Thursday, May 21, 2009

Guest post: Promenade partout

I met Ana through a mutual friend, and over the years she’s become one of my role models. She is so elegant and has the quiet confidence of someone who is comfortable in any situation. She is American, but possesses that elusive je ne sais quoi. I asked Ana if she would do a guest post for my blog, and here is what she writes:

“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









8 comments:

  1. So true! I lost quite a bit of weight when I was in Paris for only one week and it was due to all of the walking I did. It was not exercise to me, but a means to get around and it was effortless. I need to incorporate more walking in my life here at home.

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  2. I am really enjoying these posts so much, especially yesterdays and todays. That is definitely my criteria for a neighborhood -- walkability. There is even a website that will rate how "walkable" your neighborhood is. (In the states only, I believe) Where I live now, there is a coffeeshop within walking distance in all four compass points! You can see my priorities! I also walk to the market, to buy wine, to the library, to the post office, to my daughter's school and so on.
    K
    labellafigura.net

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  3. Old Town is fantastic for walking. Heck, most of D.C. is a walker's paradise. One of my best girlfriends lives in Arlington (Metro Ballston), and I really envy how everything she needs is RIGHT THERE. I have quite a bit within walking distance, but still end up driving more than I'd like.

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  4. Marsi, what a small, small world--I just came from Ballston where I had drinks with friends after work! I agree, all of the Arlington neighborhoods along that corrider are walking neighborhoods--Ballston, Clarendon, Courthouse, Rosslyn.

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  5. Hey, you didn't have the Swirl at Rio, did you?

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  6. I went to Rio but had the margheritas--this is too funny!

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  7. I could not agree with Ana more - walking is the key to looking good and staying healthy as we get older..plus it is super economic. Thank you for visiting French Essence and enjoy the weekend, xv.

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  8. Annecy, that is so crazy! It really is a small world. My girlfriend works in the building Rio is in and lives a half-block away.

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