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French Travel – Montmartre Posted by on Oct 23, 2018 in Culture, Geography, Literature, Music

Even after all these years and all the many trips I’ve made to Paris, I’m always delighted when I go back to find that there is still more to see, to learn, and to do. On this most recent trip, I took my son William up to the Sacré Coeur de Montmartre and was enchanté  (enchanted) by des nouveaux découverts (new discoveries).

La maison de Dalida / Dalida’s house

I made my first trek up la butte Montmartre (the hill of Montmartre) with my host father in 1986. At the time, I wasn’t allowed to go alone, because the area around the base of the hill (Pigalle) was not a very nice neighborhood. On this return trip, I was delighted to stumble across the former résidence (home) of the great late French singer Dalida. This seemingly unassuming home … in a very exclusive neighborhood … was a refuge for the singer.

Le Passe-Muraille / The man who could walk through walls

A few streets up from la maison de Dalida and down from l’église du Sacré-Coeur is a strange little square with a bronze statue of a man coming out of a wall. Representing ‘un nommé Dutilleul’ (one named Dutilleul), the protagonist of a novella by Marcel Aymé, le passe-muraille reminds us to be careful of what we wish for and how we use our gifts in life.

Sometimes we forget … 

… to look behind! The views of Montmartre from the center of Paris are spectacular … as are the views of the center of Paris from the heights of Montmartre. But sometimes we forget to look in all directions. And the views from the “backside” of Montmartre are equally impressive. Looking out over Paris’s northern suburbs reminded me of a fun clip vidéo that I’ll end this week’s post with (starting at about the 50 second mark, watch for the le Sacré-Coeur, la 2CV, et l’escalier, … )*.


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All photos (C) Tim Hildreth

* For a different take on this song, in English, see here. It’s less charmingly French (and features a lot less of Paris) but it will help you understand the song in French if you need some translation.

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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Lise: Maybe not always. Paris has ways of making people forget. / Jerry: Paris? No, not this city. It's too real and too beautiful. It never lets you forget anything. It reaches in and opens you wide, and you stay that way. / An American in Paris