|Paris, 21 June 2010: Montmartre
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
On Monday, I went to Paris on the Eurostar, which as far as I'm concerned is the only way to get there. I arrived in late morning. becala/becala had planned to arrive in early afternoon, but all the metalheads from the festival she'd been attending were also trying to return to Paris, so she and her two Erics couldn't get a train until evening.
Fortunately, I know exactly what to do in these situations. I go to a cemetery. I can spend hours in cemeteries. I love the artistry (or lack of it) that goes into decorating graves. This is not an activity in which many people want to participate, nor do most have the patience to wait for me to go up and down every row, inspecting, photographing and not speaking very much. So I seize the opportunity to visit Montmartre.
I start by hiking up to the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur. The view from it is breathtaking. I appreciate it for a while with the other tourists. Photography isn't allowed inside the impressive edifice. It is stark for a Catholic church. It is also hot and smells of candle wax with undertones of melted plastic from pillars left unattended for too long. I don't linger.
Basilique du Sacre-Coeur
View from the steps of the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur
Streets of Montmartre
Back in the fresh air, I get out my map and direct myself to the cemetery entrance. I am ignored by at least a dozen cats and receive artistic direction from two little old men. In French. When I explain that I do not speak sufficient French to understand, they simply gesticulate emphatically until I finally grasp their meaning. ("Go down the steps and to the right until you see the angel. Then crouch down and photograph it from the side. It is a beautiful composition." They are right.)
Alexandre Dumas, writer
Death cannot stop me from being a diva
Le Docteur Guy Pitchal
Emile Zola, writer ♥ ♥ ♥
Splash of colour amid grey & beige
Oh, I haz W0EZ.
Nonsense, I has the most W0EZ.
You're wrong. It's me. Also, prettiest.
I haz dignity.
I haz naked dignity.
I haz frumpily clothed dignity.
There are many, many graves here.
No really. Many, many graves.
Driven by thirst, I reluctantly depart. I find a cafe that doesn't look too full and seems to have a kindly man behind the counter. I sit outside sipping my espresso and suddenly realize I'm across from the Moulin Rouge. It's not as impressive nor as seedy as I'd hoped. it reminds me of seeing Hollywood Boulevard in LA for the first time. The actual edifices are disappointing, but the people-watching is first-rate.
By the time becala/becala and Erics turn up, I'm sun-baked, relaxed, and ready to drink wine and eat cheese while they show me their bruises and regale me with festival tales.