Friday, January 13, 2023

New Year's in Paris!

Rolling down the street in my Uber, I gazed out at the Paris skyline. Asphalt turned into cobblestones as we bumped up into the Montmartre district. My driver careened around streets narrow enough to sweep a bicyclist onto the sidewalk. I was thrilled to spend New Year's Eve in Paris with my family, and especially to explore this northern part of Paris which was home to a cultural revolution. 

Known as the Butte, Montmartre started inauspiciously as home to vineyards and windmills. A hike was required to get up into the hills and was therefore home to working classes and starving artists. From 1880 to the early 1900s, artistic greats opened studios and communed together creating a new avant-garde art. This Bohemian district was home to Picasso, Modigliani, and many female artists such as Suzanne Valadon, and Picasso's muse Fernande Olivier. Renoir was known to have hiked up and painted in the beautiful gardens. 

Not only did visual art flourish and expand, but writers and intellectuals descended on Montmartre, and a new raucous form of entertainment opened in the Chat Noir, and the well-known Moulin Rouge.  Artist Toulouse-Lautrec launched his fame by creating posters to market these venues. The famous Parisian Cancan became the lure for those desiring to skate on the edge of decency. 

Within walking distance of my Airbnb perched the Montmartre Museum. Contained in the collection are works by Valadon and her son Utrillo, as well as Picasso. In fact, Valadon's studio is preserved in the building and the grounds contain the gardens that inspired much of Renoir's work. Montmartre and the museum are a wonderful way to experience Paris! For more information see Montmartre museum in the heart of Paris (

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