“And I was off with the wind at my back and enough in my pocket to cover a second last one at the corner bistro and take the metro like a grown up.” 

“I will be only too happy to tell my stories over again, because the most serious listeners are entitled to details, and have the right to draw on the experience of others, which are never useless when it comes to the vagabond life. That is what bistros are for.” 

“–and all this amidst the restless, hypnotic quest for a square meal and a quiet lodging. This depresses me to no end, for every face, every conversation, every narrow street, every dark corner, every bistro deserves an entire volume filled to bursting with information, tips, details, anecdotes, comments . . . Too bad. There is no help for it. Just let the pen run on.” 

“Leisurely strolls quite obviously (and fortunately) unknown to the tourist trade, for there is nothing to see on these routes except poetry in the rough, which paying travelers would never appreciate; the poetry of mansions, cobbles, boundary stones, carriage entrances, dormer windows, tiled roofs, patches of grass, odd trees, dead ends, byways, blind alleys . . . the poetry of colors but also of smells, a different smell of every doorway.” 

“The city is inexhaustible. To master it, one must be either a vagabond poet, or a poet vagabond.” 

“I was off to Cherbourg: a couple of shirts, a toothbrush, a packet of tea, a box of matches, and a bar of soap. Vagabondage.” 

“Hands deep in your pant pockets, cig dangling from your lips, eyes scrunched up against the smoke, you get a free visual feast just to yourself.”

“Because, in Paris, if you are not going to starve, you need a number of assets: an open mind, an ever curious eye, a sharp ear, a hound’s nose, a fleet foot, and a certain contempt for private property–in short, the vagabond’s usual baggage.” 

Read Paris Vagabond  by Jean-Paul Clébert. 

%d bloggers like this: