Charles Baudelaire in his essay The Painter of Modern Life wrote about The Flaneur in 1863, a person I sometimes become,... especially when I am in Paris.
"The crowd is his element, as the air is that of birds and water of fishes. His passion and his profession are to become one flesh with the crowd. For the perfect flaneur, for the professional spectator, it is an immense joy to set up house in the heart of the multitude, amid the ebb and flow of the movement. To be away from home and yet to feel oneself everywhere at home; to see the world, to be at the centre of the world, and yet to remain hidden from the world."
Dick Gentry, The Flaneur, an observer of contemporary life.
I love to wander with no set plan, just being homogeneous with the crowd.
In Paris I stop and appreciate beautiful women, especially the lady with the red scarf who particularly caught my eye!
I observe the observers.
Meandering through the arrondissements of Paris I'll stop and admire mercantile endeavors.
The best time to observe is often in the early morning when the buzz of Paris is just beginning. The shops are just opening and people are stopping at cafes for coffee and heading to their work.
Parks are best on the weekends when they vibrate with activity as Parc Monceau in the 8th.
The Flaneur is keenly aware of the plaques on the buildings which are a history lesson. This one is commemorating a battle in World War II.
Memorial plaques like the one above are seen throughout Paris. This one reads, "Marcel Martin died the 19th of August 1944 during combat for the liberation of Paris." I love seeing fresh flowers to honor the sacrifice made so many years ago!
The observer loves to find wonderful, old architecture of days gone by.
A man observes a gigantic chocolate sculpture of a chimpanzee at the master chocolatier, Patrick Roger's store near the La Madeleine Church.
At the Square Felix Desruelles is "La Fontaine Pastorale" created in 1921.
I love this little park next to the Saint Germain des Pres church. The monument above commemorates the French poet and friend of Picasso, Guillaume Apollinaire. Most people are surprised to learn the bust is actually someone else. Picasso was upset with all the politics and long delays, so he just gave them the bust of someone else to use; Dora Maar, his former mistress.
A stroller in Paris can enjoy an amazing morning at the Montmartre Cemetery looking at famous monuments for the dancer Nijinsky (above) and the artist Degas (below) among many others. I also love wandering in Pere Lachaise cemetery.
Unusual whimsical galleries in the 6th.
I hope you have enjoyed this little tour of enchanting Paris by Dick Gentry, a Flaneur at heart.
Images: Dick Gentry