Monday, May 18, 2009

Je Suis Un Flâneur

steps and shadows lead to the seine

I love walking around Paris, it is undoubtedly one of my favourite things to do here, especially when there is so much time to just enjoy the sights; the architecture, the people, the markets, the gardens, the public buildings, the churches and museums ... the history and culture.

Many days I will spend anywhere between 3 and 6 hours simply walking around Paris, the time just flies. As such I could be considered a flâneur.

One of the advantages of living in the 4th arrondissement is that one is in the centre of Paris, and because Paris is such a flat city it is very easy to walk everywhere within the peripherique.

Along the Seine is a favourite destination, starting near Hotel De Ville, walking along the Seine, where in many places you can get right down next to the water or stay up on the streets with the bouquinistes, past the Louvre and back to the Jardin des Plantes and finally back home.

a cool nights walk

There is a tourist boat which traverses a similar route, but I don't know how much it costs and I really don't know why domestic and international tourists want to be herded like sheep (i.e. both crammed in and blindly led) ... and charged for the "pleasure", especially along a route they can easily walk?

I also enjoy a gentle stroll along the tamer waters of Canal St Martin, and again there is a slow boat through the same waters, spending much time waiting at each of the locks.

But it is just as much fun to blindly wander the streets of Paris with no destination in mind, turning down whichever street interests me and seeing where that leads.

Recently on just such an amble with Elizabeth we wandered into the the Jardins du Palais-Royal where we stumbled across the public exhibition Mur De Berlin celebrating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

celebrating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the berlin wall

We also spent some time listening to a talented orchestra playing many of the classics on the square at Place Colette.

publicly orchestrated

I have recently started having some english <> french conversations with Elizabeth's french tutor Jean-Pierre. Jean-Pierre wants to improve his english for an upcoming holiday in New York and I obviously want to improve my french, so it is a win <> win situation for us both.

Some of these language exchanges are conducted sitting around in the small apartment Elizabeth has rented for our 4.5 months in Paris, but for others Jean-Piere and I wander the streets chatting in both english and french to help improve our skills. The other day we wandered through the streets of Belleville.


Jean-Pierre is also a talented and avid photographer and you can see his impressions of our wanderings here. Jean-Pierre has taken many very interesting photos, so take a good look around this site for some of his creations.


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