Subject: Re: Re: Paris questions from new member
Hi Amy,

>Amy, go to see Sacre Coeur for a great view of Paris. I concur with both Rosemary and Elaine, the view from the top is wonderful, especially on a clear day. Unfortunately the usual tourist rubbish is being hawked at the base of the steps, spoiling the view somewhat. Even though it is very touristy, the montmartre is a very colourful area.

I have taken the liberty of including an extract from our 1999 trip through the south of France.

Day 36 Unfortunately another one of those overcast days. Today we thought that we might go and have a look at the Montmartre district. We arrived in Montmartre and walked up the hill on rue de Steinkerque passed all the souvenir shops to the grassy area below the Sacre-Coeur(Sacred Heart) church. Sacre Coeur, with its onion shaped domes and incredibly white facade, looked reasonably old but in fact was built during the 19th century. We had a cup of coffee before we climbed the stairs which led to the church. At the base of the church we got some great panoramic shots of Paris. There were several artists who dressed up and sometimes painted there faces, then stood very still like statues. Some of them resembled something or someone, like Charlie Chaplin or the Statue of Liberty. We thought that they were very good, especially the lady all dressed in white, her face was painted white also. She was trying to be a statue and only moved when someone placed money in the tin. There also was a trio playing South American type music plus a guy in a wheelchair putting together very nice key rings. After getting some photos of Sacre Coeur we headed for the Place du Tertre. This square was filled with cafes, souvenir shops and artists. We had no sooner arrived there when both of us were pounced upon by two artists who wanted to cut out a silhouette of our heads. I repeatedly refused but Rachel had hers done. The woman kept chasing me about insisting that I had mine done. I had to be rude in the finish. The man wanted 150ff for the finished article, but Rachel offered 50ff. He did not look too pleased but he had to accept, because it was no good to anyone else. Actually it was done very well. We continued on down the hill, passed the supposedly last vineyard grown in Paris today, and at 22 rue des Saules was the Lapin Agile Caberet. The faded poster above the door gave the place its name. A rabbit(Lapin) made an agile leap into a pot while holding a bottle of wine.This quaint little cottage, inside the green and yellow picket fence, used to be the haunt of artists and writers, like Picasso. Inside they would have recited poetry, dirty limericks and had sing-alongs. (In 1860 it was a notorious dance hall called Au rendez-vous des voleurs(thieves' meeting place), it was then renamed Cabaret des Assassins (murderers' cabaret). Later it was purchased by a former cancan dancer and renamed Ma Campagne (my country). In 1903 it was again sold and managed by one Frederic Gerard and renamed yet again Le pere Frede. It was during this period that a cartoonist painted the rabbit sign above the door, that gave this establishment its new name.

We carried on past Picasso's studio where once as many as 10 artists lived and worked.(The original studio was burnt down in 1970). At the corner of rue d'Orchampt and rue Lepic we came upon a windmill. (It certainly wasn't anything like the windmills we had seen on a previous trip to Holland). It was made up of a long single blade, much like an antenna of a TV ariel. (I could not see how the wind would be able to turn the mill, but there used to a lot of them around this district, so they must have worked). Rue Lepic wound its way down past #54 which was, for two years, the home of Vincent Van Gogh and his brother. Down the hill a little further, at #30, was the horse butcher. Above this shop were pictures of happy looking horses on price stickers. (Rachel and I found this rather ironic) Rue Lepic continued downhill until it reached place Blanche, where everything changed rather dramatically. This was the Pigalle district, where the sex industry of Paris had its headquarters. (The Americans, during the second world war nicknamed this district Pig Alley) On the corner stood the Moulin Rouge. It had a windmill built on the roof and was painted bright red. This was the haunt of people like the artist, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. I had red, guide books, and articles written on web sites, that Montmartre, was too touristy and tacky to visit and to give it a miss. Well Rachel and I disagree, while it is touristy, to be sure, there was still plenty to see and do that interested us both. It must have because we spent a full day there.

Amy I missed your original message, because of computer problems, if I can be of any further assistance please let me know.

Regards, Richard Bloomfield.(New Zealand)