Indiana Daily Student

Column: The Montmartre Quarter of Paris

Tourists gather at Sacré-Cœur at the summit of Montmartre, a hill in Paris, France.
Tourists gather at Sacré-Cœur at the summit of Montmartre, a hill in Paris, France.

This past weekend, I was en route to see one of Paris’ most well-known monuments — la Basilique du Sacré-Coeur.
 
Designed by French architect Paul Abadie, the basilica was constructed over a  39-year period in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

As I made my way up the hill using the basilica as my landmark, I inadvertently became acquainted with the quarter known as Montmartre.

Named after the hill it sits on, this quarter is filled with historic landmarks and winding uphill paths, managing to strike a balance between appearing touristic and authentically Parisian.

During my walk, I came across Café des Deux Moulins, famous for its appearance in the 2001 French film “Amélie,” where the title character works as a
waitress.

The café doesn’t have any signs or markers indicating its claim to fame, so while people stopped to snap a photo, locals continued to dine.

Further up the hill, the area becomes predominantly pedestrian as the streets narrow into cobblestone pathways.
 
There is a mix between residential properties, restaurants, cafés and small shops.

There are even small parks tucked between streets filled with families from the area.

Small shops selling postcards sit alongside boutiques selling home goods, jewelry and clothing.

Surprisingly enough, I even managed to stumble across an Indian clothing boutique called Diwali.

Right by the basilica, there is a square featuring local landscape artists selling their work surrounded by cafés with plenty of outside seating.

Street musicians and performers are circled by onlookers with crepes in hand.

It was hard to imagine a scene more fit for a postcard — until I approached
Sacré-Coeur.

Before me stood the basilica and beyond me was Paris.

An accordion performer, the buzz of different languages and the hum of a small trolley making its way back down the hill all mixed together in the background.

From the highest point in the city, I saw Paris sprawled before me.

From famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower to the cluster of anonymous buildings, the view of Paris left me awestruck.

Nothing could have been more picturesque.

— anukumar@indiana.edu

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