Dans son journal de 1718 à 1763, Edmond-Jean-François Barbier raconte la ville de Paris et ses événements, ordinaires et extraordinaires. Le présent article se propose d'évaluer la manière dont l'avocat Barbier raconte la promenade et de montrer que son récit témoigne d'une transformation dans la manière de concevoir la promenade. Une pratique associée à la royauté et à la noblesse où prime la fonction de distinction sociale devient, au fil du journal de Barbier, une façon de découvrir et connaître sa ville afin de la raconter. Cette dimension permet de voir comment une source dite littéraire peut aider à comprendre la constitution des pratiques sociales, en l'occurrence la promenade et la transformation d'une ville.

The journal of Edmond-Jean-François Barbier, written from 1718 through 1763, can be considered both as a chronicle of Parisian everyday life and as a diary. This essay analyzes how Barbier narrates the promenade (stroll) and shows that his account illustrates a transformation in the way this pastime was conceived. Originally associated with the monarch and aristocracy, with civility and fashionable social ritual its dominant features, the promenade allowed practitioners to see and, most important, be seen. In his journal Barbier puts the promenade to a new purpose, using it to discover, become acquainted with, and narrate the city. In this light, the promenade creates a newly individualized and subjective relationship between the stroller and the city. This transformation of the stroller's appreciation for and perception of the city was made possible by the establishment of a new social role: the urban stroller. For Barbier, walking becomes an individual pursuit. Barbier's journal thus demonstrates how a literary source can be used to understand the transformation of social practice and of the urban landscape in eighteenth-century Paris.

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