I do this every workday, coming from the blue ferries on the right, exiting the plein on the red path at the bottom. It’s not inconceivable that I’m in the shot somewhere.
It is exactly as chaotic as it looks, but it’s the chaos of people making thousands of tiny, dynamic, one-off accommodations for each other. Call it artisanal small-batch traffic management, the distributed-processing alternative to a people-flow problem that no one has been able to find a systemic solution to: mixed wheeled and foot traffic coming from multiple directions, going multiple places, some in bursts and some in steady flows. It’s weird and improbable that it works.
But if you think about cycling in general, it’s a weird and improbable way to get around. How did anyone ever think that hurtling along on two narrow bands of rubber would work? It’s inherently ludicrous.
Mind you, walking’s pretty odd too.