Thursday, June 14, 2012

Magical Montmartre

This and other posts are part of the "Paris Tour" party on Anita's blog, "Castles, Crowns and Cottages." The links are at the bottom of her lovely post HERE.) 

Some of the photos in this post aren't showing "full" on the blog -- need to change the template. But if you click on them, you can see them full-size in the blogger slide show. 

My guidebook says that "Montmartre and art are inseparable." Surely that was true in the late 1800s and earlier years of the 20th century when artists like Picasso, Renoir, and van Gogh were part of the Montmartre scene, along with numerous singers, dancers, and writers.
I visited Montmartre in 2009. It was fun. And if I was going back by myself, I may not have returned. 
But this year, I was with Rick. And, I had another reason.
If you love Paris, you must visit the beautiful blog, Peter's Paris, where Swedish ex-pat Peter Olson, who has lived in Paris for many, many years, takes readers on a journey of the City of Light in a history-packed photo-perfect series of posts that make one feel almost as though they had arrived themselves.
When I contacted Peter about our trip, we decided we'd meet (I'd be happy just for lunch!). He asked our interests and I told him art and music, and he suggested a walk around Montmartre. It was new to Rick and after I saw it through Peter's tour, it was new to me, too. (Peter volunteers for a group that offers free guided walks through Paris. For more information, go HERE.
Peter met us at the Metro stop. I'm sure he was quite familiar with it -- he'd posted about the area often on his blog. Peter volunteers as a tour guide for a Parisian organization that offers complimentary walking tours.The first thing he pointed out to us was a wall with the phrase "I love you" written in many languages. 
It was here that I spotted this orange cat that looked like the Marmelade Gypsy. It was later that I learned that on the day we were in Montmartre, Gypsy began his downward slide.
Peter led us through steep streets...
...through areas with charming shops and restaurants.
We even noticed this one!
Apparently "Michigan" is a French name and the artist had his own atelier in the area!
We passed through sites featured in the movie "Amalie." One such spot was this theatre lobby, where Amalie went to the movies.
(Once other tourists realized Peter knew what he was talking about, they stopped and asked him where Amalie did this or that. Peter, being gracious and lovely, certainly helped them out!
We saw spots we never would have found on our own, like a high-placed sign indicating that composer Eric Satie lived there.
At the Musee Montmartre, a plaque indicated many of the famous past residents.
 We didn't go in, but we did enjoy the sign!
I couldn't help but note the beautiful wisteria growing on the walls of the city. (Click for full view)
Here's another view!
We also passed by Montmartre's vineyard.
Peter said the wine is pretty bad -- but people buy it as a public service! And the area is lovely!
I was fond of the charming buildings. This pink maison was calling my name!
As a Van Gogh fan, I was delighted to see the plaque indicating where the artist and his brother had briefly lived.
We also saw the beautiful Sacre Cour (in the background here)...
...and enjoyed the views from the top of the butte Montmartre.
Peter and Rick immediately bonded, sharing a strong interest in music and a bit in cycling. Sometimes I would just walk behind them and smile!
After walking about for rather awhile, we decided it was time for lunch. Peter chose a restaurant that was perfect. I had my snails (I was dying for snails) and we ordered what we decided was one of our favorite meals in Paris. Peter graciously bought champagne! Never before had it tasted so wonderful!
Then it was back to the streets for more sites, like the movie theatre next door to director Claude LaLouche's home... 
... Au Lapin Agile, the nightclub frequented by artists like Picasso, who paid for their bill with their paintings and later notables like Julia Child.
And the celebrated Moulin Rouge.

