Montmartre & Moulin Rouge

Montmartre is a hill in the north of Paris, known for the white-domed Basilica of the Sacré Cœur on its summit & also famous as a bohemian district. Many artists had studios or worked around the community of Montmartre such as Henri de Tolouse-Lautrec, Salvador Dalí, Amedeo Modigliani, Claude Monet, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso & Vincent van Gogh. Montmartre is also the setting for several hit films, as the hipster mainstream Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain (who doesn’t remember le Café des 2 Moulins?).  


Moulin Rouge

Montmartre is amazing, it’s the iconic bohemian paradise. The moment we got out of the Abessess station I knew I was in heaven, I knew it was the place I would like to spend my days until this life was finished {I mean, if only I could do it one hundred years before, thought}. I’m utterly obsessed with Lautrec, he is my favorite painter since I was a little kid! I remember my mom had this notebook with “La Goulue” on it’s cover & I used to look at it & think it was the pretiest thing ever; I have no idea why, but the lines, colors & movement really caught my eye. It took me weeks to write this post & I failed to express all my feelings in words, but I’ll share them, anyway.

First things first: Abessess. I love the old Métropolitain style & this was the first station featuring it, I was the only weirdo taking pictures of it. When we started to walk around, what a pleasure! The streets & buildings are adorable, Montmarte is charming like no where else I’ve been to; we really have that feeling that we are not in this age anymore. Obviously nowadays we have no artists hanging out, only tourists & souvenir sellers, but I still can dream. We took an elevator to the Sacré Cœur because we were running out of time; unfortunatelly we only spent a couple of hours in Montmartre. The Basilica itself is not more beautiful than Notre Dame or Sainte- Chapelle, that we had already seen, so it wasn’t exactly a surprise. People were in fact a little rude, saying we couldn’t take pictures when we didn’t even have a camera in hands. Oh, & it’s more dangerous there than any other places in our whole trip, so you better watch out.

We decided to walk down the hill to appreciate the neighborhood & find the Moulin Rouge. Down on the streets, we got to see the Sacré Cœur all lighten up above us & it was truly impressive {you can see a charming manège in my picture}. Heading to the Moulin Rouge we passed by lots of sex shops & strip houses {again: heaven!} & since it’s our tradition to go to sex shops we jumped in. Oh my goth, I found so many cute stuff that I can’t find in Brazil! It’s worth the visit, even thought I didn’t find my Burlesque Hello Kitty mug.

Walking a little more I saw it: a moulin shaped neon! I cried a little, I must confess. The ticket was over my budget so I couldn’t get in, what a shame. I don’t care, tho. I can’t believe one century ago my favorite artist was drinking absynthe inside those walls, I traveled ten hours straight for that moment. Holy shit. I’m crying again. You’ll never understand how much I love him.

The bad thing about our little trip to Montparnasse is: we didn’t stay there much, I wish I had spent at least one whole day there. We didn’t even get to see le Café des 2 Moulins {on our trip to the airport later I saw that it was exatly on the street of the Moulin Rouge, so you have no idea how I wanted to cut myself when I found that out}.

My main goal is to go back to Paris to make that up.

P.S.:  “La Goulue” by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec {1891}.

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La Sainte-Chapelle is a royal medieval Gothic chapel, marked by its sense of weightlessness & strong vertical emphasis. The interior is filled by the stained glass windows {including the famous rose window with flamboyant tracery} & every inch of the remaining wall surface is also richly coloured & decorated.

After visiting the Panthéon, we started the Gothic tour: the Sainte-Chapelle & Notre-Dame. On the Saint-Chapelle we first entered the lower chapel & we were a bit disappointed: it looked like a random medieval store, a small room with cute castles on the walls & a souvenir shop. We had no idea what was waiting for us when we stepped on that little stair towards the main chapel. Delight. I used to imagine during History of Art classes how amazing would be to see the lights inside a Gothic church with stained glasses & I finally saw that. I can’t describe how I felt looking at those incredible pieces of colorful glass touching the sky. I wonder how a person centuries ago used to feel inside these churches; being inside these walls do make any human believe in God.

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Musée de l’Orangerie & Jardin des Tuileries

The Jardin des Tuileries is a garden located between the Louvre Museum & the Place de la Concorde. It was created by Catherine de Medicis as the garden of the Tuileries Palace. In the 19th and 20th century, it was the place where Parisians celebrated, met, promenaded & relaxed


Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel

Our first contact with the Musée du Louvre was actually kinda funny: we were walking in our first day in Paris looking for some place to have a picnic, saw that huge palace & had no idea what it was. We just came in, sat in a bench taking a look at the crows & when we were finished, we looked back to find a trash can & OH MY GOTH IS THAT THE PYRAMIDE DU LOUVRE? Yes, it was. We didn’t plan to visit the Musée that day, so we decided to take walk through the garden instead. When I was taking a picture of the Jardin du Carrousel I had my first sight of the Eiffel Tower {yes, Paris is that small}. I was so excited that day, I can remember everything perfectly. 

