Windows & Meanderings

Windows & Meanderings


French noun 

: a leisurly walk without a specific goal, purpose, or direction

Last Thursday, AUCP Summer students were on a flânerie assignment. The French class was taken out of the classroom and into the winding streets of Aix-en-Provence… to meander.

French teacher Marie-Anne Rossignol explains

« Our flâneries took us to the old town where we discovered the façades of the ancient buildings that we had often seen in passing. Who is hiding behind that window? What are those heavy curtains concealing? Numbed by the warm torpor of the afternoon, we wandered through the quiet streets guided by our fancy. Then, little by little, our meanderings took on a purpose and students became observers… collectors of details…

Statues of Greek Caryatides and Atlantes carrying the weight of arched doorways, shutters slightly open, trompe-l’oeil friezes, half-lowered blinds, cracked walls, dripping water… »

Shutters slightly opened

« Celui qui regarde du dehors à travers une fenêtre ouverte, ne voit jamais autant de choses que celui qui regarde une fenêtre fermée. » — Charles Baudelaire  (Les Fenêtres, Petits poèmes en prose XXXV (1869)

“He who looks through an open window sees fewer things than he who looks through a closed window.”

Students will be writing a short essay in French based upon their observations. The flânerie assignment is yet another way to get students to actively observe, analyze and participate in their study abroad environment, instead of simply watching from the sidelines.


AUCP Literature Professor, Marie-Anne RossignolMarie-Anne Rossignol holds a Post-Graduate Degree in General and Comparative Literature from la Sorbonne (Paris III). Currently a Senior Lecturer in French as a Foreign Language and Literature & Phonetics at the Aix-Marseille University, she is the AUCP’s Associate Professor of Provence through French Literature & Films and The French Feminine Archetype.