What we didn’t do in Paris

2015-11-16 17.17.50Before we left for our trip to Paris I did all the usual research on what to see and where to go, where to eat and where to drink.  All the nightlife – well that was never likely to be us although we did do a little drinking in bars, everyone was aged between about twenty and mid-thirties.  We also bought a Lonely Planet pocket guide to Paris, a little one.  And I also read a few pieces on what “not to do in Paris” which actually helped us a lot in trying to work out what we should do.  Compared to Amsterdam, which is a small city in comparison, Paris is big whatever people may say about it being compact and walkable.  It is more akin to London.  You can walk, yes, but only after you have taken the Metro somewhere, and you will then need to take the Metro home once finished.  We totally exhausted ourselves on day one by walking way too far.  I somehow hurt the front of my left shin and struggled with walking for the rest of the trip. 2015-11-11 10.42.50So you will not be hearing about the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame (much) or The Louvre and the Mona Lisa or the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Elysees (well a little but for a good reason) but you will be hearing about the various localities that we visited, some of the Museums and Galleries we visited and about various restaurants, markets, arcades and shops and stuff that requires wandering around streets just soaking up the scene.  The life of the Flâneur.

Sainte-Beuve wrote that to flâne “is the very opposite of doing nothing”.  Honoré de Balzac described flânerie as “the gastronomy of the eye”.  Anaïs Bazin wrote that “the only, the true sovereign of Paris is the flâneur”.  Victor Fournel, in Ce qu’on voit dans les rues de Paris (What One Sees in the Streets of Paris, 1867), devoted a chapter to “the art of flânerie”. For Fournel, there was nothing lazy in flânerie. It was, rather, a way of understanding the rich variety of the city landscape. It was a moving photograph (“un daguerréotype mobile et passioné”) of urban experience.”  (For more on the Flâneur see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fl%C3%A2neur)

As you have probably realised my hope that I would be able to blog Paris on my phone did not transpire apart from my three brief posts.  It would probably be easier on a tablet but truth to tell, for me, it is much easier back in the old world of keyboards and screens with decent real estate and to be able to sit at a desk instead of on the side of the bed in a hotel room.  So I am afraid I will be bombarding the world of social media with a series of Paris posts composed in Bath and I hope that you will enjoy them.

2 thoughts on “What we didn’t do in Paris

  1. tomwjc November 18, 2015 / 11:58 am

    The unfortunate shin injury would have been fortunate it seems really. Who wants to visit a bunch of disappointing zoos when you could explore some alleyways?


    • Toby the Cat November 18, 2015 / 12:33 pm

      Are you referring to the Louvre as a “zoo”? If so I agree with you. Around Notre Dame was awful and it wasn’t even the season.


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