Monday, September 22, 2014

Montmartre - Sigh

Street on the way to Montmartre.

First Dinner in Paris
Summer Vacation Part 2
Paris - Montmartre
The first dinner in Paris was in Montmarte. While Montmarte is gentrified and somewhat clean these days, the neighboring areas are a little sketchy. We started at the base of the hill in the village area of the Moulin Rouge and Elysees Montmarte Theatre. Our hopes were to board the "little white train" unfortunately the train driver was not cooperating and we readily convert to plan b - walk the hill and ride the incline. Not a big deal and we got to see the street market. Unbelievable but the prices in this area were not to high. These street stalls were selling everything from household items to art supplies. Arrive early on Saturday morning and you will be amazed to see trucks pull up and dump enormous cardboard boxes onto the sidewalk. Then the workers run out with boxcutters, split the tape seals, and literally dump piles of jeans or sweaters made by Naff Naff or Bennetton or Esprit onto huge wooden sidewalk bins. People go crazy - running - throwing elbows etc. the sight alone is remarkable. 

As we aimed for the big white church as the top of the hill (Basilica of Sacre-Coeur) I imagined the life before us - artist meandering these streets and buildings. At the bottom of the hill is the Boulevard de Clichy which is lined with bars, kebab shops, and more sex shops and peep-shows than you can possibly pretend you are not looking at. 

Look at your map and draw out a triangle, the base of it to be the section of Blvd. de Clichy and Blvd. de Rochechouart between the metro stations Blanche and Anvers. The tip of the triangle would be the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur. The area between these three points is roughly the area of interest. 
Basilica of Sacre-Coeur, Montmartre, Paris
Basilica of Sacre-Coeur
Because all the great poets have told us the journey is more important than the destination, I recommend you start at metro (Moulin Rouge) or metro Anvers and gradually enter the "village". This will make it feel more like a pilgrimage toward the place that nurtured most of the great artists and writers living in France this past century. 
Moulin Rouge, Paris
Moulin Rouge

Paris Montmartre view
View from stairs

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