Saturday, April 14, 2012

M = Montmartre, Paris - A to Z Blog Challenge

 Many artists lived here. . .

Bateau Lavoir, Our Montmartre guide in blue, by DG Hudson

Montmartre lures us with hints of the past.  The village atmosphere of some of the streets recalls the late 1800s when Montmartre was the haven of artists and others who couldn't afford to live in the city center.  This historically rich area been used as the setting in several hit films. (La vie en rose, Amélie, Moulin Rouge-1954 and 2001)

Many famous artists had studios here or worked around the community of Montmartre.  The list contains the elite of modern art: Salvador Dali, Amadeo Modigliani, Claude Monet, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh.  Some of them worked and slept in shifts at the Bateau Lavoir, an artists' studio.

Le Bateau Lavoir, Montmartre, Paris - by DG Hudson

Le Bateau-Lavoir is a name which French painter Max Jacob coined for an area at the top of the steps leading to No. 13 Rue Ravignan, in Montmartre, Paris (Place Emile Goudeau). In the mid-19th century, artists such as Johan Jongkind and Camille Pissarro came to live in Montmartre.  Other artists started to settle at the Bateau-Lavoir in the 1890s, but after 1914 (the outbreak of WWI) most of them relocated to Montparnasse.


The Moulin Rouge, Paris - DG Hudson Collection

The Moulin Rouge is all that remains of the many saloons and dance-halls that once lined the north side of the boulevard, but today it has a different look.  A walking tour with an English speaking guide is a great investment and fairly reasonable.  It makes sense in some areas to join one of these small tours to avoid getting lost among winding streets.

La Moulin de la Galette

Moulin de la Galette, Montmartre Windmill, Paris  by DG Hudson

The Moulin de la Galette is the only windmill in working order in Montmartre. Once a famous tavern was here, but that part belongs to a private property now and is  inaccessible to the public. In the 19th century, Le Moulin de la Galette represented diversion for Parisians seeking entertainment, a glass of wine, and bread made from flour ground by the windmill.  It was cheaper there too, being outside the city limits.

Artists, such as Renoir, van Gogh, and Pissarro have immortalized Le Moulin de la Galette in their works.


Guinguettes were popular drinking establishments located in the suburbs of Paris and other cities in France. Guinguettes would serve as restaurants and often, as dance venues. They were especially popular on Sundays and holidays, when Parisians would visit to enjoy themselves and to get drunk cheaply. Today, the term 'guingette' is still used for a waterside refreshment place, particularly open-air, in France.


Sacré-Cœur Basilica

Sacré-Cœur, Montmartre, Paris - by DG Hudson

At the top of the hill is Sacré-Cœur, one of the sights we had climbed the hill to see, along with the view of Paris spread out at your feet.  The tour ends at the church, leaving the tour group to find their own way back via the stairs at both sides. 


DG's Theme:  Paris, Etc. (Art, Film, Places, and People)


What do you visit when you go to another city? 
Monuments? Cathedrals? Theme parks? Literary spots? Sports venues? Pubs? Or, do you check out the local neighborhoods?  Please share in the comments.


References:  Paris Districts Montmartre Le Bateau-Lavoir