On our last night in Paris we visited the Montmarte area, as we were eager to see the Moulin Rouge, the Sacre Couer and the area known to be the set of Amelie. Surprisingly, especially considering the grand church overlooking this particular part of Paris, this is also the sex district. Husband had drawn us a map of where the night would take us (or at least should take us - you can never be sure where you'll end up on a night out in the Montmarte).
It was late afternoon when we climbed the stairs out of the metro, smack-bang into the centre of it. The Moulin Rouge greeted us first. A cheap version of the one that was so gloriously portrayed in the movie, I was a little disappointed. Darkened windows, a cardboard cut-out windmill. It was a fantasy place that did not live up to expectations. But would it? This isn't the 19-whats-its... And this isn't a movie.
The rest of Montmarte was hiving. It did feel like a movie. The streets were just sex shop after sex shop, and unlike back home, these shops opened straight out on to the road, no drawn curtains, no creepy old men, no scum. Up a side-alley, packed with tourists, tasty toasted panini in hand, bottle of wine in packet. The Sacre Couer loomed over us from its hilltop perch. Stairs and a steep grassy bank. Muso playing guitar to a crowd on the stairs, we stopped for plastic-glass wine drinking and stair sitting, overlooking the-whole-of-Paris. Charcoal grey slate roofs, pale white buildings, brick brown chimneys. As far as the eye can see.
We then visited Maison Rose for another drink, and stumbled upon the artisans park - a whole square of artists drawing up life-like portraits and characteurs within minutes.
Montmarte was truly beautiful. The streets were alive. We found a little street side restaurant where we feasted like kings. Nom nom nom.
And in the end, even the Moulin Rouge came to life. I had to take back all the mean things I'd said. Look how it glows.