Song: "In A Very Strange Land", by Ezra Soiferman, 3:30, 4mb


The FlČneur’s Lexicon

Created by Ezra Soiferman, March 17, 2006, Montreal


This lexicon is inspired by Concordia graduate student Mia Hunt's group discussion Walking Through Time: FlČneur, Voyeur or Participant?


The intimate, salon-style event was part of the University of the Streets conversation series, moderated by Melissa Garcia-Lamarca and Carina Rose and presented by Eric Abitbol. March 16, 2006, 7-9pm at Café Utopik in downtown Montreal.




FlČneur: (French word) One who unhurriedly roams, rambles, drifts and/or adventures through the city. Traditionally a man of leisure who strolled the crowded 19th century Parisian arcades with no intention of shopping. Now represents anyone who's out to enjoy the city with a little extra time on his/her hands.


Originally coined by French author Charles Baudelaire in the mid-1800s and subsequently written about by Walter Benjamin, David White, Edgar Allan Poe and many others.


Etymology:  Old Norse: Flana (to wander), Greek: Planasthai (to wander, spread out). Derives from the root pel, ple or pla (field, flat) Derivatives include field, planet, plasma, plastic, and polka.

Further reading on flČnerie:


The FlČ



Baudelaire wrote: “The crowd is his element, as the air is that of birds and water of fishes. His passion and profession are to become one flesh with the crowd. For the perfect flČneur, for the passionate spectator, it is an immense joy to set up house in the middle of the multitude, amid the ebb and flow of movement, in the midst of the fugitive and the infinite.”


Note: Signs around Québec read: “Pas de FlČnage/No Loitering”, but loitering and flČnage are actually not at all the same thing. To loiter is to remain in one spot, whereas the act of flČnage implies motion, sauntering or ambling. Go figure.



And now…


The FlČneur’s Lexicon:

All words created by Ezra Soiferman


AeroflČnage - v. Drying wet laundry on your body as you saunter through town.

Anti-InflČnatory - n. Take this for sore walking feet.

Anti-FlČnti - n. Cops who stoop to stop loiterers, jaywalkers or flČneurs with $100+ fines.

ArchiflČnitecture - n. A way of building cities with flČnage in mind.

DisflČngia - n. When your get up n’ go has got up n’ gone.

Eau de FlČneuse - n. Thrice-refilled Evian bottle in the flČneur’s rucksack.

Eco-FlČnage - v. The act of treading lightly on the urban field.

- n. A hopeless, aimless wanderer. As opposed to a hopeful, aimless wanderer. Derogatory.

Festival FlČNeige - Non-existent outdoor winter festival featuring free live music, free food and lots of people mincing about happily and aimlessly. Dress warm.

FlČan - n. An Ikea product?

FlČnboise - n. The urban jungle’s sweetest fruit.
nboyant - adj. Absolutely flČntabulous. (Word submitted by C.G., Montreal)

Flan - n. Latin custard cake. No relation to flČnage. Makes a tasty pit-stop, though.

FlČn-Doo - n. What a snowmobile company could eventually come out with to wreck the whole fun.

FlČn d’attaque - n.  Your all-important strategy to move effortlessly through crowds, line-ups, construction areas.

FlČnada - n. A great place to flČn. Cold half the year. Wear long underwear. Motto: “We flČned on guard for thee…”

FlČnage-ą-trois - n. Trio con brio.

FlČnamour - n. The roving object of your desires.

FlČncy - n. Wearing haute-couture hautedoors.

FlČndestine - adj. Undercover flČnage.

FlČndu - n. Bits of carefree quests dipped in melted chocolate.

FlČne-ą-Deux - n. You, a friend, and all the time in the world.

- n. After a long day on the streets, put this type of pyjama on.

FlČnesaurus - n. Five storeys tall, eats cars, a blight on the urban landscape. No, not a car-park… a type of free-spirited dinosaur. Sadly, now extinct.

FlČnesium - n. On the periodic table of elements. What you get when you mix a little asphalte and a lot of thyme.

FlČnestros - n. Greek God of wanderings and walkabouts

FlČnetarian - n. No meat, no fish, no veggies, just eating up pavement.

FlČnetarium - n. Any great indoor place of flČnage. Some malls actually make great flČnetaria. (Word by Gerardo Sierra, FlČneur, Montreal)

FlČnete Earth - n. Where we all live and roam. Takes its time spinning.

  FlČnźtre - v. Opposite of flČnavoir.

FlČneureine - n. The Queen of flČnage. Majestic, dressed to the nines, always happy to wave politely from her meandering route.

FlČneuresque - adj. Like a flČneur or a flČneuse but not quite there yet. He or she should jump a cab, go straight home, chill out, try again tomorrow.

- v. The transformation from being an everyday pedestrian to a true flČneur or flČneuse.
FlČneurotica - n. Strolling skimpily through town. (Word submitted by C.G., Montreal)

FlČneigl - v. To convince your boss you need to deliver that package yourself rather than have a courier take it over. Often occurs on a sunny day.

FlČnherb - n. Some smoke this along the journey. Illegal.

FlČnimal - n. Squirrels, stray cats, lost dogs, raccoons and other creatures out and about with no shopping to do and/or the day off work.

FlČning Ahead - If you fail to flČn, plan to fail.

FlČnista - n. FlČneur or flČneuse who doesn’t shut up on the streets. Loud honking or jackhammers are preferred. Derogatory.

FlČnmail - n. What you start to get if you’re spotted a lot on the streets.

Flannery O’Connor - Author, no relation.

FlČnolium - n. Mall floors are frequently made of this. Slippery when wet.

- n. Like a pedometer but rather than counting steps, it counts your blessings, or your karma, or something esoteric like that.

FlČnostros - n. Our people. Our culture.

FlČnouillette - Just a pretty word. Absolutely no meaning.

FlČnoyance - n. Things like crowds, blocked streets, Amnesty International solicitors, etc.

FlČntasia - Mickey Mouse stars as a rodent on the road to redemption.

FlČntastic - adj. A really good jaunt.

FlČnterNet - n. The place to surf without a particular goal. 

Fleur de FlČneur - n. Toothpick. Often seen dangling coolly from the mouth of a true flČneur or flČneuse.

Micro-FlČnage - v. You’ve got 7 minutes to get from Point A to Point B. Yes, you’re running like mad, but there’s always 15 seconds to stop and smell the roses.

Multi-FlČnage - v. To drift through the city in ever-growing packs. Pied-piper style.


Pain du FlČne - n. A snack along the gentle journey. Ideally, a hot sesame seed bagel.
- v. Walk, breathe, look, smile, shoot. Repeat if necessary. Documentary photography made easy.

Régie du FlČnage du Québec - n. If permits were required to be a flČneur, this office would be collecting all the cash.

Shpatseer - n./v. Yiddish word for flČnage.

Traffic - Simply not an issue.

Turbo-FlČnage - v. See Micro-FlČnage.

YogaFlČnage - v. Walk… breathe… stretch…

Zero-FlČn-Time - n. What you have when you are working too hard and rushing too much. Get out and live a little!


Ezra Soiferman is a Montreal-based filmmaker, photographer and friend. He recently discovered he’s also a bit of a flČneur.


More about Ezra: http://www.EzraSoiferman



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All photos © Ezra Soiferman & Perpetuum Productions. Not to be used without permission.