Flânerie is a term derived from the French verb flâner which means "to stroll". Flânerie was first popularized by Charles Baudelaire for referring to "a person who walks the city in order to experience it". Although flâneur or flâneuse (feminine) is sometimes employed pejoratively to designate an aimless saunterer, we share Baudelaire's respect and aspiration for the art of flânerie: "For the perfect flâneur, it is an immense joy to set up house in the heart of the multitude, amid the ebb and flow. To be away from home, yet to feel oneself everywhere at home; to see the world, to be at the center of the world, yet to remain hidden from the world —- such are a few of the slightest pleasures of those independent, passionate, impartial natures which the tongue can but clumsily define."
There is no English equivalent for the French word flâneur. Cassell's dictionary defines flâneur as a stroller, saunterer, drifter but none of these terms seems quite accurate. There is no English equivalent for the term, just as there is no Anglo-Saxon counterpart of that essentially Gallic individual, the deliberately aimless pedestrian, unencumbered by any obligation or sense of urgency,
Just like dominoes... I saw a boy, 9 or 10, trip into a display of mannequins at Galeries Lafayette and bang, bang bang, bang, bang - all five plaster ladies toppled onto the floor; their arms and legs falling off in the process. The poor kid. In passing I whispered, "C'est OK", but he started to cry despite his age. He told his mum he was hurt, but it was just his pride. The day before, my minibus driver told me that the word "gendarmes" meant "people with arms". Now these mannequins were "gens pas d'armes"... (The Clever Pup)
Feeding hungry grateful folks in Rockaway during the summer, sneaking in a little surfing when you can, then heading off to parts exotic and remote for uninterupted surfing during the off-season... Thank you Laura (@Flaneur999) for finding and sharing this inspiring video!
"A flâneur is anyone who wanders, and watches, the city. The 19th-century French poet Charles Baudelaire called the flâneur a “perfect idler” and a “passionate observer.” Baudelaire was a flâneur himself and, when he wasn’t writing poems and spending his trust fund on dandy outfits and opium, he drifted through the streets of Paris.