Now noted for its flashy tourist shows, the original "moulin" or windmill is also on Montmartre -- although my photos were truly not dazzling.
I think Peter knew I liked cemeteries. He also discovered that one of Rick's favorite guitar composers was Fernando Sor, who is buried in the Montmartre Cemetery.
So, of course we visited. It was a fascinating place, with beautiful stones and monuments.
The entry was a handsome garden, which looked especially welcoming on a gloomy day.
Although the Pierre Lachaise cemetery is better known, there is a considerable roster of well known persons buried there, among them Jacques Offenbach.
Offenbach was best known for the music associate with the can-can.
Composer Hector Berlioz is also there. 
Did you know the fellow who invented the saxophone was Albert Sax? He's buried there, too!
Of course we were there during the rain. Peter and Rick investigated names, despite the showers.
This cat had a better idea!
This may have been my favorite photo of the various tombstones. It wasn't for anyone famous, but she was simply lovely. (Click for full view)
Of course, we had to part. But while we met as online blogger acquaintances, we parted as friends. (Click for full view)
And the memories we shared will certainly live in our hearts for many years to come! Thanks, Peter! (For a Paris treat, don't forget to check Peter's Paris right HERE. His label list on the right is indispensable.)

Lessons from Montmartre

Montmartre has a lot of steep hills. If you are mobility challenged, you may want to rethink a visit. You don't walk great distances, but you walk "tall" ones!
The artists in the Place du Tertre, a famous tourist spot I covered in THIS POST, aren't really the best. Enjoy it for fun, but don't let them suck you in (unless you have quite the budget!)

Unless you have an aversion to cemeteries, the Montmartre Cemetery is really quite a special and peaceful place. Check the map to find famous folk.

Although I didn't encounter them on either of my visits, I'm told to beware of pickpockets in this area.

Photos aren't allowed in Sacre Coeur, but it is a handsome church and worth a peek.

Consider a picnic if you don't want a restaurant or cafe lunch! The steps of Sacre Coeur are a fine place to stop with great views!


As far as I can tell, this is officially my 800th post. A drawing continues throughout my Paris/Holland/England posts, so please enter with your comments!


Debby@Just Breathe said...

Way to go on 800 posts. I was in Paris last year at this time. I fell in love. I loved visiting Montmartre. One of the ladies on my bowling team is French. She gave me the best list of places to visit. I was there for 8 days! Enjoyed looking at your pictures.

Joanne Huffman said...

I have to tell you, these are my favorite photos so far. It looks like a wonderful tour.

Retired English Teacher said...

How wonderful it is that you were able to meet up with Peter and take advantage of his expert skills on seeing the highlights of Montmartre. I loved this place. It stands out as my favorite memory of Paris. I think that might be because we had a guide, but I think your guide made it even more special. I remembered some of the spots as I went through your photos. It was great to see those places again.

Annie said...

Montmartre!! Fabulous place but being there in August, migosh it was packed with people. Did you go into the Basilica? To die for. Loved the Gypsy kitty. His spirit came to visit you.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

That is awesome that you got to meet Peter and how wonderful that he showed you around!! I didn't spend a ton of time in that area, but I did a little exploring of that area, and I attended mass at the Sacre Couer. It is a beautiful church!

Peter Olson said...

What can I add after all this ? Well, I can confirm that, despite of the rain, this was also for me one of the best Montmartre walks I ever made and the reason was of course the nice company! I was really delighted to meet you both … and as you say, we had a lot of things to talk about! … and I can see that you listened well; your review of the trip is really nice and complete! It’s really nice to meet such wonderful blogger FRIENDS!!! Thanks for letting me take you around!! Hopefully another time in another area!

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

What a great adventure, Jeanie -- so many wonderful sights and experiences and, best of all, having a blogger friend as a guide! I'll be sure to check out his blog!

Arti said...

Congrats on your 800th! Again, this post is fascinating. I haven't been to Montmartre... I wonder how I could have missed such a wonderful place. But next time I'll be sure I go there. Your photos are beautiful. With all the artists and musicians, your post reminds me of the movie Midnight In Paris. ;)

Toriz said...

I'm glad Peter's tour made it a more enjoyable trip than your last one. Plus, getting to meet an online friend as well as enjoy a trip like that has to be a good thing!

How strange that you saw that cat on the same day Gypsy began to slide healthwise.

The Artful Diva said...

To me your photos are like de ja vu - I wanna go back!

Maggie said...

