The bustling 18th arr. of Paris promised a more local experience than the usual centre so we boarded close to its iconic hilltop as a (rare) unanimous choice of neighbourhood for our week's stay in Paris. We were due for a break from hops between towns, exploring the intricate streets of this artists' enclave sounded both leisurely and exciting.
Montmartre (pronounced "mo-ma" put simply) was exactly what we pictured old Paris to be and delightfully different from the image I had from my teens; urbane but populated and forgettable.
A few interesting facts worth mentioning about Montmartre:
- There is special place in the heart of Montmartre for Louise Michel, a central figure in the fourth french revolution (Paris Commune of 1871). Respect for women anarchists.
- Remember the cult french movie Amelie?That's the cafe where she worked. Average food though!.
- If you're into science fiction, here's an original story by French writer Marcel Ayme of a man named Dutilleul who could walk through walls. Until he took the wrong medicines that led to the poor guy's current situation.
- Shell games are still rampant on the streets of Montmartre with by-passers lured in to double their money. All betting are part of the act and the real trick is played by the pickpockets lurking around!
- Almost two-thirds of the glamour girls that cancan their heart out at the Moulin Rouge are Australians. No photos allowed in this house.
Now for our many days of walking in this marvel neighbourhood's charming streets.