My front door
I'm getting very far behind on the travelogue. We've been all over the city trying to cover as much as possible before Alix has to leave next week. But first I'm going to review the neighborhood - Montmartre. This first picture is of my front door on the left. I'm staying in a complex of buildings, built around several gardens, in 1774. The picture above is the entrance to the complex. And here's the view from the front door of the building.
View from the front door of the building
A block down the hill is this statue of the author Ayme (never heard of him) who lived on the corner.
Alix with Ayme
And we're within sight of Sacre Coeur. The plaza and steps in front are a virtual festival at night. We could buy little replicas of flashing Eiffel Towers at every turn, if we wanted to. Might be fun if one would fit in my luggage. I'm sure my living room needs a flashing Eiffel Tower!
More Sacre Coeur
Of course, this was the area with all the artists. We're around the corner from the Lapin Agile, the pink and green cabaret you might recognize from a painting by Pissarro. The cabarets are still open, but cost too much for us.
Lapin Agile - cabaret founded in 1860
And here's where Vincent and Theo Van Gogh lived - we're going to try to make it through the crowds to see the Impressionists at the Musee d'Orsay today.
Vincent and Theo van Gogh lived here - Rue Lepic
What we really enjoy is the people-watching at the cafes. This is right next to the Bateau-Lavoir, where Picasso, Braque, etc. came up with Cubism. Maybe they were inspired by this guy.
Cafe life in Montmartre
Since we're on the top of a hill - with the Metro down below in a couple of directions - we've been doing a lot of climbing. I came here with sore arthritic knees and am not sure whether I am building them up or destroying them. But I'm doing a lot more with them than I thought I could. But being up here affords some beautiful views.
About five steps from the front door
Yes, it's blurry
On our second night, we stopped at a little piano bar within sight of our front door because we were attracted by the music. I had a crepe with lemon and sugar, which took me right back to being eleven and going to school in London. The pancake with lemon and sugar was the best dessert the dining room served and this one was pretty spot on. Imagine comparing French food to English food! There were some young men sitting at the table next to us and one of them asked Alix if he could have a bite of the baguette (for breakfast next morning) she was carrying. In return, they bought us some wine.
The piano bar and creperie
There were two guys from Paris, one from Spain, and one from the Ivory Coast - I'd guess they were in their early 30s. Only the guy from Spain spoke any English. Alix spent most of the time talking with the Spaniard - he was very cute. He's a skydiver and was planning a trip to Las Vagas! to go skydiving. Alix told him that he had to go to Fire Canyon to see some of the real beauty of the area. I spent most of my time talking to one of the Frenchmen (an anarchist) and the guy from the Ivory Coast. We talked politics - in French, with me mostly listening, but doing some halting talking as well. We talked about how they like Americans, but think the US is an international bully. We discussed slavery and I told them that my ancestors bought slaves from the first slave ship in 1619. The African grabbed my arm and put it up next to his and told me that we are all the same under the skin. Of course. We had a great time and closed the place down - actually they let us hang around even later. The guys asked us to go somewhere else with them - I think I may have had to strong arm Alix about that - she did have her eye on that cute Spaniard. Right after we closed the door of our apartment complex behind us, we heard banging on the door. It was the guy from the Ivory Coast yelling "Californie! Californie!" at one in the morning.
The next night we went to a fun little tourist trap fondue restaurant where they serve the wine in baby bottles and make you climb over the tables to get into your seat.
Not my favorite way to drink wine
Alix got to climb over the table - I'd probably have broken it - and I sat on the outside row. We did enjoy our fondue, which came with an aperitif, some amuses guelles (I think I've misspelled that), and the "bottle"of wine.
Alix enjoying fondue
We sat next to some young women from Spain. One was in Paris for her Ph.D. in astrophysics! The restaurant walls were covered with graffiti and money people had stapled to the walls. We were sitting next to a dollar bill on which some bimbo had written "I have big boobs!" Very classy.
The fondue restaurant
And then it rained and here is the slate roof across the garden in the rain.
The building across the garden in the rain