Transportation Field Note: France

Pooja’s Transportation Field Note from Fontainbleau

Have you ever visited a different city than your own? Can you imagine living in a new place and having to find your way around? It’s not easy! Believe me!

As I mentioned in my previous journal and logbook, I found my house in Fontainbleau (Paris), near the school campus. Getting around is becoming easier, for example I know where to buy my food, and school books. The hardest part is which form of transportation to take!

How do people get around?

Cars are not as affordable as they are in the U.S. so fewer people have them. Instead, people use public transportation. There are two main types, trains and buses. Most of the school going children and elderly people seem to stick closer to home and you often see them out walking around the town. The people who do have cars most likely need it to get to their job on time.

How did I feel when I tried this way of getting around?

I missed my car initially, but now I have started to enjoy public transportation. I even think it is the easiest way to travel to avoid any inconvenience. It is important to stay aware of your valuable belongings and money, especially when the train or bus is crowded.  I personally saw someone pick pocket a wallet from someone!

While travelling in the metro I learned new French words like Billet (Ticket), Sortie (Exit). I also learned how to ask for the bus fare, and the location of the different places on the route, which I would not have learned if I were driving by myself.

Is this way of getting around connected to the culture and environment? How?

I think getting around by this way is connected to the local culture and natural environment. When I travel by public transport I love to observe people. I have learned about the culture and lifestyle of Europe, how they dress up and how they give priority to the elderly people to seat. I have observed that most of them prefer to ride a bicycle, if the distance is short, just to save fuel and help to reduce air pollution and noise pollution, which harms our environment. Though there are gas stations readily available, most tourists rely on public transportation to visit the many amazing destinations.


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