Montmartre – the other side of the moon

Montmartre really is a small village in its own right. Sometimes I barely notice I am still in Paris as I make my way up and down the cobbled streets of the mount, trying my best not to trip up as it’s a long way down… 

Now, I must admit that most of my time is spent on the south side of Montmartre, the part of the hill that is directly beneath the colossal portals to the Sacre Coeur and I have never felt the need or curiosity to discover what lies on the other side of the Place du Tertre. This may be partially down to relative comfort, being based on the “convenient” side of the mount – where there are plenty of shops, cafés, bars and historical sites to discover, however, since becoming a resident of the 18éme I have grown more curious as to that which lies behind the big chiming meringue. And so off I went last weekend (an exceptionally bright and sunny one) in search of new neighbourhood adventures.

First thing, my view from the top of Montmartre is usually from the Sacre Coeur and don’t get me wrong, it is a most awesome sight, but just a few kilometres to the left of the church you find yourself with a perfectly private view of Parisian rooftops and that Eiffel Tower everyone keeps going on about. It does look beautiful from here. 

Another thing I hadn’t the faintest idea existed is a small square behind the church. I don’t think many people notice this square as it’s hidden behind the Sacre Coeur and the main walking path leans more to the left onto Place du Tertre instead of right behind the church. I spent a good while here finishing off my Jack Kerouac and trying to catch a natural snap of this fella deep in his novel before he noticed the sound of my camera shutter.

So, I have heard tales of a vineyard at the top of the mount, but never quite believed it until cruising past a bunch of grapes as I gaped at the mansions of the rich and the famous on Rue Saint-Vincente. The dark rouge bundles of sourness hung joyfully behind the typically Parisian green fencing of its enclosures. I wonder if they’ll eventually land themselves in a decent bottle?

And of course, there are the numerous up-and-down back streets entwining themselves into the fabric of the hill for endless moments of sheer wonder.

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