I’ll confess to having a stack of Parisian histories (and a number on my Kindle as well) that have been leafed through but not exactly read. I mean to, I want to, I just haven’t. I am not sure where I picked up a copy of Edmund White’s The Flâneur, but it’s the perfect little history with just a little bit for everyone. It’s not too long, not to detailed, engagingly written, and perfect for carrying. I discover probably more than I want to about Colette’s past, am relieved to learn that I was not the only one who mistakenly thought that the French were devout Catholics, appreciate how easily Paris accepted blacks and homosexuality, and delight that the author enjoyed Sainte-Chapelle as much as I did.
The Flâneur is an easy history, a charming introduction to the neighborhoods of Paris, so good I wish it were one of the longer books on Paris. The book is so considerate it includes a good list for further reading. If you’re going to Paris, just dreaming about the City of Lights, or remembering good times past, this book is a good accompaniment.