How could I have forgotten our day in Montmartre and visit to the Salvador Dali Museum? We road the metro halfway up the hill that is Montmartre, the tallest peak in Paris at about 500 feet. The hill is noticeable from throughout Paris due to Basilica Sacre Coeur de Montmartre that towers at the top of the hill with it’s white facade and dome. This church is both a political and religious statement, built by conservatives in the early 20th century in penance for 19th century social and political excesses.
We have never entered among the throngs of tourists who flock to this landmark. Instead our favorite spot is a smaller, more traditional church next door, l’eglise Saint Pierre du Montmartre. This old and easily missed church has beautiful stained glass depicting the life of Christ, some ancient oil paintings (in the dark), and a quiet meditative atmosphere. You won’t find hordes of tourists in here, but you will find solitude and beauty.
Next we visited the Dali Museum. The exhibits were much different than we saw in 2003. Many of the features of this museum were created at the direction of the artist. Dali was an amazing man. He met and conversed with popes, presidents, movie stars, artists, and common people. All of these contributed ideas to his busy mind. He spent a good deal of time with Sigmund Freud. One of the exhibits was a collection of paintings he did trying to bring science and religion together…now there’s an ambitious project. However, my favorite were his interpretations of well known literature. I’ve include a snapshot of his Romeo and Juliet wall. Much more than a simple artist, Dali was a philosopher, a comic, an actor, a musician, and a poet. This museum is a must see in Paris.
Montmartre includes Place du Tertre where artists congregate to paint for tourists and pickpockets slip in to lighten tourists’ loads. It’s a madhouse of cafes, artists with their easels and paints, mimes, musicians, etc. We love it! A few of the artists were quite good. Most were doing sketches of people on the spot to make money. However, some of the better artists were working on oil paintings while selling finished pieces.
All in all, Montmartre is a required stop when visiting Paris. How could I have forgotten it in my previous post?
Je suis desole!