If there is one image of Paris that people know other than the Eiffel Tower, it is the narrow cobblestone streets bustling with artists and street performers in Montmartre.
Montmartre is an area in the northern part of Paris, and if you know any French, you may guess from the word “mont” that it is a mountain. Well, in fact, it is a large and steep hill, with access by narrow streets filled with markets, plenty of steep staircases, and even an elevator – though you have to pay for that because it is run by the RATP (the Parisian transport company).
If that’s still not familiar to you, the other stereotypical view of Montmartre features the several zigzagging staircases in front of the Basilisque du Sacré Coeur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart), a huge basilica that sits atop the hill.
These two aspects are what make this neighborhood well known because it was an area where many famous artists of the 20th century – and before – lived and worked, like Van Gogh, for example.
And in spite of the millions of tourists who pass through and the myriad of tourist shops, Montmartre is still a special place that has many secrets and maintains a kind of mysterious and romantic atmosphere.
Artists, portraitists, musicians, and performers of all sorts go there day in and day out to contribute to the creativity that you can feel in the air.
Now, obviously everyone will have a different experience there, but for me, it’s always an interesting time when I create unique memories.
Of course I’d been there before our second day, since I lived in Paris and had been here before that even, but the walking tour we had showed me new aspects that I had yet to see, like a small vineyard, Van Gogh’s atelier, and a sculpture of a man coming out of a wall.
After the tour I stayed and went to a café with some other people. When we finished, I stayed on to take some photos, and I ended up having an interesting conversation with one of the artists, seeing a comedic performance, hearing some accordion music, and witnessing romance – a kiss with the Eiffel Tower in the distance.