Last week I had the pleasure to see a number of Montmartre photos taken between 1886 and 1890. They were presented by a friend, Rodolphe Trouilleux, author of – not only - the bestseller "Paris Secret et Insolite" (“Unexplored Paris”). This was organized by the “Société Histrorique et Archéologique du Vieux Montmartre” and took place at the Montmartre Museum, which is under their responsibility.
I told a bit of the history of this museum in a post in November 2009, when there was a risk that it would be closed. Now, I just wish to remind you that many artists used to have their studios there, including Renoir, Suzanne Valadon and her (their?) son Maurice Utrillo, Raoul Dufy… When Renoir lived and worked here (some ten years earlier than the photos we saw), he made several paintings in the garden, including the famous “Balançoire” (The Swing) and it was also here that he completed the equally famous “Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette”, both of which were saved to the posterity by Gustave Caillebotte (see previous post)
From the garden you have a nice view of the Montmartre vineyard (see previous post), of the little Saint Vincent Cemetery (see previous post) and, in between the two, the cabaret “Lapin Agile” (see previous post).
When leaving in the nice spring evening – it was slowly getting dark – I decided for a small walk around Montmartre. This gave me the opportunity to compare the façade of “Lapin Agile” today and in 1886. It looks the same, but the original illustration is now saved in the museum, replaced by a copy.
There is a certain nightlife, a number of restaurants and bars..., the small cinemas and the theatre had already received their spectators..., the during the day normally crowded places were very calm..., as of course the small alleys.
But the best and calmest part is perhaps the northern slopes of the hill and some of the fantastic private homes. (The only problem is that it makes you a bit envious.)
This is where you can find the museum.