Recently I traveled to Paris for the first time over the holidays. I have traveled overseas a few times, but never to Paris. As we were researching and planning our trip, my son looked up “How big is Paris in square miles?” It is 40.7 square miles. So, that got me thinking about what Montana city would be comparable in size. Missoula is 34.96 square miles, so it is a bit smaller. Billings has an area of 45.39 square miles. Much bigger than Paris.

The Populations Are Much Different

The population of Paris is over 2 million people. The population of Missoula is a little over 74,000 people and the population of Billings is over 117,000 people. What if Billings had the population of Paris? I know that is a thought that scares a lot of people here in Montana. Paris, like a lot of bigger cities, is packed tight, small and is built up. The streets are narrow, the cars are small, and there are bikes, motorcycles, and scooters everywhere.

They Built Up, Not Out

Chris Wolfe/Canva
Chris Wolfe/Canva

The street level is filled with shops, bakeries, restaurants, and other businesses. Above them all are apartments. Every restaurant we went to would be considered a small restaurant here in Montana. Most of them only had two or three people working with only ten or eleven tables and they were all packed very close together. You are able to hear all the conversations at all the tables around you. Everything is packed in tight. The elevator in our hotel could only fit two people in it max, that was the elevator for the entire hotel.

You Have to Walk Or Use Public Transportation

There would be no way to be able to have multiple cars if Billings had the population of Paris. There is no room for parking. We would all need to rely on public transportation a lot more than we do now. That would have to expand greatly.
For me the culture shock of Paris wasn't the different language or different currency, it was the lack of space, that we are so used to here in Montana.

Z100 Classic Rock logo
Get our free mobile app

I Still Had A Great Time

All of this was in the heart of Paris. If you travel outside of Paris, the landscape opens up, the city becomes less dense and you can see more of the countryside. I felt more at home on the train heading out of the city, than I did in the heart of the city. I still had a great time in Paris. I think everyone should travel abroad sometime, it makes you appreciate your home even more.

Get to Know Missoula A to Z

All about Missoula, Montana.

More From Z100 Classic Rock