“From the dawn of time Montmartre has been a place of worship : from the Druids of ancient Gaul, through the Romans with their temples dedicated to Mars and Mercury, to the Church of Saint Peter, the oldest in Paris, rebuilt in the 12th century next to the Royal Abbey of Montmartre by Louis VI and his wife Adélaïde de Savoie… Finally, the Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur, erected at the end of the 19th century. Today, this shrine of prayer remains faithful to its tradition: God is well and truly present!” (Retrieved from Montmartre, the “Mount of Martyrs”)
Today was another pleasant Spring day in Paris. After our usual breakfast stop for savory café and fresh French pastries, Miss Cyd and I walked over to the Odeon station and took the Metro to the Abbesses station on the #4 and #12 lines so I could see the Basilique du Sacré Coeur de Montmartre. It is a bit of a hike from the station up to where the basilica sits magnificently atop the hill, but we took the Funicular up part of the way, so that saved a few sets of stairs, although we walked back down. The view of Paris to the South from the top was very good today and I got a shot of the Eiffel Tower over the Funicular station framed between the trees and buildings that lined the hill just below the Basilica.
After our examination of the hilltop, we strolled around Montmartre. We stopped in at L’Eglise de Saint-Jean back down by the Abbesses Metro station and caught a 4-Hand piano recital. The pianists were very good and were playing classical music on an old upright piano that has seen its better days and would have fit in any bar around the world. Miss Cyd said, “That was probably the most elegant music that has ever been played on that piano.” It was very nice, so we sat, relaxed, and enjoyed the entire concert.
Cyd talked with them afterwards and found they play all over France in some very notable venues, but like many dedicated musicians, they like to play in churches to help raise donation funds for impoverished parishes. It was a serendipitous moment in our trip and reminiscent of the violin/piano concert we caught at the church in Oxford last month.
Speaking of music in churches, we are enjoying a lazy day en atelier today, but are going to walk back over to Saint Sulpice this afternoon to catch an organ recital at 4 pm. We are looking forward to that event. We are planning to take a picnic lunch to the Jardin du Luxembourg and enjoy the afternoon in the gardens before the concert.
We enjoyed our day in Montmartre and had a very pleasant meal at the Tapas Nocturne with a carafe of Sangria to wash it all down. After lunch, we strolled around looking at the shops, checking out the offerings at the boulangeries and charcuteries, as well as the fruit a
nd vegetable shops that are located all along the rue d’Abesses. We are thinking about renting a flat in Montmartre the next time we come back to Paris. It has a slower pace and more of a French village feel up on top, but of course, but the time you walk down the hill to catch the #12 line at the Pigalle station, you can quickly be back in the fervent life of metropolitan Paris.
The religious nuance of Montmartre cited above flies a bit in the face of today’s wave of cabarets, adult stores, etc. that line the Boulevard de Clichy where the world-famous Moulin Rouge resides. We thought about taking in the show, but the Saturday night show was already sold out and we didn’t feel like hanging around to catch the late show. So we settled for taking some pictures and enjoyed a cold Kilkenny at Sullivan’s Pub next door to the Moulin Rouge before heading back to our flat in St. Germaine des Pres.
Ok, Miss Cyd is busy working on another one of her excellent watercolor paintings of the Moulin Rouge and I need to finish up the final details on the Pont de l’Archevêché painting before we head out on our picnic to Luxembourg Gardens, so I better quit writing on the blog, post it up for your enjoyment and entertainment, and audaciously seize the day with my liner brush to wrap that painting up so I can move on to others. I think I will get up early tomorrow morning and walk down to the river for at least one more plein air session by the Pont de la Tournelle, but I really want to visit the Louvre and the Museé d’Orsay while we are here, so we are planning those visits for Tuesday and Wednesday, as our sojourn in Paris winds inexorably down.
Time really does fly when you are having fun. This whole trip has been a whirlwind of painting, sketching, sight-seeing, and lots of fine wining and dining, but our Europe 2015 adventure has all been very enjoyable. We have plenty of photos and other material to remember pleasurably, work with en atelier, and continue to enjoy for years to come. We hope you are also enjoying following along with our adventures here in the blog. If so, please feel free to leave a comment.
Joe and Cyd