The term flâneur comes from the French noun flâneur—which has the basic meanings of “stroller”, “lounger”, “saunterer”, “loafer”—which itself comes from the French verb flâner, which means “to stroll”. Flânerie refers to the act of strolling, with all of its accompanying associations.
The flâneur was, first of all, a literary type from nineteenth-century France, essential to any picture of the streets of Paris. It carried a set of rich associations: the man of leisure, the idler, the urban explorer, the connoiseur of the street. It was Walter Benjamin, drawing on the poetry of Charles Baudelaire, who made him the object of scholarly interest in the twentieth century, as an emblematic figure of urban, modern experience. Following Benjamin, the flâneur has become an important figure for scholars, artists and writers.
Below is a link to my eBook of photos taken during a day in west London, down Portabello Road and Hyde Park. The book is completely free, and designed to view on an iPad.