Friday, September 3, 2010

Montmartre

I will be blunt. Montmartre is not my favorite place in Paris. It's just that Sacre Coeur with its Dairy Queen dome, the Place de Tetre, and the barrage of wandering sketch artists all feel impossibly cheesy. Now I know that there's another side to the Butte with lovely gardens and quiet byways and special markers reminding us of the artists and writers who once worked there. But call me cranky, it's just kind of hard to appreciate all that when you're getting called "sexy boom boom" by some African guy trying to wrap a string bracelet around your wrist or there's a group of what seems like a thousand Japanese tourists all plugged into their headsets blocking the middle of the street.

But if you're lucky enough to break away from the pack, you might see a few memorable sights. Like this quiet garden where the lemon tree is heavy with fruit.



Or appreciate the finely combed wisps of clouds over the Moulin de la Galette.



Or find your soul mate in a grafitti-ed wall.



And okay, if you insist: one picture of Sacre Coeur. It was after all a beautiful day.

10 comments:

MJ said...

Oh, you're hurting my heart. How I love the Montmartre. Al and just spent a Sunday up there and while the tourists are pretty tough to take (and not once was I called Sexy Boom Boom -- am I losing my edge?) I think it has a great feel, and a distinct personality unlike anywhere else in Paris.

I've been sucked in by the Mont (but agree totally with the Dairy Queen assessment)

Lost In Cheeseland said...

I agree. Usually when I have friends arrange an outing and I hear it's in Montmartre, I groan a bit. It's not practical to get to from my neighborhood and it either feels too touristy or too seedy. However, the area right around lamarck Caulaincourt is absolutely beautiful, with amazing views, houses (yes HOUSES) and adorable shops. I highly recommend it - I have a feeling it will be spectacular when the leaves turn a bit!

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

When I was there in June I felt the touristy cheese of the place and was sad that all of my photos were taken at severe angles in order to avoid "the crowd." My other visits have been in off-seasons and I much prefer that to the circus of June.

Thanks for showing another part of Montmartre and to Lost in Cheese for some other locations.

Great photos and I love the wispy (cirrus?) clouds over Moulin de la Galette!

Rachael said...

I live almost on top of metro Lamarck and I can say that's there's more the Montmartre than the Sacre Coeur and the Moulin Rouge. As Lost in cheeseland says, here there are beautiful views, sweet houses and small squares to sit and read in, beautiful and hardly any tourists at all. There's also some fabulous cafes and bars that serve good quality food at good prices. I couldn't live anywhere else. A little bit more touristy but Abbesses is also fun on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon in the sun, unique shops (unfortunately with my modest student budget and almost all my money going on rent to live in this lovely place I can only admire) and quite places to sit and have a coffee or enjoy a nice glass of wine with friends - they can be found. So I disagree with your view of Montmartre, I hope you return and get away from the tourist traps, you might be surprised. After all, it's not necessary to visit the Coeur every visit!

That said, I love your blog, you have given me much inspiration and have helped me discover much more of Paris than I ever could on my own.

Starman said...

Lisa (The Bold Soul) would be very disappointed to read this, she lives there.
Hola desde Barcelona.

Paris Paul said...

I agree! The sketchy artists and the mobs of people and the unbelievable hills are just too much for me. I do appreciate the sense of community spirit that reigns there, though, and there is a lot to see that's off the beaten path (I'm a huge fan of the statue of Le Passe Muraille!).

Still, I'm super jealous because a street vendor has yet to call me "sexy boom boom"!

Anonymous said...

Always take friends visiting from around the world, when we pop over on the eurostar, there and brave the touristy bits so they can shop for tat!

But I do love going over the hill and down the other side (except one time when my sense of direction got muddled and I got lost!).

Love both the left and right - the fabric district and rue des abbesses, rue lepic etc - leading to the cemetary, market on a saturday morning etc.

Loved my one (so far!) visit at harvest festival - champagne at 9am and much chocolate along with the people in strange robes!

The notice inside - 'open 7am till midnight. If you would like entry at other times please email a nun' always makes me giggle.

But I still prefer NDDP, and the areas around it

Eli
x

Sasho said...

If you are standing and looking at Sacré Coeur, there is a street to the left. If you turn right onto it, there used to be a little vineyard further along.

By the way Anne, I was mentioning your blog on my Facebook page. My cousin Faith responded saying she thinks she has your former job and that you two met a couple of times before you joined the world of ex pats. If true, really small world. (Oh, and she likes your blog, too.)

Anne said...

Sasho: Wow small world. That's definitely credible. I continue to hear good things about her from my former (her current) boss.

Anonymous said...

Sacre Coeur: In the words of Napoleon III "That beautiful marble wedding cake". Le Moulin de la Galette: The spirits of la Goulue and Valentin le desosse are still there. They were favorite subjects of M. le Comte de Tolouse Lautrec. I'm sure his spirit is still there too. !Vive Montmartre! Maria O. Russell

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