So I discovered a nifty new site today that will find all the grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, etc near a certain address and calculate a "walkability" score: www.walkscore.com. And the best news: it works for France too! I thought my Parisian neighborhood would do better than the lowly 71,* because I had no problems getting all my major errands done: my bank was 2 blocks away, the library was 4 blocks away, corner groceries were all nearby, and even real shops like Sephora, Habitat, American Apparel, etc were only a 5 minute walk away. I am surprised because I compared it with my undergrad address, which was in the heart of a great shopping district in a major city but not so convenient for any "errandy" type things, and it got an 87. Back home gets a 30 (no surprise) and where I am now gets a 49 (also no surprise). Where the boyfriend is gets a score of 54, and thanks to this site I discovered that an English specialty grocery is only .5 miles away from him. This is a really fun tool to keep around, and I bet it would be really handy while traveling and wondering what the nearest coffee shop, or restaurant, or whatever is.
*The grading scale says: "70 - 90 = Very Walkable: It's possible to get by without owning a car." See http://www.walkscore.com/how-it-works.shtml.