The Flâneur by Edmund White
A flâneur is a stroller, a loiterer, someone who ambles through a city without apparent purpose but is secretly attuned to the history of the place and in covert search of adventure, aesthetic or erotic. Edmund White, who lived in Paris for sixteen years, wanders through the streets and avenues and along the quays, into parts of Paris virtually unknown to visitors and indeed to many Parisians. Entering the Marais evokes the history of Jews in France, and a visit to the Haynes Grill recalls the presence—festive, troubled—of black Americans in Paris for a century and a half. Gays, Decadents, even Royalists past and present are all subjected to the flâneur’s scrutiny.
In his opinionated fashion, the flâneur visits bookshops and boutiques, monuments and palaces, providing gossip and background to each site, looking through the blank walls past the proud edifices to glimpse the inner human drama. Along the way he recounts everything from the latest debates among French lawmakers to the juicy details of Colette’s life. In this, the first book in The Writer and the City series, Edmund White lures the reader into the fascinating backstreets of his personal Paris. It is an exhilarating adventure with a most seductive companion.
This text was taken from Edmund White’s website which you can find here.
I really enjoyed reading this book. The flavour of Paris simply oozes from the pages. I highly recommend it.