We went on a two hour guided tour of the Montemartre neighborhood of Paris through a group called “Free City Tour,” where you place reservations online, meet the guide at a pre-determined location, s/he takes you on the tour, and you pay what you want. The tour was excellent and our guide was Chris.
The Montmartre neighborhood has the reputation of an artists area and it is where the Moulin Rouge is located. The photo above the Moulin Rouge is the first Metro stop design that dates back to 1902 and was the beginning of the art nouveau movement started by Hector Guimard. You can see his signature on the sign in the lower right hand corner.
The top photo is of traditional Parisian housing that began in the 1880s. According to our guide, Napoleon III wanted to make Paris the most beautiful major city in the world (which at that time it was not) and a major city “renovation” took place over several years with this type of architecture playing a major role in the transformation. The photo immediately above this text shows how high up the Montmartre neighborhood is, at its peak (which we visited) it is the second highest vantage point in Paris with only the Eiffel Tower being higher. Also, it was during this renovation that the grand boulevards were built and supposedly part of the idea behind them was that it would make it easier for the army to move in and squash any rebellions. Prior to the boulevards much of Paris was composed of many alleys. Due to its many hills, the Montmartre escaped the boulevard building because it was difficult to bring equipment up to do the work.
The patron saint of France is Saint Denis and he played a major role in converting the people in what is now France to Christianity in 250 AD or so. His efforts irritated the Romans who beheaded him in the Montmartre area (which means mountain of martyrs). This statue is of St. Denis holding his head.
Our favorite boulangerie where we’ve visited several times during our stay. Today, the woman who served us had some fun during our photo unbeknownst to David and Alex. She was terrific.
We arrived at our apartment after 4pm and the boys wanted to “chillax” for the evening which was fine by me. I needed to do laundry anyway. A wonderful three days in Paris. Tomorrow we take the train to Mainz, Germany to meet my brother, sister-in-law (Janet), and cousin (Kevin). Au revoir Paris!