Breton on Paris

André Breton, from La Clé des champs

The steps that for years and  years take us back, for no compelling reason, to the same places in a city attest to our growing sensitivity to certain aspects of the place, which for obscure reasons strike us as favorable or hostile. A walk down even a single street, provided it is long and varied enough, such as the rue de Richelieu, can, if we pay close enough attention, take us, within an interval that we could specify precisely, through alternating zones of well-being and malaise. A map of great significance, perhaps, could be drawn up for each person by indicating in which the places he frequents and in black the places he avoids, with a range of grays in between marking lesser degrees of attraction and repulsion. (qtd in Higgonet, Patrice. Paris: Capital of the World. Trans. Arthur Goldhammer. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2005.)

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