In the footsteps of artists

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I defy you to walk down the Champs-Elysées and say you can still imagine Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo in that famous scene from Jean-Luc Godard’s A Bout de Souffle. Too many cars, too many tourists, not many interesting shops unless you love Apple and Nike (how I miss those late night excursions to buy jazz, Jacques Brel and Serge Gainsbourg CDs at Virgin Megastore). But get away from the tourists in Montmartre and it’s still possible to imagine this area for a few moments as the artists saw it, like in the photo above. Late night dancing at the Lapin Agile and the Moulin de la Galette, Picasso working at the Bateau Lavoir and all of Paris at your feet as you compose a poem or a piece of music in your head on a walk to the top of the Butte.

I hadn’t been there for 17 years (!) and it’s true that the Place du Tertre is worse than ever, as are the crowds around Sacré Coeur. Yet turn down a side street into a quiet square and you understand perfectly why Dalida felt it was like a country village far from the bustle of the city. I spent a charming afternoon there, strolling around, eating ice cream, climbing 200 steps to the top of Sacré Coeur to find myself almost alone and with a splendid view before coming down and taking the funicular. The day ended with a walk around the Palais Royal gardens, a visit to Galignani’s bookshop and finally there was a superb and inexpensive dinner at Mio Posto in the Bastille area.

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The Place Dalida – apparently rubbing her breasts is good luck. I resisted the temptation to try.
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The man who could walk through walls, based on the magnificent story of the same name by Marcel Aymé.

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Dalida’s fairytale house, sadly now divided into luxury flats. The window with the balcony on the left was her bedroom.

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I couldn’t finish the dessert!
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One thought on “In the footsteps of artists

  1. Thank you for taking me along on your excursion Emily. I am so behind on everything, I sit here with a headache, worn out from a busy week. I am absolutely delighted to read this. You have lifted my spirits a bit, now if only this bloody headache would go away xx

    Like

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