Travelling in the Orient has been an old dream shared by many travellers since the beginning of the 18th century and a popular theme in philosophical and political writings. The Orient is a universe where life is radically different from that in the West. In the 19th century, exploring the Orient first helped one get to better know the other and satisfy a desire for the exotic. For a European of this era, the Orient was the tales of
One Thousand and One Nights
, full of fantastic lives and enchanted palaces. The travel to that wide romantic East, spreading from Spain to the Levant, was quite often at the origin of a sudden awareness and always an opportunity for a restatement for such writers as Lamartine, Nerval, Flaubert, or even Gautier and Chateaubriand.