Friday, January 22, 2010

Walk 16: Montmartre Walk

My very first Paris Walk! Oh, the memories. Too bad I’m retarded and waited until April to write about it.

After a presentation by a former study abroad director, the entire group went out for couscous. I had never had it before and can’t say that it was one of my favorite meals – it was just a little too dry. It was fun to get to know everybody a little bit better, though. It seems so weird to think that only three months ago, none of us knew eachother.

A big group of us then headed up to Montmartre, home of Sacre Couer, Amelie, and Moulin Rouge – definitely an important tourist area. As with any other touristy spots, there were plenty of people there trying to rip us of. Heading up the hill toward the cathedral, I was lucky enough to meet one of them – a guy doing the friendship bracelet scam who called me his “crazy, sexy, baby.” Luckily I had about 10 other people with me, so I didn’t have too hard of a time ignoring him. Look out for those guys. Or you could just take on a little of this statue's attitude:

Sacre Couer itself was pretty incredible. I hadn’t hit cathedral overload at that point, so I was actually able to fully appreciate it. Plus, its architecture is so different from what you see in other cathedrals. Built after the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, it looks like something from the Middle East, not Paris. The best part, though, was the incredible view it offered of the city – a pretty good welcome to Paris for all of us.

From then on we got a real taste of Erickson walks – up and down hills, down little alleyways, half way across Paris and back just to see a fountain. We’ve since developed a theory that Dr. Olivier is trying to make us fat off of French pastries, while Dr. Erickson wants to thin us back down again. First we saw Place du Tertre, a tourist trap, but a cool one since it’s filled with artists painting away. We also went by La Maison Rose, a favorite restaurant of Pablo Picasso and Gertrude Stein, Renoir’s house, and a lovely statue of Saint Denis holding his head. I’m pretty sure he’s my favorite saint. Anyone who’s willing to walk miles with their head cut off has gumption!

Montmartre is traditionally a very artsy area, so we had a chance to see the apartment buildings where Picasso, Apollinaire, and others lived in the early 1900s, as well as the Mouline de la Galette, which was made famous by a Renoir painting. We finished up at Van Gogh’s house and then passed by the Mouline Rouge as we headed down into the metro – I have to say, it doesn’t look quite so glamorous without Nicole Kidman.

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