Discovering Montmartre - Part 2

Outings | History and heritage
Montmartre par Esprit de France
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Let’s continue our walk through Montmartre !

We are now near the Place du Tertre, the old center of the Montmartre village, which is today invaded by tourists and painters eager to draw your caricature. We’ll take the nearby Rue du Mont Cenis before turning onto Cortot Street. At No. 6, a small house sheltered the famous composer Erik Satie who fell in love with the artist Suzanne Valadon whose workshop, No 12, is now part of the Montmartre Museum. In addition to the studios of Valadon and her son, the painter Utrillo, the museum includes several buildings that housed, among others, Renoir when he painted Le Moulin de la Galette and La Balançoire. Its pretty garden is home to a charming café and overlooks a vineyard that is celebrated every year at harvest time. Further down, Rue des Saules (willows), we will walk by a famous pink house immortalized by Utrillo, before seeing the Lapin Agile Cabaret, a highlight of the bohemian Montmartre. This place owes its name to one of its facades representing a happy rabbit and Picasso, Apollinaire as much as Utrillo used to come here. Walking back onto Rue Girardon -the writer Louis-Ferdinand Céline lived at No. 4 on this street- up to Marcel Aymé Square, we discover a bronze figure, an arm and a leg forward, apparently trying to cross the wall that bounds the square. This happens to be The Passer-through-walls, the hero of the novel written by Marcel Aymé: his power has deserted him and he remains prisoner of the wall forever. We can now continue on a wider and more recent street, Avenue Junot. At number 13, an opulent house, with mosaic portraits on the top of the facade, belonged to Poulbot, the famous draftsman whose name today refers to the miserable but joyful kids he has represented all his life with a lot of wit. Just next to his house, stands the home of one of the major protagonists of the Dada movement, Tristan Tzara; its architect, Adolf Loos, is also famous because he took part in the Viennese Secession around 1900.

Dalida Montmartre par Esprit de FranceWe are now near Dalida Square where you can admire a bronze bust of the singer a few meters from Rue Orchampt where she lived and died in 1987. And also close to the top of Rue Lepic we encounter the true Moulin de la Galette immortalized by Renoir. The famous Guinguette actually had two mills close to each other that date back to the 17th century and still in working condition, a wonderful surprise in these lively streets! We are not far now from Place Emile Goudeau where the famous workshops of the Bateau Lavoir are located. This is where Picasso settled when he arrived in Paris at the age of 19 and made his “blue” paintings and his first cubist works! And last but not least, a little further down the hill, we find ourselves in Place des Abbesses with St. John’s church that is something of an architectural feat: built before 1900, it combines 25-meter-high reinforced concrete and art nouveau ceramics! Thus ends our tour of the Montmartre hill and its streets steeped in history.