A Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Gros

A book recommendation for winter nights in the northern hemisphere. (Those of you in the southern hemisphere can file this away until your summer is over.)

A Philosophy of Walking is a thoughtful and beautifully written book by French philosopher Frédéric Gros.

The book is a mixture of his own thoughts and his commentary on the thoughts of some modern philosophers. But don’t let the philosophers discussion put you off—this an accessible and readable book and his comments on walking make you nod and think “yes, that’s how it feels, that’s why.”

For an entertaining introduction to the book read this interview with Gros published in the Guardian in 2014:
Frédéric Gros: why going for a walk is the best way to free your mind.

Those in Vancouver can find the book at the library: five copies.

Photo: by Inge, 2019 in France

10 thoughts on “A Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Gros”

  1. Thanks Roy. I will follow your advice when I return from the tropical climes and 30+ temperatures. Cheers J

  2. Lovely article – good writer/interviewer

    “when he talks about how, in the mountains of the Cévennes, his favourite spot, in a period of fine weather, he simply abandoned his rucksack. He spent two days walking, alone, carrying absolutely nothing.
    “It was this feeling of lightness. This fragility. There is nothing between you and nature.”

    The sounds so etherial and wonderful – like people who fast for 10 days and on the 10th day they feel they could go on forever without eating… BUT… I say without malice, how very lucky and freeing indeed – and he obviously does not live/walk in Canada where there are bears and cougars about… “oh no”

    thank you for the recommendation!

      • Inge took the photo last summer in France. Very foggy day but the sun did its magic and by afternoon it was clear.

  3. Roy, thank you so much for this recommendation. It made me want to read “A Philosophy of Walking” immediately. Solo walking is one of my favourite ways to spend quality time. I shall order the book from our library.

  4. Thank you Roy. What a lovely man he is, and so French. I realize my childhood and youth was largely formed and comforted by my obsession with walking. In some ways, I would have been better off if I never gotten a car and learned to drive, but that was not until my late 20s so I got some very long walks in before, and then was able to drive to the mountains to take those trail hikes . I do think hiking deliberately up long mountain trails was not as good as leaving my home in the morning with no clear objective and finally arriving home at dusk, foot sore and content.

  5. I recently read Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit 2001and loved it. Thanks for the recommendation.

    • Gros is a scholar and naturally there is a Further Reading section at the end of the book. He lists Solnit’s book. I’ve read her book, but not the others he lists in General Biography. More reading to look forward to!

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