Esplanade  

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  1. A prom.
  2. A place where one takes a walk for leisurely pleasure, or for exercise.
    • 1900, Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, Avon Books, (translated by James Strachey) pg. 235:
      The present dream in particular scarcely left any room for doubt, since the place where my patient fell was the Graben, a part of Vienna notorious as a promenade for prostitutes.
  3. A dance motion consisting of a walk, done while square dancing.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

An esplanade or promenade is a long, open, level area, usually next to a river or large body of water, where people may walk. The original meaning of esplanade was a large, open, level area outside fortress or city walls to provide clear fields of fire for the fortress' guns. In modern usage the space allows people to walk for recreational purposes; esplanades are often on sea fronts, and allow walking whatever the state of the tide, without having to walk on the beach. Esplanades became popular in Victorian times when it was fashionable to visit seaside resorts. A Promenade, often abbreviated to '(The) Prom', was an area where people - couples and families especially - would go to walk for a while in order to 'be seen' and be considered part of 'society'.

In North America an esplanade may often refer to a median or the strip of raised land dividing a roadway or boulevard. Sometimes they are just strips of grass, some may have gardens and trees. Some roadways esplanades may be used as parks with a walking/jogging trail and benches.

Esplanade and promenade are sometimes used interchangeably. The derivation of "promenade" indicates a place specifically intended for walking, though many modern promenades and esplanades also allow bicycles and other nonmotorized transport. Some esplanades also include large boulevards or avenues where cars are permitted.

A similar term with the same meaning in the eastern coastal region of Spain is rambla, but more widely referred to as paseo marítimo (esplanade), paseo (promenade) or explanada (esplanade) in the Hispanic world.


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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Esplanade" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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