Thursday, April 04, 2013

Birthday Man meets Montmartre

   This past Sunday was my husband's birthday. Yes, his birthday fell on the best day possible: Easter Sunday!  (Thank you, Lord, for your gift of salvation!) And, because we also wanted to celebrate Easter in France, we decided to celebrate a little early. So his actual gift from me was on Saturday.

   I had us go on a very nice tour of Montmartre in Paris with a guide/actress from Australia through Sight Seekers Delight. We had, as our guide, Hanna.  She was amazing; Funny, insightful, and poignant. I highly recommend doing this if you get a chance. Mr. K was so pleased with it. Here is a glimpse into the beauty and wonder of the day.

Our tour started here, Place Blanche in front of the Moulin Rouge.
This is an actual photo I took of that day, not a postcard. It's just that cool.
 We got there a little early so I got a small mocha at the Starbucks and we sat outside gazing across the plaza in the frigid cold. France gets pretty chilly in the early morning hours, or up on a hillside.
Say, who is that dapper man sitting in front of Starbucks like it was his
birthday or something? Oh yeah, that's my man!
We had just about had enough of the cold and my mocha was finished, so we got up to look for our guide. I was talking to Mr. K, saying that I didn't know how we would find our guide, but maybe the person would have a sign, when, she walked right up to us! It was great! She was so nice and friendly and her Australian accent was so cool (I love accents, by the by). We were then joined by four other people: a mom with two teenage kids and a woman travelling alone.

Off we went! Up a hill and voila, a very famous café! 
Amélie Poulain's café
 I liked the movie Amélie. They just recently showed it on French TV. No subtitles because it's in its native language, French. It was a good excercise in comprehension.
I couldn't resist this beautiful flourist shop:

You can almost smell the roses.
Continuing on, we happened across a lovely building:
We don't know what building this was, but it was so cool with the teal bricks!
Monmartre was home to the many artists that we know and love today: Van Gogh, Renoir, Cezanne, Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, etc. In the past it was the countryside of Paris; but now, it's one of the places with the highest rent. Poor artists have no chance here today, or so we were told.

Because of the artists that stayed here, some places are singled out as hits to see. We came across Van Gogh's room where he stayed with his brother, for a time:

The door
Where you see sunflowers, that was Van Gogh's room

Moulin de la Galette from afar, where artists hung out
partied up until the 30s

Turning a street, we were introduced to the artist hotel, where many would share a room and an attic. One person would sleep in the room while the other would work in the attic and then they would switch. Saves on rent, n'est-ce pas?

 We continued our walk and were told delightful stories about two statues in bronze, where it's good luck to shake hands with the man from Le Passe-Muraille by Aymé and Dalida, where it's good luck to, er, well, we'll let the other slide for now.

This lady is Dalida, a great singer of
disco to the French
Good luck handshake.

Continuing on, we passed the house that Utrillo did a lithograph of, the Pink House:

Turned to look up the street and wow, what a sight!
Sacre Cœur is in the distance!
But first the Lapin Agile, a popular pub of the artists back in the day, where they could get something to eat by giving a piece of work as pay.

 By the way, did you know that Montmartre has a vineyard? Yep.  It sure does. They make a Beaujolais red  wine every year. Fun factoid.

So French!
And now, the moment you all have been waiting for. *enter fanfare sound here*

The Sacre-Cœur!
Absolutely magnificent, isn't it?
 And some vintage type photos too, because it just told me to do so.


 So pretty, and we got a chance to go inside. Wow. The ceiling is absolutely stunning.  Unfortunately, it's forbidden to use a camera or phone inside to take photos, so there is no proof of what I say other than my good name. Trust me on this one. See it!

We tore ourselves away from the majesty of this monument and found our way to Place de Tertre, or now known as the Artist's Square:
You can just feel the energy here
This was such a treat to see. Everyone was selling their art here. We wished at this moment that we could afford a piece of art to hang in our apartment, but alas, we will have to content ourselves with the memory of the lovely canvases.

Descending down the hill, we made our last and final stop at Le Mur Des Je T'Aime, or the I Love You Wall. Created as a monument to love, it is a meeting place of lovers in Paris.

There are more than 250 languages to say "I love you" here.

"Love is disorderly, so let's love!"
 And thus ended our tour. I say it was lovely.
Mr K, me, and the guide
It did not, however end the day. Taking the metro we left for Montparnasse to find a crêperie.
Also featured in "Amélie"
And the road of all crêperies in Montparnasse is, none other than, Rue Montparnasse:

See that little orange sign on the right, there?

That's our new little crêperie that we like! So good, excellent price, and the best Celtic Kirs around (made with cider and cassis and raspberry).  The crêpes are delish and we even got a fidelity card. We will most definitely come back.

We returned home shortly afterward and had fondu and cake. (by the by, a framboisier is great!)
So ended a great birthday out for Mr. K. 

Happy 29th, dear one!
Thanks for reading!


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