Abstract : How, and in what way, does studying rhythms of walking relate to a body-based approach to the city? This is the question that runs through this study. It is also the question that we pose regarding the architectural and urban concept of contemporary public spaces. In choosing to contribute to research on walking in the city, and in devoting ourselves to the study of rhythms of walking, we have chosen especially to investigate the definition of the space in which movement occurs: in other words, the importance, in terms of perception, of establishing a relationship with the environment. This relationship is not an invitation to a finite experience of completing a course between the points of departure and arrival. Rather, it is the occurrence of presence. How is the relationship with the environment established that exposes us to this experience of traversing the city by means of variations of presence? How can we envisage designing public urban space according to this mode of the movement of bodies and space? In exploring this issue, we position our study in the field of architectural and urban ambiances. The study reclaims the act of walking as a sensory experience of the city through the body. At the same time, it considers the aspect of walking that, by permitting the engagement of the body, facilitates a posture capable of activating the process of conception. Our study covered two sites: the esplanade of the National Library, and the Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir in Paris. Using immersion, snatches of passing conversation and video, within a context of post modern dance and contemporary dance, our research takes in the sensory and spatial dimensions of the movement and emotions of walking. The analyses conducted aim to discover, and recreate, the movements of the experience of presence in these study sites. These observations may be of interest in the conceptual milieu, contributing to reflections on the composition of public spaces. They make reference to conditions for supporting bodies in the act of walking by enabling them to establish a relationship with the environment in their movement. This study also raises questions as to how an approach based on the environmental aesthetic could become a critique of the architectural and urban concept through movement.