Monday, January 3, 2011

BCers Visit Italy, Switzerland & France; Pt 13: Art Decorates A Hill Over Paris

IN MY WORLD, dismantling remnants of Christmas in BC brought back memories of a charming village overlooking Paris where artists of all sorts decorate the hillside. We visited Montmartre (shown in the watercolor print above) last October. It was an elevating experience ... literally.

Getting there requires a long trek up stairs or a lift in the "funicular" that has parallel cars traveling 118 feet from the lower to upper stations. I was sure the funicular would be more fun than the stairs, especially since my imagined fear of heights was barely materializing. This was a mini version of going up a mountain in Switzerland or like taking an elevator up the Eiffel Tower. There was no way I was going to miss the sights of Europe by not taking a chance on the modes of transportation available.

It was a short ride and a few more stairs to the Roman Catholic church (pictured above) which is known as Basilica du Sacre Coeur. The structure is at the heart and highest point of the artistic community. Its distinctive dome is often a subject for painters as my top picture shows.

The Place du Tertre in the village is filled with little known artists who cater mostly to tourists nowadays. This was not the case in earlier times, including when Pablo Picasso studied and lived there prior to his fame.

Because of my passion for both whimsical art and umbrellas, the painting (pictured at left) caught my eye.

Although I was tempted, the nearly 300 Euro it would cost to purchase the original work had me opting for a reproduction of another painting that now sits on my fireplace mantle. The cost of the print was just over one Euro.

I tried to chat for a few moments with the artist (I believe his name is Lambert) of the painting that attracted me. There was a language barrier, however. He allowed me to take his photograph. Unfortunately, I snapped and he blinked.

There were other attractions when walking from the artist's square back to the church, including what seemed to be a hopeless game of chance played out on the street.

A bin filled mostly with undergarments also spilled onto the street.

There was fabric galore ...

in muti-colored hues.

Sadly, this stunning mural of life-sized youth was marred by graffiti.

Livelihoods hung in the balance as street performers displayed diverse talents.

At the foot of the church there was an expansive view of Paris and the blanket of smog hanging over it.

People lounged along the church steps enjoying the many entertainers.

Tourists had their pictures taken near a live statue that expected donations.

Melodies musicians played filled the open spaces and enthralled listeners.

An impressive (bronze?) statue got my attention. But when I turned around ...

I could see from the corner of my eye that this was yet another performer who seemed to be packing his bag for new destinations. I, too, would soon leave this enclave of artists and actors with my watercolor memories firmly in hand.

Explorers can find more sites from around the globe at My World.


  1. Gorgeous. We were just talking about Paris last night, and working out ways and means and plots and plans. I'll have to make sure Dick looks at this. SO glad you were there.
    Luv, K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  2. Oh, Penelope, your wonderful photos brought back so many lovely memories of my visit to Paris and that same place! How delightful! It's been a while, but with your pics the memories were clear and bright! Enjoy your new year!!


  3. I would LOVE to visit that hill over Paris. Wonderful! The living statues must be interesting to watch for a while, eh?

  4. What a great tour from you trip. You took some fantastic shots.

  5. thank you first of all for you kind words, which are very much appreciatet !

    thank you as well for the nice escape into the beautiful city of paris seen through your eyes.
    please have you all a good tuesday.

    daily athens

  6. those street performers are so good at what they do - not move and pretend to be real statues. i was fooled by one in paris infront of the notre dame cathedral :)

  7. Incredible walk down Memory Lane! Beautiful shots of a gorgeous place. Thanks.

  8. Beautiful and colorful place. The church is awesome.

  9. You have some wonderful photos here, Penelope. I especially loved seeing the artist's face (even with eyes closed:) The street performer balancing the ball was another favourite. I loved the whimsical painting as well, but you made an excellent choice with the one-Euro reproduction. I imagine it gives you great pleasure each time you glance in the direction of the fireplace mantle. You found so many of the moments that some tourists may have missed - the colourful material, the game of chance, the underwear, the street performer packing up to move on.. I felt I had an up close and personal taste of Paris that will stay with me until I manage to see it for myself. Thank you so much!

  10. Those street artists are amazing! Lovely glimpse of Paris, which I haven't visited since my youth.

  11. great post and a wonderful tour. those mime artists can be so creative and talented. thanks for sharing your experiences. best wishes for 2011.

  12. Beautiful shots of Paris! Those living statues are incredible, with the makeup and ability to even hide their breathing. We did have a delightful, but short, visit with my daughter.

  13. It's very Parisian, isn't it? I think we tourists go there hoping that the artist we buy from will turn out to be the next Picasso - but if Picasso were in the square, would anyone be buying his work had I but known.

    We were able to come back with an original painting. It was affordable, being all of 3"x3", unframed, and not by anyone who will ever be famous. But it's a great souvenir.

  14. very nice series, beautiful and colorful place!
    The living statues must be interesting to watch.


  15. great post, really interesting. Enjoyed all the pictures, looks like you had a fun time!


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