Jan 16, 2010

The Art of the Flâneur

I love getting lost.

That statement deserves some clarification.  One of my favourite activities is setting out to explore a new city with no particular agenda for the day.  Maybe I'll have a map of the transit system or a basic guidebook, but maybe not.  Occasionally, I'll even be able to communicate fluently with the people around me but most of my city explorations have occurred in locations where I don't speak the language.  I have gotten lost in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, the UK, Russia, Mexico, and now France.  Eventually I get tired of wandering and begin actively looking for the nearest Metro station or bus stop.

Paris is especially ideal for these aimless voyages of discovery.  I spent a good five hours on Friday walking in the downtown area, exploring street markets closed to traffic.  I doubled back a few times, took lots of photos, watched people, and then concluded my evening with a stroll from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomph.  The sidewalks are as broad as the road along this route, and the people of Paris were out walking, shopping, dining, lining up at the cinemas, and just generally enjoying life.

According to Wikipedia, a flâneur is "a person who walks the city in order to experience it."   Paris is incredible.  Perhaps tomorrow I'll write about my impressions of the city.  In the meantime, here are some of the photos I took during my perambulations.

1 comment:

  1. oh, 'flâneur'... That is a new one, is good to learn something everyday.
    I'm glad you've made it to Spain finally. Just remember: "Yo no soy griiingoo"
    Take care bro.