Saturday, January 21, 2012

Montmartre ~ Place du Tertre ~ Paris ~ France

We are loving our time in Paris and eager to see as much as possible in our four days in Paris, France.  We have enjoyed the mode of transport on the double decker tour buses and how easy we can get from one area to another.  Today we have chosen to visit Montmartre, a designated historic district north of downtown Paris

The Moulin Rouge in Paris, France
The Moulin Rouge, opened in 1889 is the legendary cabaret that still has shows with the beautiful dancers dressed in feathers and sequins dancing the cancan.  Many famous American artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Elton John have performed here following in the footsteps of many world renowned French artists of the earlier days. To learn more about the theater and restaurant, click here.

The streets of Montmartre in Paris, France
The narrow shop-lined streets are very common in Paris where there is only foot traffic and with the crowds felt like a traffic jam.  The popularity of the area is a great draw for tourists and locals on any given day of the week.
Street entertainment 
This appears to be street gambling to see if you can beat the fast hand of the dealer and we saw many of these in Paris.  They work in teams and the one putting the money down to try to win is actually a friend of the dealer but it fools many tourists who might think they will win, too.  Consider it entertainment but not worth participating in unless you want to lose your money.

Place du Tertre in Montmartre, France
 The square at the top of Montmartre was once the gathering place of now famous painters, poets and composers of the 19th century.  The tree covered area also has cafés and restaurants lining the street that make a great place to spend a sunny afternoon in Paris.

Artists at work in Place du Tertre
This square is still where many artists set up to work and sell their paintings these days.  We also listened to some very talented street musicians playing for tips while we spent some time enjoying the artsy atmosphere. I’m sure it isn’t the same as it was during days gone by but it is fun to imagine sitting with those artists and philosophers trading their stories as they sat on these streets of Montmartre all those years ago.

Galleries and souvenirs in Montmartre, Paris, France
This street at the top of Montmartre is a very short distance from Basilica du Sacre-Coeur, whose dome is the highest point in the city.  The art galleries selling French art and souvenirs line the streets leading to the Place du Tertre, where the artists gathered.

Montmartre tourbus passes the cafe
We just had to have lunch at a French café in Montmartre to really enjoy our visit to the district.  The tables and chairs sit out on the narrow street which saw freight carrying trucks practically brush our shoulders on their way by.  The Montmartre tour bus, a small train like vehicle is used to take tourists for a tour of the area and for those not wishing to climb all the stairs to get to the top.

Montmartre Funicular
The Montmartre Funicular, originally built in 1900 is there for those who prefer not to walk up the many stairways of 300 steps or more to the top.  Some steps are required to use to get to the funicular, which was rebuilt in 1996 is part of the bus system and costs a minimal price for the ride.  Over 2 million people use this funicular every year, more people riding up than down.

We also spent time visiting the Basilica Sacre-Coeur during our visit to Montmartre, the interior was a sight never to be forgotten.

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