Sunday, September 22, 2013

Making our way up the hill of Montmartre

Up the hill or "butte" of Montmartre - curving, pretty streets, lots of small shops with every kind of food for sale. A view up the hill 

and a view down the hill of Montmartre, which means hill of martyrs  - including the most famous, St Denis, first bishop of Paris who was beheaded for his faith here in 250 AD. The legend says he then walked six miles carrying his head, preaching a sermon the whole way. 

We visited a garden with a statue of St Denis - holding his head....

Judy and I had to post for a lot of pictures for Kevin but I kind of like this one
And Judy made sure we got at least one picture of Kevin doing what he does... that's him in the distance taking our picture.... but we'll get more of him later, I promised!
There are lots and lots of smart cars in Paris - this one caught my eye.

Another interesting attraction... which has obviously been lovely touched many times. Of course Bill and Kevin had to get a posed picture with the statue but I left that one out...

First view of the goal - Sacre Coeur up on the top of the hill

But first some more of the picturesque buildings along the way - love the first shot because it is one of the few without a lot of people. I always like to try to imagine this area in a much earlier time...
 I really liked this one - but can't remember if it had some significance

then noticed the stone sundial on it with the words meaning "when you ring, I sing"

I found a description of this sundial and interesting remarks on keeping time.
"A whimsical blue chicken on a sundial at 4, rue de l'Abreuvoir in Montmartre clucks, ''Quand tu sonneras, je chanteray'' -- ''When you ring, I sing,'' a humorous reference to the time when chickens were alarm clocks. Sundials ask us to contemplate, not only time and its passage, but also when and why humans began to divide time into hours, a development that was not, at first, universally embraced, as the Roman comic playwright Plautus (circa 200 B.C.) made clear, condemning the man who set up a sundial in the marketplace 'to cut and hack my day so wretchedly into small pieces.' ''     Maybe that's why I never wear a watch.

Lots of smart cars but quite a few other interesting cars also. 

Though most tourists pass by the Clos Montmartre vineyard unawares, in October, attention is drawn to this little patch of viniculture for an annual five-day grape harvest festival, the Fête des Vendanges. Some time I hope to plan a trip to be there for the Fête des Vendanges - but we did at least walk by the vineyard. If we had known, maybe we could have arranged a tour and wine tasting - but left for another time. There have been vineyards on Montmartre since Roman times but only this one is left. 

Nearby we saw a famous old cabaret - Lapin Agile.  It was originally called "Cabaret des Assassins". Tradition relates that the cabaret received this name because a band of assassins broke in and killed the owner's son. The cabaret was more than twenty years old when, in 1875, the artist Andre Gill painted the sign that was to suggest its permanent name. It was a picture of a rabbit jumping out of a saucepan, and residents began calling their neighborhood night-club "Le Lapin à Gill", meaning "Gill's rabbit".
Over time the name evolved into "Cabaret Au Lapin Agile", or, the Nimble Rabbit Cabaret. At the turn of the twentieth century, the Lapin Agile was a favorite spot for struggling artists and writers, including Picasso, Modigliani, Apollinaire, and Utrillo. Au Lapin Agile also was popular with questionable Montmartre characters including pimps, eccentrics, simple down-and-outers, a contingent of local anarchists, as well as with students from the Latin Quarter, all mixed with a sprinkling of well-heeled bourgeois out on a lark.
Pablo Picasso's 1905 oil painting "At the Lapin Agile" helped to make this cabaret world famous.
Somewhere to come next time - it was not open when we were there. 

a picture from the 1880's 

and Picasso's picture although it does not show the cabaret it was titled "at the Lapin Agile"

One last stop before Sacre Coeur - a small botanical garden where I'm quite sure we were the only tourists visiting. There were a few people sitting enjoying the garden on the hill and I think they wondered at us walking through taking pictures. 

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