Butte Montmartre : Michelin's recommendations
The «Mount of the Martyrs» where, as tradition has it, Saint Denis prayed to heaven, is a surprising place which even today has managed to keep its look of a village, even if the flow of tourists tends to spoil it. The place where the Paris Commune started, its legend really came about when the artists and intellectuals took it over, attracted by its taverns and its cabarets. The great period was between 1870 and 1914. Caf'conc', poets' circles (like that of the «Hydropathes»), songs by Aristide Bruant, drawings by Caran d'Ache, the Moulin Rouge where Yvette Guilbert, Valentin le Désossé or Jane Avril performed under the odd stare of a funny little man with a black bowler hat, studios where Picasso, Braque and so many others tried to survive whilst giving birth to au cubism, bars where Maurice Utrillo struggled against his bad temper, all that has helped to create the legend of Montmartre, carefully maintained since. Of course, it is annoying today to see it debased with these pseudo-painters who churn out «street urchins» or some vaguely post-impressionist views of Paris for clients who get off coaches for tourists... There are still some half-blocked lanes with staircases, some small country-style houses, some unexpected stretches of garden, which have allowed the «Butte» (the Hillside) to still look like a village; and if the basilica that crowns it, with its milky white domes, does not add anything to the architecture, you are forced to agree: the view across the capital is matchless here!
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