Some of the metro entrances in Paris are quite extraordinary. They actually deserve a blog post all on their own. Just a quick tutorial, they were designed by architect Hector Guimard. There were originally 141 made, 86 still exist. This is the one that can be found in Montmartre.
I was in Montmartre for a tour. We were learning about the ‘secret gardens’, but most of them were really unreachable and behind walls. We also learned more about the significance of the area. Montmartre is located in the 18th district or Arrondissement of Paris. It is a large hill that is 130m high and is located on Rive droitte (or the right bank) of the Seine. Pre-Christian times, it has been determined that the hill had an alter to the god Mars. There are also legends involving St-Denis and his walk with his headless body to the hill, where his body finally gave way to death.
As with many streets in Paris one can trace history back in the names. Montmartre is famous for the windmills, the area around the hill used to be filled with fields and farmed quite extensively. The windmills were always in use, now only two remain. Montmartre also has been mined since the Romans for gypsum. It was only when the mining was stopped due to worries of instability in the hill, was there a bit if an economic crisis. During the crisis, three brothers become real estate moguls and bought up property and built buildings for homes. In building and developing the area, the names of many of the streets reflect their influence.
Montmartre is full of history and stories of artists that have lived and worked in the little community. Re-Visitng their past work can give a look at what life used to look like when they were living in the area. I especially find the paintings of the country side amazing, now the country side is hard to find, and so much of the gardens are back behind big cement walls.