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Montmartre - Villa Léandre

2012-02-26

1.jpgLegendary Parisian Montmartre, together with the Belleville quarter is one of the few places in the centre of Paris where the landscape reflects also the general atmosphere of the streets. The hilly landscape creates a specific character and it is a big bonus of this quarter. Structure of the streets and houses has arisen in a traditional slow historical development, not as a strictly designed modern wide layout of the George Haussmann plans from the second half of the 19th century. And that is why also Montmartre has a very strong genius loci and belongs together with the Notre-Dame cathedral, Latin quarter or Marais to the best and most precious what Paris can offer. 

At my frequent morning, evening and night strolls on this „Martyrs Mountain“ I have found myself the well-known fact. This Parisian hill has two completely different sides. Side coming down to the center, that means to the boulevards Clichy and Rochechouart, is full of tourists, souvenir shops, fast food and also is hit by unpleasant globalization.  

The other side of the hill towards the streets Caulaincourt and Custine keeps the traditional spirit of Paris and its inhabitants. Tourists dissapear and there are more loca3.jpgl inhabitants. Bright colours of clothes and shops are changed into traditional dark decent clothes. In the coffee places and restaurants people know each other, they stop by on the streets, from all sides you feel a pleasant atmosphere. 

It is worth to notice also the east side coming down to the boulevard Barbes. The aspect of the shops changes, we find more colourful clothes, dresses for Muslims, African people, shops give the impression of a market, everything is in a slight disorder. Some people say that when it gets dark, this quarter is not quite safe. However, I feel here among the local people much safer that at night on the Venceslas square in Prague! 

But let’s get back to the other side of Montmartre. When you go from the 2.jpgmetro station Lamarck by a curving lane Junot upwards, between the numbers 23 and 27 you will get to to the discrete street Villa Léandre. It has been named after the local comedian Charles Léandre, who has also a commemorative board on the street corner. Initially there was one of the numerous Montmartre mills on this place. Today it is one of the quietest and most expensive places in this location. When you enter, you will find yourself in the world that does not really resemble to Paris. Houses are built in the Anglo-Saxon style, there are traditional front gardens, ceramic items, steps, lanterns. The tiny street is very impressive, when you sit for a while on the wide sides of the pavement or on the bench in its rear side, you get the feeling of a typical British island atmosphere. When you are there at the time when the flowers and bushes bloom, it is like cut out of a fairytale. It is exaggerated but one can 4.jpgsay that you get in a minute from Paris to London! 

As I have written at the beginning, the streets of Montmartre originated from local landscape conditions of this hill based on the gradual development and consecutive changes. The quarter has a lot of dead streets and public places terminated by stairs, which will lead you to other parts of this arrondissement. Do not forget the other side of the hill when walking at Montmartre! You will be rewarded by many similar interesting places such as Villa Léandre and especially by the true atmosphere of Montmartre, which is not represented by the crowds of tourists at Moulin Rouge or Place du Tertre.

 Jan Schinko jr., Paristep
 

Preview of picture in folder Paris Montmartre | Jan Schinko jr.