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

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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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. 

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

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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.

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References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_districts  Paris Districts

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montmartre Montmartre

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Bateau-Lavoir Le Bateau-Lavoir

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guinguette
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20 comments:

  1. Most of the cities I've been to have been visited due to work, so a local restaurant is often all I could muster from the angle of tourism.

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    1. That's work for you, Rick, but at least that might give you an inkling of what cities you might like to visit.

      I've flown into O'Hare airport in Chicago, but never have had time to look around. It would have been nice to hear some Chicago Blues.

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  2. dreamy pictures, like almost glimpses into the past. I love old cities and I do what it looks like you've done: take lots of pictures!

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    1. Thanks for visiting, mshatch, and I'm glad you like the photos. Nice to meet another person who captures the memories in images!

      Montmartre is like that - it still retains some of its past (as does Paris).

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  3. Wonderful post! When I visit a place, I want to get a sense of its history. But I don't rule out a pub or ballpark :-)

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    1. That sums it up for us, too. You have to sample a bit of this and that. We tried German beer in a famous Latin Quarter Restaurant where Voltaire hung out.

      Glad you liked the post, thanks for visiting.

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  4. Great tour of Montmartre! I love the area, but the last time I was there was a loooong time ago. Still, I read a lot about art, and the area comes up either in descriptions or in paintings. It's such a beautiful place.

    When I travel, I like to walk. I seldom do guided tours, unless the guide comes very highly recommended (I've caught a few guides in blatant lies, haha). Mostly it's the Lonely Planet and I, and I love to interact with locals, get recommendations from them on where to eat and what to do. I love photography, too, so usually I take a lot longer to "visit" somewhere. I'm also a big church and museum fan.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog yesterday and for your comment!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Guilie!

      We were very lucky in that the guy who did our Montmartre tour was excellent. He was very well informed and was an American in Paris, with a French girlfriend. The only other tour we booked with a guide was Monet's Garden and Versailles.

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  5. i love to go on the unbeaten path so to speak

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    1. We did that too, for the Latin Quarter, the Louvre and Bastille districts.

      We had maps with the local streets, and a great one for our neighborhood from the apt. rental agency we dealt with.

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  6. A tour definitely sounds like the best way to see that area. Great photos!

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    1. Glad you liked them Alex, and thanks for stopping by!

      We booked a tour to get the feel of the area, and walking tours are very reasonable.

      Our tour guide was from St. Louis, USA, but fell in love in Paris with a French girl and stayed. The kind of story you expect to hear in Paris.

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  7. I really enjoyed this post. I've been to Paris several times, and it always amazes. This post takes me back...

    If you've the time, stop at my blog. I'm the award winning author of the Bella and Britt series for kids.

    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks, Nancy, it takes me back too!

      I'll definitely stop by your blog, and I appreciate you dropping by here.

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  8. Would you believe I never made it to Paris while I lived in Sweden? Your lovely posts covering the letters L and M being the first two places I would have visited. Thanks for following me as I will sign up right now to follow your blog. It is very nice to meet you.

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    1. Thanks, Inger, for visiting and following. Nice to meet you too!

      Glad you enjoyed the posts. I'll be dropping by to check out more of yours.

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  9. I am preparing to visit another city which I have never known before -- and which is quite different from my home -- very soon. I'm not sure how I will handle acquainting myself with the various aspects but this post has truly broadened my thinking.

    Thank you!

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    1. Glad to hear that, Suze. Good luck with your trip. Hopefully you're going to a risk free area.

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  10. Hi DG .. different cities different takes - sadly sometimes one flies in and flies out - that's the way life is. I enjoyed taking the tube in Milan .. and visiting the artists' quarters - I think I'd probably do what you did - some small tours (hate lots of people) and some wandering ..

    In England .. I think I'd visit and then go back to see special places and take more time .. it's getting a feel for the place and area - I do like to see around ..

    Would love to go back to Paris sometime - you've definitely whetted my appetite .. cheers Hilary

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  11. HI, I loved this post on Montmartre, and I mentioned it on my recent M blog post. Got your note about the typo. Thanks. Fixed it.
    Paris is so beautiful, and you capture it well. Looking forward to future posts.

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