I love Paris and Montemartre. There is such a creative vibe there. A place you can sit with a Kir Royale for an hour, listening to someone play blues, or wander down one of the hills which radiate from it’s hub and rub shoulders with actors, directors and famous musicians in a backstreet restaurant. It’s such an open “anything can happen” place. I love it.
My grandmother’s brother lived in this area of Paris and strode the boards over there (he hung out with Marie Lloyd and I like to think he knew Josephine Baker too, I would have thought he would have had a ball with her! his personality was larger than life too!), so I feel as though I too belong there and feel embraced by it, like another home. I took this photo as my mother strode up the gazillion steps in front of me (love her heart, she didn’t moan at all when the funicular broke down!).
January is a great time to go to Paris, there are not many tourists and the Parisians are therefore at their most chilled.
Each time I go to Paris, there’s a moment which lives with me for ever after. During one of my recent visits, again in January, I was walking along the Quai de Gesvres, shops were spilling out onto the street. Parisian legs, feet and shoes were pounding their way through the green mire. I say, green, because the produce for sale was plants, trees, bushes etc. Just on the other side of the 6 foot high metal trollies which staggered and teetered on the edge of the kerb, hurtled the Citroens, Peugeots and Renaults (all in various states of rust, taxation and pace…!).
I had just battled across the main road, seeking a bar for my usual espresso rush, so mentally I was unprepared for what I heard. It was January, as I said, it was actually quite cold, you know those days when your face goes all pink, and your nose runs…but the sun beats down through the cloudless sky and gives you sunburn (just to confuse your body clock), I heard, or I thought I heard birdsong. I turned to my companion and said “Blimey, it’s like one of those chain-store Garden Centres in Britain, which sell mass-produced melamine trays and resin figurines, where they pipe music to fool you into believing that any purchase from there will result in a tropical paradise and make mockery of our native climate…”
It was with that blazé attitude that I continued wafting past bushes and branches… All at once I was confronted with a flurry of movement…. 30 or so sparrows were dashing between legs, plants, feet, heads, hats, scarves, and human impatience: an impromtu haven for nature in the city. Their song was so uplifting and positive, that it quite took my breath away. Do you have moments where you wish you could bottle it and share it round? Paris for me always gives me something: it’s what makes me fall in love with Paris everytime I go.
Apparently there’s now a Philippe Starck Hotel in the 20th district of Paris, created for Mama Shelter (Google it – looks cool, although their website is SO slow)… hmm, note to self, must remember to look for it next time I’m staying over… *sigh*…oh, yes, and watch out for the sparrows…