Jeanie, I so enjoyed reading about your tour of Monmartre with Peter, I was so jealous! I wish that he had been with us when I visited Paris last October with our friends Susan & John.
I will definitely check out his blog for next time.
loved this post.
Bon weekend.

~*~Patty S said...

Golly Jeanie...this post is one of my favorites if it is possible to pick a fav travel post of yours!

Amelie is a film I could watch again and again and Sacre Coeur holds an extra special place in my heart

thank you for stirring memories of my trip to Paris so many years ago now

The cemetery is something I would definitely want to visit on another trip there!

Love this!

paris parfait said...

You certainly saw a diverse cross-section of Paris during your visit. How lucky to have Peter for a guide!

Relyn said...

You already know how blessed you are to have enjoyed such a trip. But, I feel blessed, too, to have witnessed it. Heavenly.

Pat K. said...

After reading your post and seeing these photos, I am even more disappointed that I saw so little of Montmartre when I was in Paris. (I did see Sacre Couer, tho', and highly recommend it, both for the beauty of the church and the views from the steps.) You sure captured the beauty of this area, Jeannie. And how wonderful to see it thru the eyes of someone who has lived in Paris for a long time.

Jennifer Richardson said...

thanks for letting me come along to see the world with you:)
beautiful, beautiful share,

hi-d said...

Your photos are quite amazing! It sounds like having a tour guide is the way to go,

hi-d said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joyce said...

What an absolutely magnificent church! (Ironically, Sacred Heart was the name of the beautiful church I grew up in). I would not want to be responsible for parallel parking in those streets, or even driving in them for that matter, and as I think of it, probably not even walking up those steep hills.
I love graveyards too, there is a small, barely visited graveyard within walking distance from my home with only about 25 graves, someday I may have to post about it.
And (sorry I have so much to say!!) how ironic that you saw that orange cat on the same day that Gyp began deteriorating.

Vagabonde said...

I enjoyed all your trip reports and lovely pictures. I have not been to the Louvre in years, actually it was in 1968 to show my husband. There were not that many people then. Last year in May we also walked around Montmartre and even went into the museum. I have not written posts about it yet as there have been other trips after that. Actually right now we are on a trip – in Memphis to celebrate both Father’s Day for my husband with my daughter and our 45th wedding anniversary. I read your post about St Malo. I love that city – stayed a month there with my mum for vacation once. In case you did not know St Malo was almost bombed to the ground by the US in 1944 – trying to get the Germans out. They did not know that there were only 70 Germans left and kept bombing the town. The town was bombed to over 80% and was rebuilt exactly as it had been, looking quite old, but it is not old. It looks like you had a great trip.

Icy BC said...

What a wonderful tour you just gave me, through your photos and words!

Beautiful place to see..

Marilyn said...

I have walked through this part of Paris, but a guide like Peter would have been wonderful indeed. How special for you.

Bella Rum said...

What wonderful photos. I clicked over and watched the slide show. Gorgeous.

kerrie of sea cottage said...

What a wonderful tour through Paris...I am enjoying your posts!

Ruth said...

What could be better than a personal tour of Montmartre (or anywhere in Paris) with Peter Olson! I am so impressed with him and his attention to the details of his adopted city. It's wonderful that he is giving free tours, sharing his vast knowledge. I hope to meet him one day. If I get back to Paris (did I say "if"?) I will work around his schedule!

By the way, I see my "annoying" links below the comment box. I don't know why this happens with my blog more than anyone else's! If you want to get rid of them, you can go to your dashboard, settings, comments and posts, and where it says "Show Backlinks" click on "hide."

Anonymous said...

Lovely photos, Jeanie. I love the one of Rick and Peter, deep in conversation.... it has great "human" quality!!
800 posts... wow. You are very impressive (of course!). Congratulations.
I hope all is well otherwise - new kitten yet?

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

Dear Jeanie
I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this tour of Paris. Thank you for taking me along.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

Esme said...

What a fun day. How sad that gypsy fell I'll, I think that was his twin visiting you.

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