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The Beauty of "Regarder le monde passer"- watch the world go by

“To be away from home and yet to feel oneself everywhere at home; to see the world, to be at the centre of the world, and yet to remain hidden from the world—impartial natures which the tongue can but clumsily define. The spectator is a prince who everywhere rejoices in his incognito.” Charles Baudelaire


On my recent trip to Paris, I was waiting for a friend seated at a café. The temptation was very strong to pull out my mobile phone and start scrolling. If it had been the place where I lived I would have been even more tempted. But this was just a fleeting visit to Paris and every moment I wanted to enjoy...and savour.


One of my favourite things to do is "regarded le monde passer" or to watch the world go by sitting at a café. Have you ever noticed that seating at a café nearly always face outwards- exactly for that reason- watch the world go by but also to invite people in.The sun was warming my face and it just felt so good to just watch the world go about it's day around me. You can observe dynamics, fashion and eves drop in conversations...just as if time had stopped.


This makes me think of another word French word I love, probably coined by Baudelaire in the 19th century-FLANER. It's a very French concept, to stroll or saunter, observing the immediate, not knowing what you are looking for or exactly where you are going. This is something I always spend a little time doing when I am in a city. It's wonderful to get lost in another street not knowing what you are going to discover.


So what do you think? Can you stop and just look for a while at the world buzzing around you or would you prefer to stroll?



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