montmartre

a nice leisurely saturday, crisp and sunny, just how we like it. a couple of metro rides to get to montmartre from home but more enjoyable as there is no rush hour today. a lot of places close on the weekends, some on saturday and sunday, others on sunday monday and still others on monday tuesday. makes it tough sometimes figuring out what will be open. there is also a large jewish community which means another group of stores are closed on saturdays but open all other days. i guess it sort of spreads the number of people commuting to a more manageable 3 million a day on the metro system (that’s for you trivia buffs).

we started out the walk from the anvers metro station up through a throng of tourist shops flogging all the junk you never want to really own. the next gauntlet was a throng of black guys selling string bracelets. they were good at cornering the hapless tourist who soon had a string around the wrist before they knew what had happened. at this point the only option is to pay up! rick and i seem to be pretty immune to this, it’s either our size or we’ve gained that parisienne “piss off jack” look that sez you’re a local. we fully intended to take the funicular up to the sacre cour but we somehow ended up doing the stairs, and lots of them, but the day was too nice to get crammed in with all the other tourists going to the top of montmartre.

rick was the guide on this one with a mapped route of all the spots to see and artist residents who’ve lived in the village. it’s hard to imagine today that this was once the countryside, outside of the paris city limits. there is still a remnant of it with a small vineyard still producing grapes on the hillside and an old windmill that was used to press them.

we did a lot of up and down hills on cobbled streets past the places where van gogh, picasso, dali, utrillo and renoir, the composer erik satie’s house and of course toulouse-lautrec’s pad. you can see why it was popular with the artists. i tried to reproduce the scene by utrillo in a photo – have a look and see if you can place it, i tried to find the original but no luck.

afterwards, we descended down rue lepic (do it if you get the chance, better than rue cler any day) toward the sinful end of town…the moulin rouge and then on to pigalle. passing way too many sex shops and the like, including hookers..it’s a pretty tough neighbourhood not one i’d feel comfortable strolling through at night.

frank, my coworker will be happy to know that it was such a sleazy neighbourhood that the only appropriate placce to eat was McD’s…yes, there are pictures to prove it!

end of day, rick is really under the weather with a bad cold and i’m feeling like i’m next..damn!

yes, i can cook. i’m doing up a full three course meal tonight. shopping at all the little specialty stores was fun and sort of carries you along once you’ve chosen what the main course is going to be…and wine of course.

bon soir.

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