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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Paris, 21 June 2010: Montmartre [20100626|21:38]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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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. [personal profile] 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

Montmartre doors

Montmartre graffiti

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

Dalida, chanteuse

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 [personal profile] 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.

[User Picture]From: colubra
2010-06-26 21:45 (UTC)
I love the Montmartre cemetery. Nice photos!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-06-27 18:36 (UTC)
I think it trumps Pere Lachaise. It definitely warrants a return visit. And thank you.
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[User Picture]From: cosmiccircus
2010-06-26 22:31 (UTC)
I love Monmartre, and now I'm sad that I've never visited its cemetery! Great photos and I'm once again glad that I can live vicariously through you!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-06-27 18:37 (UTC)
I've now been to three of Paris' cemeteries and this one tops the list. If history is any indication, I'll be back in Paris within two years. :-)
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[User Picture]From: enterlinemedia
2010-06-27 01:48 (UTC)
Thanks for sharing. I do wonder how some of these would have looked as Holga shots.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-06-27 18:38 (UTC)
Taking the Holga will be my excuse to return. I didn't bring it with me because I packed as lightly as possible since I was on my own.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-06-27 18:40 (UTC)


I'm pretty sure the dead have "escaped" from quite a number of those tombs, given the number of kicked-in doors and broken padlocks I saw.
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[User Picture]From: anthrokeight
2010-06-27 16:01 (UTC)
Oh my. Don't blink!

And also, such lovely, lovely photos!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-06-27 18:41 (UTC)
Wait til you see the Montparnasse cemetery photos. Those angels would have been terrifying if it weren't 30+ degrees C and very sunny.
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[User Picture]From: flexagain
2010-06-27 18:47 (UTC)
On my last, and only, visit to Paris, I remember "doing" Basilique du Sacre-Coeur, and going past the Moulin Rouge, which as you say is quite nondescript. I didn't visit Montmartre, but it looks like somewhere worth visiting. Incredibly busy (in an artistic, not living people way), and some fantastic imagery.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-06-29 13:02 (UTC)
Did you actually climb the steps to the dome of Sacre-Coeur? I walked around looking for them, but couldn't find the entrance and in the end I decided it was too hot and horrible-smelling in there to pursue further.
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[User Picture]From: flexagain
2010-06-29 13:15 (UTC)
It's a while back, but I think we gave up being inside fairly rapidly since the place was crawling with tourists, and as you say was hot and not overly pleasant to be in for too long.
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[User Picture]From: danaid_luv
2010-06-28 18:38 (UTC)
*happily snatches up photos left & right, even while sniggering at captions*
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-06-29 13:00 (UTC)
I posted more than a few of these with you in mind!
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From: pbristow
2010-06-29 17:46 (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-06-30 15:30 (UTC)
It is unwise to be too serious when standing in a graveyard.
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