friends!)

    I once rode in a smart car (for two, by the way...the one with *no* back seat) with a couple of visiting friends who arrived to go sightseeing in it...err...with me. I folded myself up in the back window for the trip to St. Remy...all the while feeling ever-so-grateful for my daily yoga practice!

    bon weekend!

  2. I've got two cars at the moment cause i'm having a really hard time separating myself from my pre-mommy car, which is a Smart ForTwo. Now I drive a Peugeot 1007 -- talk about night and day!! And funny thing, the 1007 isn't even that big when compared to all the trucks and SUVs of the states. Funny how our perspective starts to change over time. My house, for example, is probably no bigger than 1200 sq. ft., and when we bought it we were like, "wow. I can't believe we were able to afford such a big house!" ha!!

  3. Leslie: I can't imagine being stuck in the back of a smart car! My then boyfriend was uncomfortable after like 5 minutes in the trunk of the mini, haha.

    Amber: I think smart cars are so adorable! I could see it being hard to separate with. Although now that you are a family of three it probably doesn't make as much sense. I totally agree about the French point of view invading our American brains! But so far at least the smart car does still seem teeny tiny!

  4. Your first 'French' instinct was correct. Mini's used to be a lot smaller in their original form - see the movie 'The Italian Job' to see them. They have been ruined by becoming so huge and expensive (In my humble opinion)

    1. I totally prefer the original minis as well, and they are definitely mini-er... like the size of a golf cart! But the new minis are still really small compared to regular American cars (everything is bigger over there).


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