Sunday, November 7, 2010

Paris Walks: Montmartre

We've often taken the London Walks and enjoyed them, so we met on Sunday morning for a Paris Walk, the Montmartre Walk. Led by an Englishwoman who's lived in Paris for thirty years (who I just discovered is the co-owner of the enterprise), this was a nice combination of history, anecdote, and art.

We met at the Abbesse Metro stop

and soon Oriel was pointing out some street art, like this mask, one of several posted around the quartier.

This statue pays homage to a story by Marcel Ayme (and didn't Sendak illustrate one of his novels many years ago?). It's about a man who is given the ability to walk through walls. It works well for a while, but eventually fate intervenes and he gets stuck.

Oriel evoked a different era, 100 years ago or more, when this area was still rural, and the young Jean Renoir (son of Auguste Renoir and later a noted film director) could wander among the fields. All that's left of that now is the last remaining vineyard in Montmartre, one of just a few in Paris.
Posted by Picasa

She pointed out studios or apartments once inhabited by the Renoir family, the poor Toulouse-Lautrec, van Gogh, and others.

Apart from artists, the area is known for its windmills, the Moulin Rouge being the most famous (or notorious). Here's a view of one that's now a restaurant.

Since Montmartre is built on a hill, the views are wonderful (and the steps are steep). Here's a view over the rooftops.

And here is Sacre Coeur, dominating the hilltop. We didn't have the strength to go in but admired it from afar.
Posted by Picasa

After this, a nice lunch in a cafe not too far from the Metro.

No comments: