Saturday, March 31, 2012

Paris Favorites : MONTMARTRE

It's surprising how much  I  love  Montmartre,   given my tendency to complain about the overly touristy areas of Paris.  I always make a point of visiting Montmartre during any trip to Paris, even if for an hour or two.  It's a special place.

A       B R I E F       H I S T O R Y       O F       M O N T M A R T R E . . .
T h e      b u t t e      ( p e a k )      o f      M o n t m a r t r e    i s
h e         h i g h e s t         p o i n t         i n         P a r i s  
surpassing      even      the      Eiffel      Tower.
"  M O U N T        O F        M A R T Y R S  "
THE    NAME    MONTMARTRE "  comes  from  one  of  two  sources,
either   " Mount   of   Mercury,"   as it was once the site of a Roman Temple, or   " Mount   of   Martyrs,"   as it was also the site of Saint Denis' martyrdom.  Around 250 AD  Saint  Denis,  Patron Saint of Paris, was decapitated here by the Roman government.  Legend holds that Denis picked up his head, walked over the hill and further north of the city before collapsing at the site of  (what  is  now)  the  town  and  Basilica   of   Saint - Denis.

T H E      S A C R É   -   C O E U R
Montmartre    is   most - recognized    for    its    white,   wedding   cake "
church,    the     Sacré - Cœur   ( "Sacred   Heart" )    Basilica,
which   sits   atop   the   butte,   visible   throughout   most   of   Paris.
Montmartre  +  Sacré-Cœur   as    seen   from   the   Louvre's   Jardin   des   Tuileries
S A C R E    C O E U R ' s      o r i g i n s      a r e      t w o - f o l d :
its  founders  proposed  to  build  the  church  in  remembrance  of  lives  lost  in  the  Franco - Prussian  war  and  as  atonement  for  the  sins  of  the  Paris  Commune,  which  arose  in  the  war's  aftermath.    Sacré-Cœur  is  the  second - most  visited  French   religious   landmark  after  Notre  Dame  de  Paris.   Its style is Roman-Byzantine, and its construction is of Château-Landon stone which, producing calcite, allows the building to remain white in spite of pollution.

T W O           F A M O U S           W I N D M I L L S
Though   numerous   windmills   once   dotted   Montmartre,   it   is   known  for   two: 
the   MOULIN   de   la   GALETTE    and    the    MOULIN    ROUGE.  
If      you're     familiar      with      the      above      painting, 
"  BAL   du   MOULIN   de   la   GALETTE, "     by     Auguste   R E N O I R
(1876),     then      you      already      know      something      about      Montmartre.  

The   Moulin  (windmill)  of   the   Galette   was   a   19th - century  meeting   place   and   dance   hall   near   the   top   of   Montmartre.
( "Galette"  means  "cake"  in  current-day  definition . . . at  the  time  of  the  painting,  a  galette  was  a  rye-bread   sold  here  along  with  a  glass  of  milk)    
Locals  enjoyed  a  still-bucolic  setting  here  on  Sunday  afternoons  in  particular.
 The     Moulin     de     la     Galette    (above) 
still   exists   today   as  a  restaurant  in  Montmartre
(one  of  two  windmills  remaining  intact)  and,  a few miles away,
you  may  view  Renoir's  original  painting  at  the  Musée  d'Orsay.

T h e      M O U L I N      R O U G E
( meaning  " The   Red   Windmill " )   remains    a   well - known
French    cabaret    since    first   opening   in   1889.

The  Moulin  Rouge  was  first  made  famous  by  19th-century  artist
Henri   de   Toulouse - Lautrec,   (poster,  above)
who  regularly  sketched  life  here  in  the  cabaret.
The  Moulin  Rouge  is  also  known  by  the  2001  film  bearing  its  name.  

Another famous Montmartre cabaret is  Au  Lapin  Agile.  This bar flourished amidst the bohemian lifestyle, so romanticized here, at the end of the 19th- and turn of the 20th-centuries.  Its crowd ("The Lost Generation") would soon move to another Parisian "hill," Montparnasse (see the film "Midnight in Paris").  Don't miss Clos Montmartre, Montmartre's tiny, working vineyard, next door. 

has   long   been   a   major   thoroughfare   in   Montmartre, 
as    well    as   a   witness   to   much   of   its   history.
"View    of    Paris    from    Vincent's    Room    in    the    rue    Lepic,"
1887,    Vincent   Van   Gogh
While  the  Moulin  de  la  Galette  is  located  at  77,  rue  Lepic,
Vincent Van Gogh resided briefly at number 54, rue Lepic with his brother, Théo.   Other famous inhabitants of this street include artist Edgar Degas, said to have lived at number 50, writer Louis-Ferdinand Céline, at number 98 and Paris Communard, Jean-Baptiste Clément, at number 53.   Louis Renault received orders for his first car in 1898, after winning a bet that it could make it up the steep rue Lepic.  Last but not least, the Café des 2 Moulins, at number15, was the set for the popular 2001 film, Amélie.

G Y P S U M     M I N E S ,          P L A S T E R     O F     P A R I S
a n d     t h e         P L A C E      D E S      A B B E S S E S
t     1 1 8     f e e t     b e l o w     g r o u n d     l e v e l,
the    Abbesses   Métro   station    is    the    deepest    in    Paris.
"Abbesses"  refers  to  nuns  who  ran  an  abbey  here  in  the  Middle  Ages.
According    to    Access    Paris'    Richard    Saul    Wurman, *

"  The      reason      for      the      great      depth  
lies     in     Montmartre's     old     gypsum     mines. . . "
"Gypsum,  a  soft  stone,  was  burned  to  make  the  internationally  famous  Plaster  of  Paris  used  to  mold,  among  other  things,  busts  of  George  Washington  and  Thomas  Jefferson  in  the  US  Capitol.   Over  the  years  the  growing  network  of  quarry  tunnels  beneath  Montmartre  turned  the  hill,  geologically  speaking,  to  Swiss  Cheese.   In  the 1840s  the  mines  were  closed,  but  not  before  27  houses  and  several  Parisians  had  disappeared  into  the  void.   The  City  of  Paris  is  still  filling  Montmartre's  cavities  with  high - pressure  concrete.   The  métro  platform  was  built  at  bedrock,  precisely  285  steps  below  Place  des  Abbesses.    Take  the  elevator  and  save  your  breath  for  the  Montmartre  summit."

In  addition  to  above-described  attractions,  most  people  enjoy  the   view    from    the    front    steps    of    the    Church    of    the    Sacré    Coeur.    It    is    a    view    of    Paris    unlike    any    other !    If   you   can   make  it  there  towards   late - afternoon,  just   before   the   sun   sets,   the   light   is   especially   beautiful.

For better or worse, a visit to Montmartre without the tourist-trap Place du Têrtre -where you may have your portrait done-  would not be complete.   Nearby is the Espace Salvador Dalí and the Bateau-Lavoir, as well as  Saint-Pierre  de  Montmartre, the "second-oldest" church in Paris.   If you have any interest in fabric, don't miss the Marché Saint-Pierre, a fun, block-long fabric market (see my post about it here).   There is also the Musée de Montmartre  as well as the Cimetière Montmartre, often passed-over for the larger Cimitière Père LaChaise, but also a picturesque tourist destination.

At   the   end   of   the   day,   what   I   love  most   about   Montmartre
is   its   small,   village - like   atmosphere
. . . although  technically  a  part  of  Paris,  
it    is    its    own    separate    village    within    the    city.  
Montmartre  retains  both  seedy  and  touristy  sides  in  addition  to  its
charming   ones. . . and  a  willingness  to  focus  on  the  latter
will  make  all  the  difference  in  your  visit. 

4.,  5. linternaute, 6.  
7.,  8., 10.,  unknown,  9. wikipaintings, 
11. everita, 12. olivier fabre  13. sacred-destinations 

For   Ian   and   Bailey,   on   your   first   trip   to   Paris   this   week !
In   hopes   that   you   make   it   to   Montmartre   --
love,   Tatie

Friday, March 30, 2012


PHOTOS:  1. the decorista, 2. decoartsnow, 3., 8., 13.-15.  unknown,  4. ruby mines, 
5. dustjacketattic, 6. helloben, 7., 11. amuse-bouches, 9. pinterest via remington ready,
10., 12.  encoreuneminute, 16. eyespire, 17.-18. crushculdesac

Saturday, March 17, 2012

for the love of GREEN



IMAGES:  1. heartbeatoz, 2.,9. don'tcallmebetty, 3. species barocus, 
4. unknown, 5. one king's lane, 6. wishflowers, 7. petit pouailler,  8. r-ire

Happy  Saint-Patrick's  Day!