A and I went to Montmartre. My aim was to visit some crazy little museums and NOT go to Sacré-Coeur. Not that I don't appreciate Sacré-Coeur, but I wanted to prove that there was more to Montmartre than that beautiful landmark, whose best part, anyway, is seeing it from all over Paris.
As I was studying the map, I saw the big Montmarte Cemetery (Antoine Carême is buried there). Near it is little cemetery called Cimetière St-Vincent. That was our starting point. And because we went to the Lamarck-Caulaincourt metro stop, we avoided a major part of the massive hill in Montmartre. We did have some hilly moments and we still had to walk DOWN, but we avoided the worst part.
Finding the cemetery was not easy. But after walking ALL the way around its tall stone walls, we found the entrance.
Is it weird to take pictures of a cemetery? (The slide show of the pictures is unavailable now, because Slide.com has gone away.) >:-(
I thought parts were very interesting. On the actual stones and tombs were porcelain flower arrangements that seemed to take the place of fresh flowers. I've never seen that before.
We also passed the only grapevines left in Paris...behind the fence.
From there it was on to a little museum or two. Bad news though...The Musée de Montmartre obviously didn't realize we were coming and they were closed.
We soldiered on to the Musée d'Art Naïf Max Fourny. I thought a bit of primitive art would be refreshing. We did find the address...not easily...and went through the ENTIRE building, without seeing ONE piece of primitive art.
I asked the friendly young woman selling tickets and she said the entire collection had been removed for these special exhibits. That's rather odd, isn't it?
One of the exhibits WAS very interesting. It was about Varian Fry, a journalist who saved over two thousand artists during World War 2. Exhibited were paintings from those artists, who included Marc Chagall, Max Ernst and Marcel Duchamp. A noted, interestingly, that with very rare exceptions, most of these artists lived really long lives.
One more stop in a lovely old church, St. Pierre de Montmartre.
So did I keep my pledge not to go to Sacré-Coeur? Well, in my defense, it was earlier in the afternoon than it was meant to be and we were much closer to the church than I planned to be. So, yes, we did go in. And I was glad we did. I was struck by the number of posters and meeting notices and banners that showed it to be very much a local church as well as a landmark.
But still I say the most noteworthy thing about Sacré-Coeur is the views OF it. (A close second are the views FROM it.) If somehow the doors are closed when you make your way up the hill, don't be distressed, because you've already seen the best part, miles before you get there.