Most of these pictures are from outside the Musée du Louvre, but the Jardin goes until the Place de la Concorde. Tuileries is beautiful, the fact we traveled in Autumn made it even more amazing; those red & orange leaves falling down the trees, the cold wind in my face, drinking hot cocoa looking at the Gran Roue, all those adorable crows flying over us. Awn, it sure melted my goth girl’s heart. 

Still in the Jardin des Tuileries there is the Musée de l’Orangerie, an art gallery of impressionist & post-impressionist paintings, famous for being the permanent home for the Nymphéas by Claude Monet. The eight famous paintings are displayed in two oval rooms all along the walls {they were featured in Woody Allen’s film Midnight in Paris, I know you remember them}, but since we weren’t allowed to take pictures in that Musée I’ll have to share a pic I found online to show you the perfection of those rooms. The Museum also contains works by Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri Rousseau, among others. 

I must confess: the most amazing surprise for me was the Art In Fusion exhibition devoted to the legendary couple Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo. I was already familiarized with Kahlo’s work but it never had a real impact on me, but it drastically changed when I saw it live. Her paintings are gut wrenching & really impressive, not for the technique but for all the symbolisms & her own history; a cycle of life & death, revolution & religion, realism & mysticism. I confess I couldn’t hold the tears in front of that amazing collection; looking at Frida Kahlo with new eyes was definitively the best gift I got that day. 

My Grandparents, My Parents, and I {Family Tree}, Frida Kahlo, 1936.
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La Seine & Pont des Arts

La Seine is an extense river in the north of France & bifurcates the city of Paris into left & right banks {rive gauche & rive droite}. The beauty of the river not only captures our current imaginations: it has mesmerized & seduced since pre-medieval times; it has inspired many artists, as Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Georges-Pierre Seurat & many others. There are 37 bridges within Paris, as the Pont Neuf, Pont des Arts & Pont Alexandre III.

Can someone explain why there’s a dinosaur & a skull full of butterflies at the Compagnie des Bateaux-Mouches?

Pont des Arts

The Pont des Arts is a bridge in Paris which crosses La Seine; it has been featured in numerous films & television shows. It links the Institut de France and the central square of the Palais du Louvre. In recent years, many tourist couples have taken to attaching padlocks {also known as “love locks”} with their first names written or engraved on them to the railing or the grate on the side of the bridge, then throwing the key into the Seine river below, as a romantic gesture. This gesture is said to represent a couple’s committed love.

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Palais de Tokyo

The Palais de Tokyo was the most impressive contemporary art museum I’ve ever seen; in fact, it rejects the label “museum” & prefers to call itself a site “devoted to contemporary creativity”. The building is huge: more than 22.000m² of creative energy featured in all forms imaginable: from paintings & sculpture to projections & installations. After days & days visiting museums with “classic” art, visiting the Palais the Tokyo & the Centre Pompidou was a delicious {& much needed} breath of fresh air. Unfortunately I didn’t capture most of the artwork, basically because instalations don’t have the same impact on videos & they’re not as powerful so it didn’t make any sense; but I can say I had never experienced anything like that. The most memorable were the macabre doll writing with ink in a huge screen with really loud noises, the virtual doll talking to us & saying things like “I talk, you see & hear me but I don’t exist” {this was pretty disturbing}, the macro video featuring a black world – think about a black land, black grass, black sky {it was beautiful #gothgirlproblems}, a regular room that suddenly shut all the lights off & neon paintings were revealed in the walls as a piano started to play by itself & there was a fake bookshelf in the wall with a hidden passage to another room full of photographs & illustrations, the dark basement with broken lights {it was exactly like the places people go to get killed in horror movies}. The Palais the Tokyo left me speechless.

There’s always a Fashion Program in the basement, where the Palais explores innovative experiments in the field of fashion, creation or beauty. In my visit I was able to see “Virgule, etc.” featuring a retrospective exhibition of the work of Roger Vivier to celebrate its founder, reference in the history of fashion accessories. 

Another thing I loved about Palais de Tokyo was their restaurant & museum shop; it was filled with interesting art & photography books {I even found the Roger Ballen & Die Antwoord – I Fink U Freeky book!} among other things – that “Bansky” grafitti was on the shop! I bought myself a gorgeous & huge book from Mark Ryden, PINXIT, because well, I just had to. Me & my friend also took a pic at the FotoAutomat machine, like the ones in Amelie Poulain‘s; that pic definitively brings me one of my favorite memories from Paris.

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