Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 2 - The Clever Pup as a Flâneur

Close-up toward the West, down rue Soufflot
Or maybe make that a flâneuse. What's a flâneur? A flâneur was a 19th-Century gent; top hatted and using a cane - a stroller, a saunterer. I like the definition coined by Baudelaire - "a person who walks the city in order to experience it". That was me alright - all day Saturday in Paris.

The weather was beautiful again; 25 C. Once I  manoeuvered around the pink-clad runners participating in the French version of the Run for the Cure, I came out the other side of the Luxembourg Gardens and strolled along Rue Vaugirard. Past the Sénat which just infamously okayed the changes to French retirement legislation. Took a picture at the La Maison de Poupée at 40 rue Vaugirard. Hello PeeWee!

La Maison de Poupee

After avoiding some avid street-cleaners, (thank you,by the way), I doodled around and headed to Rue du Cherche-Midi. I had heard great things, but that early in the morning I couldn't find too much to interest me. I saw Mamie Gâteaux and Tugalik, but what really floored me is the architecture in Paris. Everywhere you look there's something beautiful. Do you know how many times I'm awestruck walking down Bloor Street West in Toronto? 0.

Tartes in Montparnasse
 Then I  found my way onto Rue du Sèvres where I was handed a perfume sample of Thierry Mugler's Womanity. Mmmm. And then I found Bon Marché at No. 24. Bon Marché is pretty nice, but pretty similar to a Toronto-style flagship store. Dating from 1852 it is the oldest department store in Paris, evidenced in the creaky wooden floors. Very much in layout like a North-American shop, Bon Marché had less merchandise, just more expensive. The main floor with the scarves and perfume and handbags was a very exciting jumble of sights and smells but for a really eye-popping experience, or if you have less time, save it for Galeries Lafayette. 

À Bientôt


  1. Well, there is an argument about whether North American dept. stores are modelled on French or English stores...but we did get them from one of those places. I'll let them fight it out.

    Eh, everyone I know uses the word 'flâneur' for either gender. (Mon dieu!) I love the photographs...& that marionette is a bit scary.

  2. lord woman..tell me you went downstairs at Bon Marche at least to see the food..that's what they are famous for....makes whole foods seem like Food Basics....ha

    sounds like the nice weather held was the same for us...hardly needed a coat and I wished I'd brought my sandals

  3. Debbie, I did go to the Bon Marche's Grand Epicerie next door. I was on the main floor and not overly impressed. Not a patch on Harrods. Maybe I was in the wrong spot. There was tons of variety and deli items but also lots of Hello Kitty.

    Kind of seemed like a large Max's Market to me. Maybe I missed something.

  4. Flâneur - the only way to experience a city! Love your photos.