At lunch today (because I actually left my desk and went to lunch today), we were having a discussion about the relative size of Paris.
Why? Why not?
But, to be more precise, it was because a friend of ours is going to be running in the Paris marathon in April. And I thought it was interesting that for the 26.2-mile course to all fit "in" Paris they apparently start in the city, run through the city out into one of the massive parks in the suburbs, then back through the city and all through the massive park on the other side of town before coming back into the city to finish up.
When they do the marathon in the Twin Cities, it starts in one downtown, runs along the river, through the other city and into the other downtown. That's it. Just a (relatively) straight shot, and it's done. None of this criss-crossing back and forth across the cityscape. Just start - go - done.
So that got me to thinking about the relative sizes of the two metropolitan areas. I played around online with a couple of Google maps, and figured out that - from north to south - all of Paris would fit between where Christopher and I live and downtown Minneapolis.
From east to west, it's a little more interesting, but Paris would fit completely between the western edge of the city of Minneapolis (not including suburbs, mind you), and extend just a bit beyond Interstate 35W. That's not the easternmost edge of Minneapolis. It's kind of 2/3 of the way across.
This means that all of the actual city of Paris (not including suburbs) would fit in a space about 1/3 the size of the city of Minneapolis - not including suburbs, and not including St. Paul.*
What really made me think is that when I lived in Paris I would occasionally get a wild hair and walk places, instead of taking the Metro or the bus. I'd do a half-hour walk, or maybe even an hour, without thinking about it. When I checked a couple of those distances, I realized that I could almost walk from home to downtown - at least according to Google - in the same timeframes. Which I would never do.
It's weird how your perspective changes - not just due to the angle you're looking from, but also due to what you're looking at.
*For the record, I'm still thinking I must have been doing something wrong, because that just seems kind of impossible...