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
Montmartre is an area on a hill in the 18th arrondissement, north of downtown Paris,it is known for its many artists who have been there since 1880. The name Montmartre seems to be derived from either Mount of Martyrs or from Mount of Mars. Before 1873, when the Sacré-Coeur was built on top of the hill, Montmartre was a small village, inhabited by a mostly farming community.
Well worth a visit. First there is the Sacre Coeur, and the magnificent views over Paris (and even to the Eiffel Tower) from the steps in front of the Sacre Coeur, and the artistic district around Montmartre.
I have been coming to Paris, twice if not more every year since 1999 ...
And for some reason ... sometimes rain and sometime even snow ... I had never had the chance to come to Montmartre or Sacrè-Coeur
This time we made it a mission to come no matter what .... and we are so happy we did. An easy walk from the metro thru the famous little streets that gave us the name "the City of Lights"
Once at the bottom of the hill you can use your metro pass to go up the funicular or you can walk the never ending steps to get to the top where Sacrè-Coeur stands.
Admission to the basilica is free and donations are accepted for the upkeep of this beautiful building. Only thing is no photo's allowed inside .. really bummer since it is beautiful inside.
We spent about 30 minutes inside the basilica and then another 2 hours walking around the neighborhood at the bottom of the hill.
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.
Address: Place Émile-Goudeau, 13 Rue Ravignan, 75018 Paris
Directions: Vélib’ 18004
GPS 48°53'9.38" North; 2°20'15.62" East
Aerial view and photo of Le Bateau Lavoir on monumentum.fr
Next review from September 2011: Dalida
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
This is one of my favorite places in Paris. Going up by climbing those stairs is like being the lead in a French movie, it's a classic.
Once on top you arrive right in front of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Basilique du Sacré-Cœur). It's located at the summit of Le Butte Montmartre, which is the highest point in the city.
Keep walking and meet the cutest streets full of art and lovely restaurants.
What could be a lovely experience is compromised by the scammers, tat sellers etc., and the general run-down and uncared for situation of Montmatre. There is a lovely sequence of steps leading down from the Sacre -Couer on the east side which was once superbly elegant (and the subject of some classic postcards), but it is now sprayed with Graffiti, litter and urine. The Basilica is impressive and so is the view, but the romantic-artistic 'feel' of the surrounding streets has long been swallowed up by the hordes of tourists. At one time this would have been an inspirational place, but now there are much more satisfying experiences to be had in other Parisian districts.
We had expected a great panorama on Paris from the stairs of the Sacré Coeur and we were disapointed.
What we first saw in the distance were the buildings of the "banlieue" suburbs of the south of Paris. Here and there we would distinguish a monument shrouded in the historical centre. My photo speaks up for herself I may think.
Furthermore the trees did limit the view to the west so that to see the Tour Eiffel we had to leave the parvis. I presume that for a really good view one has to climb to the dome of the basilica. A touristic success with 10 million visitors.
Actually visiting the Musée d'Orsay we had from the terrace at level 5 a good view on the Sacré Coeur and the Butte Montmartre while the reverse viewing Paris from the Sacré Coeur had been a deception!
I took the first three photos from the same spot, on the corner in front of the Café des 2 Moulins on Rue Lepic.
All of these shops were open on Sunday morning, and there was lots of coming and going, with people from the neighborhood buying their baguettes and groceries for the day.
I’m not quite sure if the bakery is called Saint Preux or Saint Dreux – perhaps some local person can tell me?
Saint-Preux was a character in the novel Julie ou la Nouvelle Héloïse by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, published in 1761. For more on this novel, which was the absolutely best-selling novel of the entire 18th century, please see my tip/review on the Rousseau Museum and Garden in Montmorency.
There is also a French composer (born around 1950) who goes by the pseudonym of Saint-Preux. But there is also a French photographer, film-maker and author called Anne Saint Dreux, so both names definitely exist.
Update: Thanks to Paul (pfsmalo) for confirming that the bakery is called Saint Preux with a P. He looked it up in the yellow pages for me.
Second photo: The fruit and vegetable shop (greengrocer’s, I suppose the British would call it) across the street (opposite, to you) from Amélie’s café
Third photo: A cheese shop (under the scaffold), a honey shop and a butcher’s shop on Rue Lepic.
Fourth photo: Me with my Vélib' bike in front of these same shops. Thanks to Sonja (yumyum) for the photo.
Next review from September 2011: Walking in Montmartre
Montmartre is a hill with an altitude of 130 m, it's located in the 18th arrondissement on the right bank of la Seine. Montmartre is most famous for the Sacre-Cœur Basilica on the top and the wonderful view of Paris. Many of my favorite painters used to work in Montmartre, such as Salvador Dalí, Amedeo Modigliani, Claude Monet, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, and Vincent van Gogh.
The view of Montmartre is constantly being refreshed before your very eyes. Sacre-Coeur was built between 1875 and 1914. Can you discover me in the crowd in front of Sacre-Coeur?
We also visited the well-known cabaret-restaurant "Lapin Agile". We had delicious crêpes there and Pablo Picasso and Maurice Utrillo painted it. Not the crêpe, but the "Lapin Agile". And not while we were there, but many years before that.
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