We are very happy that we do not have a car in Paris. At home we live in Center City, and we undestand what a problem parking can be. We will avoid going places if we have a good parking spot. We never take the car out on a Friday or Saturday night, since it will take hours of driving around to find a spot again when we get home. It doesn't seem to be any better in Paris, although it is much easier to live without a car here (public transit is much more extensive).
For the hardy souls who do have cars in our neighborhood, the most impressive thing is the opportunities they make for themselves to park their cars. (Pretty much all of these options would generate a ticket from the only efficient Philadelphia city service, the Parking Authority, if tried at home.)
Our neighborhood. There are a lot of cars parked on the streets, most days.
Most of the cars are smaller than American cars, which does allow more to fit in a given space. But if you have a Smart car, you can fit in spaces that other's can't. In ways other's can't.
Or, you can create your own definition of what is a space. So what if it includes a little sidewalk?
This is an example of either really bad parking, or just making that station wagon fit in a space that's too small.
Trying to be a Smart car, when you aren't. You still get the space! Twice! (Sorry for the fuzziness- I took this one while running.)
Here's my favorite. This person has taken advantage of 2 one way streets at the corner, to park in a spot that is out of the way of both lanes of traffic. And not even in either cross walk!
But make sure you remember where you parked, and move the car every once in awhile. This car is both right under a tree (and thus covered in bird poo) and the recipient of a number of tickets. Meter maids are usually not that persistent in Paris, so this car has evidently worn out its welcome by not fitting in with the image the neighborhood would like to project. Cover it in dog poo, no one would notice it.
Yes, it is really nice not to have a car.