Prior to heading out, I visited a few blogs to find out the best way to visit Montmartre. Most suggested taking the Metro to the top, hop off at Abbesses or Lamarck Caulaincourt and walk down. Now if you could see the steps up to the top of Montmartre, and the puffing tourists climbing said steps, I'm sure you'd agree that walking down the hill vs up is a great idea.. (The Metro line 12 green will take you up.)
So off we set... however, what I didn't read anywhere was The Montmartrobus will take you on a great tour of Montmartre. We only discovered it once we were already on Montmartre, slightly lost and a bit tired and damp.
Thanks to losing my umbrella, or did it magically disappear from my purse side pouch? This is a bit of a mysterious sort of place... anyway, we ended up having a delightful stop at Cafe Montmartre. If you ever come to France, try one of the Chocolate Eclairs, they have chocolate mouse inside them not cream, oh my goodness they are so delightful. Cafe Montmartre: it will take your mind off your missing umbrella and the rain, and put a delightful smile back on your face again.
Le Passe-Muraille, or The Man who Could Walk through Walls, is a short story published by Marcel Aymé in 1943. I was delighted to read about it and the statue, and we found it after a short search. (If you would too, you can find the statue at Place Marcel Aymé off Rue Norvins not far from Le Moulin de Galette).
The Story From Wikipedia: A man named Dutilleul lived in Montmartre. In his forty-third year, he discovered that he possessed the ability to pass effortlessly through walls. In search of a cure he consulted a doctor, who prescribed intensive work and a medicine. Dutilleul made no change to his rather inactive life, however, and a year later still retained his ability to pass through walls, although with no inclination to use it. However, a new manager arrived at his office and began to make his job unbearable. Dutilleul began using his power to annoy his manager, who went mad and was taken away to an asylum. Dutilleul then began to use his ability to burgle banks and jewellery shops. Each time, he would sign a pseudonym "The Lone Wolf" in red chalk at the crime scene, and his criminal exploits soon became the talk of the town. In order to claim the prestige and celebrity status "The Lone Wolf" had gained, Dutilleul allowed himself to be caught in the act. He was put in prison, but used his ability to frustrate his jailers and repeatedly escape.
He then fell in love with a married woman, whose husband went out every night and left her locked in her bedroom. Dutilleul used his power to enter her bedroom and spend the night with her while her husband was away. One morning, Dutilleul had a headache and took two pills he found in the bottom of his drawer. His headache went away, but later that night, as he was leaving his lover's house, he noticed a feeling of resistance as he was passing through the walls. The pills Dutilleul had thought were aspirin were, in fact, the medicine his doctor had prescribed for him a year earlier. As he was passing through the final outer wall of the property, he noticed he was no longer able to move. He realized his mistake too late. The medicine suddenly took effect, and Dutilleul ended up trapped in the wall, where he remains to this day.
One way to see Montmartre is the little white train - we did it as it was starting to rain. I'd lost my umbrella and it had a covered roof. It was a very quick ride around the area on uncomfortable seats, however, it did get us out of the rain for a while. And we got to see things as it sped past them. I suggest taking the local public transport bus instead, but it is cute and the kids will probably get a kick out of it.
The little white train we took, flew past all the things we wanted to see, except for the Moulin Rouge where it paused long enough to click a couple of photos while on the move. I'd read one blog that said not to bother seeing it at all, but well you've got to really haven't you if you're in Paris?
Moulin Rouge is located in the middle of the red light district - think Kings Cross in Australia or Soho in the UK, and well, I was quite glad I was on the train and not walking through. I met some people who had booked a hotel nearby and were a bit horrified to see where they'd ended up and had to move hotels. So be a little careful there.
And what visit to Montmartre would be complete without a little arty stop? This time we decided to visit the Espace Dali...