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The man who could walk through walls
At Place Marcel Aymé, just off of rue Norvins, there is a statue by sculptor Jean Marais called Le passe-muraille, based on a short story by the French author Marcel Aymé (1902–1967), who lived here in Montmartre for many years.
In this story a quiet middle-aged office worker named Dutilleul suddenly discovers that he has “the unusual ability to pass through walls without inconvenience”. His doctor discovers the cause, un durcissement hélicoïdal de la paroi strangulaire du corps thyroïde (which I won’t attempt to translate), and prescribes "le surmenage intensif“ (intensive overwork) and some packets of medicine.
Since there is no way he can be overworked in his quiet office job, and since he neglects to take the medicine, he retains his unique ability and gradually finds some uses for it, first to frighten his new boss, then to rob banks and jewelry shops and finally to have an affair with a frustrated housewife who lives nearby.
By accident he takes some of the medicine, and his affair with the frustrated housewife provides him with some unaccustomed and very intensive exercise -- so he loses his ability just as he is in the middle of a wall, where he remains stuck for ever.
The statue shows him stuck in the wall. This is close to where Dutilleul lived in the story (75 bis de la rue d'Orchampt).
Second photo: VT member Maaike (VonDutch) holding hands with the statue of the man who could walk through walls.
Third photo: Signs at Place Marcel Aymé.
Fourth photo: Since I had never read the story Le passe-muraille I bought a copy the next morning at the fnac bookshop at the Gare de l’Est (East Station), thinking to read it on the train. But the story turned out to be quite short and easy, so I read it in the café before even getting on the train. Fortunately the book includes nine more of his stories that I read later.
If you would like to read this story in English, click here for a translation by Karen Reshkin.
Or, if you would prefer to read it in the original French, cliquez ici for the complete text.
Next review from September 2011: Sacré-Coeur
- Arts and Culture
all about Montmartre
its one of the highlights of the butte or hill of montmartre so wonderful that you will go there.
The butte or hill or mount of martyrs has a lot of history of FRance not just Paris, here St Denis was beheaded and eventually where he fell a basilica rises today where most of the Kings and Queens and family of France are buried.
This is the site for tourism in Montmartre, and on the upper right hand you have a place to translate it by google in many languages , I have it in English . Know all about the hill here
- Arts and Culture
Basilica du Sacre Couer de Montmartre
One of my favorite places in all of Paris is the Basilica du Sacre Couer. It's quite breathtaking and peaceful and one of the most beautiful churches in Paris. The large white facade situated on a hill makes Sacre Couer visible from many angles throughout Paris.
Getting to the top of Sacre Couer is quite a feat with its steep incline. You can either walk to the top of the basilica or take the Funiculaire to the top which can be taken from the Abbesses metro station.
Definitely walk inside and climb the steps to the top of the basilica also pay a visit to the crypt.
During every single trip I make to Paris, Sacre Couer is on my list of places to revisit.
- Historical Travel
294 steps to the most beautiful view over Paris
When I've seen that almost 800 people were already writing their thoughts about this Church, I felt frustrated.
What else I shall say about it, when it was anyway mentioned by all the others.
Only our colleague “nemorino” has surprised me a bit with his comment “my nomination for the ugliest building in Paris” when he wrote about Sacre Coeur.
I don’t have to agree with him as we have a saying in Romania “it's not nice what's nice, it's nice what I like”…
Anyway, I shall first mention that I love Sacre Coeur, I love the view from its highest lantern, I love all the surrounding area, I love Paris as seen from Sacre Coeur, I love all those people gathered up-there for the same reason… to reach the heart of Paris.
I’ve counted 294 steps to the top lantern and the climbing was challenging but I’ll repeat that exercise every time I’ll go there.
Do the same and let your mind fly over the old penthouses, dream about the history (and the stories) of the surroundings, find down there the Place de Tertre and the Moulins de la Galette, look down at the tiny people flashing around their Japanese cameras…
That building is far to be ugly in my opinion and more that this, I consider it perfect.
I have at home two paintings with Sacre Coeur, one bought in Rome on the Spanish steps and the other one in Stavanger-Norway from a flea market…
Every painter is trying to get the real curves but is far from its perfection… I’ll end up probably with a small collection as that form is fascinating me…
Looking from Terte, the big church seems even bigger compared with the old Bistros and the narrow streets.
What I shall say more about Sacre Coeur without copying what the others were already saying?
