Thursday, November 29, 2007
Small is Beautiful
Signs of cultural adjustment: Even though I knew from prior trips that Europeans drive small cars, my perceptions of size have shifted. American-style minivans now look massive, the occasional Range Rover ridiculous, and the mini Cooper, which I once thought was so adorably cute, no longer strikes me as particularly small.
My new favorite is the Smart car, apparently a joint venture between Daimler Chrysler and the folks who designed the Swatch watch. You see a ton of these two seaters in Paris (though not so many in the provinces) and they're often painted to advertise the latest movie or product available on-line. Creative and perhaps desperate Parisians sometimes park them perpendicular to the curb rather than parallel, and they scarcely stick out into traffic, even at that angle. I read that these cars will be available for purchase in the U.S. in 2008 but I'd think twice about having to share the road with a Ford Expedition. That being said, I'd think twice about driving in Paris in any size car.