The Move To Cities

p. 302-303

Veronique and her family live in Paris. Almost 20 per cent of the population of France lives in Paris and the surrounding area. Paris, the capital of France, is the largest French city and one of the largest cities in Europe. It is the centre of French government and in many ways the centre of French life.

Paris is not the only city in France. Today almost 90 per cent of the people of France live in villages, towns and cities with populations of more than 2000. You cannot travel far in France without passing through one of these centres. There are almost 60 urban areas in France that contain more than 100 000 people each. Besides Paris, some of the largest cities are Lyon, Marseille (mar sey'), Strasbourg (strahs bur'), Rouen (ru ahn) and Bordeaux (bor do').

A hundred years ago, most people in France lived in villages or in the countryside. The move to the cities has affected both the French landscape and the people themselves. As more and more houses and factories have been built, cities have spread into the countryside. Areas that were once rural are now urban. The move has also left some areas of countryside almost deserted. Many old rural houses are now empty, and many are falling into ruin.

The move to the cities has changed the French way of life. People who once grew their own vegetables now buy food in the markets. People who once might have lived in houses now live in apartments. And people who once might have followed traditional ways of dressing, eating, working and playing now follow the new ways of the city.