When meeting someone who knows the word flâneur, it feels like reuniting with an long-lost sibling. So imagine my excitement when I came across a store with that name in the heart of Athens, in the picturesque and usually tourist-ridden area of Plaka.
[Thanks to all the friends and family who sent me a photo of the storefront when passing by or messaged me to tell me about this. All 7.452 of you.]
Flâneur is an small independent store that offers a curated collection of “souvenirs for curious minds and supplies for the urban explorer”, including unique pieces from both local and international creatives. Most of the pieces in the store have a fresh, minimalist feel with a playful or humorous touch, which is underlined by the clean lines of the space. Despite carrying a generous selection of items, the store allows the visitor to move around with ease and decide with peace of mind.
[Yes, you’ll probably want to get everything nevertheless.]
Visiting on a rather quiet Tuesday morning, I had the opportunity to learn more about how they chose the store’s name. The uber-polite Yannis, who together with Katerina are the owners of Flâneur, suggested that they came up with the idea during their own travels, when they would often deliberately abandon online navigation systems and maps and wander through the city at their own pace, sometimes getting lost but always discovering something interesting.
The store itself takes a bit of flâneur-ing to find, as it is located off the central road where the plethora of souvenir shops in the historical centre of Athens are. Hidden in plain sight, it takes a true flâneur to find it.
It also allows for the visitors to do some wandering and getting lost on their own to discover all the goodies it has to offer: Jewellery harmonically co-exists with hand-made soaps, explorer backpacks, illustrated books, sunglasses, postcards and one of my favourites – a map of Greece for small and big children to colour in!
Truth be told, I’m keeping all my findings from that day to myself. However, I’m glad to have found a store with modern and tasteful Greek memorabilia in a sea of Acropolis miniatures, fridge magnets and T-shirts with (allegedly) Plato quotes. It is also a breath of fresh air to discover that Greek design is alive and blossoming, harnessing Greek tradition and culture in the most ingenious way imaginable.
Exploring (as always),