Flâneuse / Flâneur
Book development editor Jill Swenson brought this word to my attention this morning, and throughout the day it has proved to be an enchanting distraction.
Flâneuse (female) / Flâneur (male): A passionate wanderer.
The next time I am in Paris, I vow to leave a day — maybe two — empty of plans. I want to wander, be open to surprises, listen to street musicians, strike up conversations with shopkeepers. I want to people watch from a street-side café, linger over coffee, look at every wildly-colored bucket of flowers outside a fleuriste. I want the freedom to walk through whichever open door beckons.
Eliane Sciolino, author of “The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs,” offers the two cardinal rules of being a flâneuse:
1. Don’t smile at strangers (it’s too intimate), yet a brief eye-lock with someone is acceptable since it’s “part of the game.”
2. Don’t rush. As Sciolino says, “surrender to the present.”
Have you every taken a day just to wander (whether that be Paris or somewhere else)? If so, what gem did you stumble upon?