PARIS DAY 6: Montmartre, Latin Quarter, Bastille

C’EST FINIS, MES AMIS. Our last full day in Paris was jam-packed. We trekked up to Sacre Coeur and around the old artists’ quarter of Montmarte, following a guidebook walking tour, rarely managing to escape the crowds.

Above: Metro entrance at Abbesses in Montmartre, one of only a couple of Metro stations in the city that still has the original glass roof structure. Though thankfully, many more still retain Hector Guimard’s Art Nouveau ironwork.

A view of mostly low-lying Paris from the steps leading up to Sacre Coeur

Some of the streets of Montmartre are clogged with tourists (“It’s like Disneyland,” my cousin Susan said at one point), but it’s not difficult to turn into a little side alley and find yourself quite alone.

Top to bottom, above: The Maison Rose, immortalized in a painting by Utrillo, who lived nearby; an ivy-covered house on the same street; and the Lapin Agile, a nightclub famed as a Picasso hangout.

A vineyard in Montmartre, one of two working vineyards in the city of Paris; it actually produces (not highly regarded) wine.

Au Reve (in a dream?) cafe on the outskirts of Montmarte. Its blue neon and striped awning called out to me, and I loved the interior as well.

One of many fashion shoots we encountered on the streets of Paris

One of two remaining windmills in Montmartre, where once there were dozens; this one tops a nightclub, and we couldn’t find the other one.

In the afternoon, we set out to see what the Latin Quarter is all about. We were astounded at the number of book stores, and had a shopping spree in a corner hardware store. We heard an hour-long Vivaldi concert performed by a charismatic string quintet in Sainte-Chapelle, whose stained glass I remember from college art history books, then had dinner in the hip Bastille district, at a restaurant recommended by a Parisian friend.

Above: Latin Quarter shops (there are bookstores galore; it’s the university district), and a narrow alley, Rue Xavier Privas, that suggests what the medieval city must have looked like.

The Cite station on the Ile de la Cite. Paris’s Metro system is a wonder of efficiency and cleanliness, and inexpensive, too (under $2 a ride).

Soaring stained glass in the Gothic Saint-Chapelle.

Lieu jaune (pollack filet), with spinach and asparagus purees, at L’Ebauchoir (meaning a sketch or draft) in the Bastille district.

Gare de Lyon next to one of the modern eyesores that increasingly dot Paris but from which we tried to avert our eyes whenever possible. Notre Dame spectacularly floodlit against Paris’s late-evening June sky, below.

We walked back from there along the Seine, arriving at our hotel in St Germain des Pres as the sky finally grew dark about 11PM. Tomorrow we fly back to New York, our heads spinning with all the things we’ve seen, and a long list for next time of all we didn’t get to see.

About cara

I blog (for fun) here at casaCARA, and write (for money) about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites.
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5 Responses to PARIS DAY 6: Montmartre, Latin Quarter, Bastille

  1. What wonderfully evocative photos! I can just smell the espresso & Gitanes! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. cara says:

    You’re more than welcome. It’s a permanent record for me as well. Back in NYC now, but it’s good to remember Paris is there!

  3. Fran says:

    These posts gave me such an appetite for Paris that instead of meeting my 2 dear Israeli friends in NY in September, we are all meeting in Paris! I just booked my ticket. Thanks for the inspiration, my heart is soaring.

  4. cara says:

    Fran, how wonderful! I’m sure Paris is as glorious in September as it is in June. And by the way, I have a lot more photos. I’m going to continue the Paris series with ‘themed’ posts on cafes, gardens, architecture, etc., so stay tuned.

  5. Judy Dean says:

    Loved traveling with you. You have an eye for what is most charming about this city. Thank you.

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