”Le Moulin de la Galette”
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1876, French Impressionist
Travel Tip: Visiting the Montmartre District
No Social Distancing Here…
No social distancing here! Except for the fashions, this could be a modern scene today—much to the chagrin of the CDC!
Renoir was one Impressionist who often turned to Paris nightlife for subjects in his paintings. In this one, the effect of fleeting and floating light cultivated by the Impressionist artists is used in his painting of a popular Parisian dance hall on a Sunday afternoon in the Montmartre District; patrons danced, drank, and ate galettes (flat cakes). The scene is dappled by shade and sunlight, and blurred artfully into the figures.
Impressionists were labeled as such because they chose to paint “impressions” of a subject rather than attempt to make it realistic. This style emerged with the invention and use of the camera in the mid-1800s. The camera could take more realistic views of people and scenery, in much less time, causing artists to re-evaluate how they painted their subjects; hence they created impressions of reality vs. reality.
This painting is large (4’3” x 5’8”) and when I viewed it in person (Musée d’Orsay, Paris), I had the feeling I was right there, ready to step into the scene and join them in their fun! (No masks required!)
Sacre Coure, Montmartre district, Paris
Sacre Coure, Paris is the heart of the Montmartre district. It is magnificent inside and out.
It is atop a high hill overlooking Paris and can be reached by walking LOTS of steps–or via a Funicular. There is a fun carousel on one of tiers part way up the hill.
- TRAVEL TIP: When visiting Paris, be sure to make a trip to the Montmartre district–for several reasons!
- It is at a high point of the city and provides a great view of Paris which includes the Eiffel Tower (which you can’t see if you are atop it)!
- the Sacre Coure church (the white domed one you see in all the photos) is magnificent inside and outside.
- There are fun off the path museums including one on Salvador Dali.
- The Funicular getting up and down the steep hill is an experience in itself (and included in your Paris metro pass).
- The quaint market area behind the church is great for eating (sit down or walk up), local artists (get your caricature drawn), shopping (all prices; haggling is welcome in some places), and just all-around interesting people-watching.
- HOWEVER…I highly recommend that you visit the area in the DAY TIME as the nightlife after dark can be very sketchy. Women in our group of mixed company and ages were openly propositioned; we saw drug deals go down in plain sight. Streets to get from the metro stop up the hill to the church were dark. But it is perfectly safe in the day light–and you have the least crowds if you get there as early in the morning as things open.