A Little Post about some Very Little “Smart Cars”

Quick Print Colorful Bar Code

I’ve been a fan of small cars from my early driving days. I got my first car, a 1964 Volkswagen Beetle, at the age of 18.  They seem to make sense—they usually use less energy, often require a smaller amount of raw materials for their production, are sometimes sold for a petit-prix (I paid $300 for mine), and are just so darn cute! The majority of the cars  that we see in France and throughout Europe would be considered compact cars in America.  Because I’m not driving here (hallelujah!), I only really see the cars that tool around town, not those that ride on the highways. After seven months here,  I saw my very first “fender-bender” today. I don’t know the statistics, but fewer cars seem to be involved in accidents here. My former concerns about small cars and their relative safety are disappearing. With the revving of engines, honking of horns, and the whizzing by of metal, I think French drivers are not unlike their driving counterparts in most countries, but either good luck or superior agility guards them from meeting their fellow Grenobloises “by accident.”

As I walk around town, I have started taking note of the types of cars that I see on the rues or often parked on the sidewalks. In this city, parking is at a premium, literally and figuratively. Parking meter stations are everywhere, and available parking spaces are coveted. As an end run to this situation, I’ve seen more people opting for Smart Cars. The most popular seem to be the Smart Fortwo cars, which hold only two people, but I have on occasion seen “big” four-seaters.

Somebody needs a bigger space/smaller car!

You would think that getting acceptable gas mileage—present price in Grenoble for a liter of gas is 1.18 € ($1.62/liter or $6.13/gal), so I hope  no one is complaining—and having an easier time finding a parking place would be enough reward for Smart Car owners.  But no-o-o-o!  I’ve snapped some photos of Smart Cars that do double duty advertising businesses.  Our own propriétaire (landlady), Madame Pellissier, owner of Suzanne Immobilier, owns a few Smart Cars.  I caught one of them not too far from our apartment.

Suzanne Immobilier

I’ve seen so many more Smart Cars here than I’ve posted.  Sadly, I don’t have the pictures to prove it. The problem is that when I spy one, they speed away too quickly for me to pull my camera out to get a shot off!

Le Palais Smart Car

Another Immobilier

Room for 4?

Little Red Smart Car


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Louise
    Jan 29, 2011 @ 04:40:05

    Hi Maureen ! I LOVE your blog, makes me homesick… : (
    For you next “learn how the french do it” project check-into driving license schooling. Used to be private lessons only ( not offered thru school), 95% failure at first testing ( driving part ), 6 month program, and about $1,500. But you do end up with your license from age 18 to 60? I think. My sister took it there – I took it in Denmark, but same concept. Will you make to Denmark before you leave this summer? Bissous !


    • steveandmo
      Jan 31, 2011 @ 21:05:11

      Hi Louise, After reading what you wrote about driving here, I think I might pass on the license. The 95% failure rate got me. I wouldn’t have a chance!


  2. Dulce
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 08:26:14

    I love, love, love reading your blog! My comment on smart cars…I don’t like any car I can’t take to Sam’s club and shop to my hearts content! Keep having fun. Love you guys, Dulce


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