It looks for me somehow as a Byzantine building but I cannot compare it with other Byzantine churches as it is somehow unique…
As a minus is the fact that it is not allowed taking photos inside of the church…
It is a public place and to take photos is not affecting the structure or the beautiful-huge mosaic…
In the top of the only hill of Paris, this church was built by the national will, following the defeat in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870.
The basilica, by the architect Abadie was consecrated in 1919.
- Historical Travel
Basilique du Sacré-Cœur
Basilique du Sacre Coeur is one of the most recognized Catholic churches in the world. It is located high on the butte Montmartre of Paris and there are at least one hundred steps to get there from the Metro stop.
Most people forget that Sacre Coeur is a beautiful place for Catholics to worship and their purpose for making the journey is the spectacular panoramic view of Paris, also they come to see the famous artistic area known as Montmartre.
Climb the steps to Sacre Coure, and when you do, thank God you survived the ascent and for the breathtaking view of Paris.
Fondest Memory of Paris:
Finding out (before the ascent,) that I didn’t have to climb one hundred steps to see Sacre Coure. I could simply ride up in a Funiculaire!
- Religious Travel
- Arts and Culture
Top of the world!...or at least the city!
Going to Montmartre is an obvious thing to do when you are in Paris, France and so many people check out the beautiful Sacre Coeur, a basilica on the top of a high hill in Paris. Many people flock to it and take pictures in front of the church and the beautiful view of the city, but surprisingly not many people actually climb up to the top of the church. In my opinion this is a must!!! The view from the top of the basilica is beyond words! I have a photo, however photos do not do a justice! After going to the top i could not believe how many people just stay at the bottom when the view from the top is so beautiful! The ticket to go the top is 6 euros and yes there are plenty of stairs crammed in a tiny spiral but I promise the view is worth the climb! In my opinion one of the best things to do in Paris.
- Hiking and Walking
- Study Abroad
Le Bateau Lavoir
At this address there used to be a collection of flimsy, run-down buildings where dozens of famous or soon-to-be-famous artists lived and worked starting in the 1890s. Among the residents were Pablo Picasso, Max Jacob, Henri Matisse, Georges Braque and Maurice Utrillo.
The original buildings burned down in 1970 and have been replaced, but in the window at the front there is an interesting display about the artists who once lived and worked here.
Next review from September 2011: Dalida
- Arts and Culture
a heartbeat from the hill, Sacre Coeur
wonderful views of Paris especially in the evenings lol!! right on the hill of martyrs or montmartre, name after St Denis who preached here and died.
Now very touristic but still a must see while in Paris, the atmosphere around it is great old Paris, see the small streets around it, and the many bistros, not to mention St Pierre church next door.
see it and read more in VT ::)
see vital info here
metro to reach it at Jules Joffrin + Montmartrobus (stop "place du Tertre")
metro Pigalle + Montmartrobus (stop "Norvins")
metro Anvers - Abbesses + Funiculaire
Bus : 30 – 31 – 80 – 85 (which arrive at the bottom of the hill)
Parking : Anvers ( 20 mins to walk up the hill or the cable car)
Handicapped people : lift at 35, rue du Chevalier de la Barre
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
This is my nomination for the ugliest building in Paris.
Or at least the ugliest prominent building. Paris like all cities has numerous ugly buildings, but most of them are smaller and are tucked away in side streets where they only nauseate their immediate neighbors.
Sacré-Coeur, though, is certainly a prominent landmark, even for those of us who dislike the building and what it stands for. Looming above Paris from its position on a hilltop at the north end of the city, it can be seen from most places that have any sort of view at all, and it even serves a useful purpose for those who emerge disoriented from the Métro in some other part of the city and want to know which direction is north.
Like the Basilica Notre-Dame de Fourvière, which has a similarly dominating position on a hill above the French city of Lyon, the construction of the Basilica Sacré-Coeur on Montmartre was begun in the troubled period of the 1870s to celebrate (or at least assert) the triumph of reactionary "Christian values" over the socialist aspirations of the Paris and Lyon communes.
In the words of Bertrand Taithe, Professor of Cultural History at The University of Manchester: "The reaction to the communes of Paris and Lyon were triumphalist monuments, the Sacré-Coeur of Montmartre and the Basilica of Fourvière, dominating both cities. These buildings were erected using private funds, as gigantic ex-votos, thanking God for the victory over the socialists and in expiation of the sins of modern France." (From the book Citizenship and Wars: France in Turmoil, 1870-1871 by Bertrand Taithe.)
Second photo: Looking up at Sacré-Coeur.
Third photo: Sacré-Coeur from the bottom of the stairs.
Fourth photo: I took this photo from the roof of the Centre Georges Pompidou a.k.a. Beaubourg, which is about three kilometers south of Sacré-Coeur.
