“One thing Americans could do to adopt a more frugal Euro-French lifestyle is to walk more. I live in a walking neighborhood and walk to the grocery store, to the pharmacy, to the bank. I walk to the bakery, to the florist, to the dry cleaner. I chose my neighborhood because I wanted everything I need to be within walking distance. What influenced my choice? Living in Europe.
Before my husband retired from the Department of State we had several European assignments—Belgium, Prague, and yes, Paris. Somewhere in between, we decided to buy a house in Alexandria, Virginia. There were things I wanted in a house, but most important was that it be located in a neighborhood where I could continue to live within walking distance of everything I needed, and Old Town is perfect.
In Europe, people walk everywhere. While they certainly reap the health benefit, they don’t necessarily think of walking as exercise; walking is a way to get around, to enjoy the fresh air, to enhance the quality of life.
Mireille Guiliano says that “walking is an essential part of the French way of life, and the average French woman walks three times as much as the average American.” Sadly, I have to agree. Of course, I appreciate being able to walk to the post office or coffee shop, but one doesn’t need to have a destination to walk. I think if Americans recognized the freedom that walking provides—freedom of movement—we might do more of it.”
Tomorrow's post: Petite gemmes