live blog: the flâneur

The word is Baudelaire’s and it embodies everything I so love about being a man alone in Paris:  “a person who walks the city in order to experience it.”  While a common modern interpretation might mean “loafer,” “stroller,” or even “loiterer,” to Baudelaire  the flâneur played a key double-role in urban life as  both participant and detached observer.  He describes the flâneur as  an artist, a “botanist of the sidewalk.”  I’ve always likened my tendency to loiter with intent as more than just voyeuristic strolling: aimless, unencumbered, I’m a pedestrian able to savor the city like a gourmet – and live to tell the tale.

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