Fifth photo: I took this photo from the balcony on the 28th floor of the Chambord Tower at the far south end of Paris. From there it is possible to see both Notre Dame (3.6 kilometers away) and Sacré-Coeur (up on a hill at a distance of 7.4 kilometers) if you look north between the nearby buildings.
If you promise not to be offended I’ll tell you what the Basilica Sacré-Coeur reminds me of. – – –
What? You don’t promise not to be offended? In that case I won’t tell you, so you’ll never know.
(It wasn’t anything very nice, anyway.)
Next review from September 2011: Picnic by the Eiffel Tower
Buskers at Abbesses
The British and Australians have a nice word for street musicians -- buskers.
You can find buskers busking at lots of places in Paris, for instance at the Place des Abbesses in Montmartre.
I was surprised to find these guys playing in the rain, since most musicians I know are very careful not to let their instruments get wet and pack up at the first sign of a shower.
Next review from September 2011: Le Bateau Lavoir
The I-love-you wall
In the Square Jehan Rictus at the Place des Abbesses there is a blue tiled wall with the words “I love you” written in more than 250 languages and dialects.
These were collected by a French musician and artist named Frederic Baron, who “began his project in 1992 by wandering the streets of Paris and asking people to write these words in their mother tongue. Baron feels he has toured the world without ever leaving Paris.”
At first I thought the German sentence was grammatically incorrect, but that turned out to be some other language entirely, and I found a correct German sentence in the bottom right corner.
Second photo: Above the blue-tiled “I love you” wall there is a painting (added later by someone else, I believe) of a woman in a long blue dress saying: aimer c’est du désordre… alors aimons! Which means “Loving is disorder… so let’s love.”
Third photo: Ed (Kaspian) pointing to the sentence in English.
Fourth photo: Ilse (MATIM) getting her camera ready to take a picture of the Dutch sentence: “ik hou van je”.
Fifth photo: VT group in the rain at Square Jehan Rictus. The square was named after an anarchist poet (1867-1933) who used the pseudonym Jehan-Rictus and belonged to the chaotic Bohemian poetic scene in Montmartre starting in the 1880s.
Next review from September 2011: Buskers at Abbesses
Walking in Montmartre
Starting from Amélie’s café in Rue Lepic, a group of VT members took a walk through Montmartre “up to the Sacré Coeur using backstreets that miss the general run of tourists”, as Paul (pfsmalo) had promised in his invitation.
So we had a leisurely walk through some picturesque streets such as rue Cauchois, rue Véron, rue Germain Pilon, rue des Abbesses, rue Ravignan, rue d’Orchampt, rue Giradon, rue Norvins, avenue Junot and rue des Saules, which gradually led us up to the top of the hill.
Second photo: A slightly embellished No Entry sign.
Third photo: A quiet walkway in Montmartre.
Fourth photo: One of the two remaining windmills on Montmartre.
Fifth photo: The shop called Zut!, which sells “industrial antiques” such as clocks, globes, lamps and old-time filmmaking equipment at 9 rue Ravignan.
Next review from September 2011: The I-love-you wall
Escape the crowds - visit the dome & crypt
We were surprised how few people had paid the Euro5 entry fee (2008 price) to climb up the narrow and steep spiral staircases to the dome of the Sacré Coeur Basilica. It's possible to walk all round the base of the dome so you have a 360 degree view of the northern part of the city. It also means you get to see the outside of the church from a different (and photogenic) angle but, best of all, you can stop and take your time. There were only 3 other people up there with us and yet there was a constant stream of folk entering the main church.
Please be aware that there are 234 steps and the staircases are steep so the halfway break is a welcome opportunity to get your breath back. It really was worth it and made up for the fact that we couldn't get up the Notre Dame towers.
A kestrel came and perched on the building, sitting still and watchful for small prey it could swoop down on - a good vantage point indeed.
Please be aware our trip was in 2008 so the entrance fees may have gone up but I doubt whether the number of steps have!
- Historical Travel
Basil Sacre Coeur
Basil Sacre Ceur is visible from any point of the city as it is placed at the top of the hill La Butt in area of Montmartre. It was erected in 1876 in the Romanian-Byzantian style. The ladder conducts to a facade of church where always there are a lot of people, admiring a magnificent view of the city. Statues of Lui Sacred and Jeannes d'Arc are installed on the both sides of an entrance.
You can watch my 1 min 12 sec Video Paris Basilique du Sacré Cœur out of my Youtube channel.
- Historical Travel
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