MONTMARTRE, or
the « Butte » as it is known locally, is the part of Paris most full
of contrasts : anonymous boulevards to small delightful village streets…
from simply dressed residents out doing their local shopping to fancy club goers
who don’t go home until the early hours of the morning !

History :

The name
Montmartre dates back to Roman times. The name probably comes from two sources
on the hill : from a temple dedicated to Mercury or Mars, and also from local
martyrs who were tortured in the area some time around AD 250.

In the Middle
Ages, the hill was the flourishing centre for a Benedictine convent. The
convent continued to play an important role under Henry IV and later Louis XIV.
In 1794, during the French Revolution, the last abbess was guillotined and the
convent buildings were razed. The area then became known as “Mont-Marat”.

In 1871,
Montmartre played an important role of resistance first against the Prussians
and then as a point of resistance of the Commune de Paris against the French
Government, located at the time  in
Versailles.

Montmartre is
probably best known for its 19th century artists and men of letters
who lived a “bohemian” life style for that period. One thinks particularly of
the composer Berlioz, the poet Gérard Nerval, the song-writer, Aristide Bruant,
or the artist, Toulouse-Lautrec. After this period, later generations of
artists congregated more in Montparnasse (in South-Central Paris), and
abandoned Montmartre to its nocturnal entertainments.

Today:

Montmartre
draws tourists in search of the “Belle Epoque”, or to enjoy the fabulous view
from the hill over the city of Paris.

The Visit :

Students will
be invited to visit the unknown parts of the “Butte”: its vineyards, the garden
of the Villa des Brouillards, the residence of Gerard Nerval, the “Place du
Tertre”, Utrillo’s house…and the tiny streets of the Butte. Certain of the
secret places that the crowds going to the Sacré Cœur Church don’t know!