Monday, January 13, 2014

A Paris Walk through Toulouse-Lautrec's Paris: Montmartre

Today we decided to take one of the walks in our book entitled "Forever Paris":  Toulouse-Lautrec's Paris that takes us around the neighborhood of Montmartre.  We've been there many times, including this trip but today we were searching for specific addresses on buildings.

We started our trek at three o'clock as we headed for our trusty Metro Station and with only a few changes we were  at the Pigalle Metro Station at the foot of the Montmartre Hill.  We walked about six blocks discovering the four apartments where Toulous lived and also a chocolate shop by the name of L'Etoile d'Or that has the very best chocolates in Paris per the book.   This was at #30 rue Pierre Fontaine.  Degas also lived in this apartment.

Our second site was the Moulin Rouge.  Been there done that but generally at night.  I was amazed at the long line of people standing in line to purchase tickets.  You couldn't pay me to go there, but it's always fun to see from the outside.   This was the favorite haunt of our artist and was the inspiration for one of his most famous posters featuring the dancer La Goulue.

A short walk towards the Montmartre Cemetery took us to the building where he spent twelve years on the fifth floor.  It has huge glass windows all along that floor making a perfect studio for him.  This is located at # 7 rue Tourlaque.  Back up the hill we continued our trip slowly up the famous rue Lepic that runs from the bottom of the hill all the way up to the top and into the artist area that is surrounded by restaurants.

Along the way we passed the old wooden windmill that stands at the top of the hill and then nearby the famous one that is surrounded by the restaurant Moulin de la Galette, a dancing hall during Toulous' day as well as a restaurant.   Soon we were at the top and enjoying the artists trying
to entice tourist to pose for a drawing.  One stopped Jim two different times and tried to talk him into a pastel drawing.  They love his beard!   One of my favorite restaurants here in the square is La Maison Catherine and the one that I always have Onion Soup at when I have the opportunity.  Today I learned that this is one of the oldest and the one that fed many of the starving artists over the years.

Around the bend and down the hill a bit on the back side we found the Montmartre Museum at # 12 Cartot.  At first we thought it might be closed as there was extensive repairs on the building next door but the garden gate was open.  So happy as it started to rain just as we arrived!

We learned that this is the oldest house on the hill.  It had fabulous views over the northwest part of Paris and today I was lucky to see a rainbow when the rain stopped.  The collection was extensive; lesser known artists but very interesting.  And, extensive amount of photos and information from the years of the Impressionistic Artists.

There was a large model of the Montmartre Hill with pins showing where all of the various artists lived.  There were two buildings that had multiple pins:  the museum and Bateau Lavoir.

Both Monet and Renior stayed in this house at various times while they were painting on the hill.  A favorite of ours was painted in the garden with a swing.   By the time we left the rain had stopped and we enjoyed the gardens before leaving this moment in history.

Back around the hill, we stopped to enjoy a silver painted mimic who danced a jig for me after we gave him a euro.  Then a quick look at Sacre Couer basilica before climbing on the Funiculaire for the trip down the hill.  We were two of four in the car; I've never seen it this empty before!

Jim window shopped all the way down the long block that is full of shops.  No bargains for what he wanted so we managed to arrive at the Anvers Metro Station without extra parcels.   When we got on the train it was packed solid...sardine can time...but by the time we were half way home it had thinned out and we both had seats.

A quick stop at the grocery store and we were home by five o'clock.  A lovely day and an even nicer evening.  I hope you enjoy the slideshow: 

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