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Four Days in Paris

A photographic record of my visit to Paris in September 2000

Photography by John Ball except where otherwise indicated

Day 3 (Monday Sep 25th)


Today I decided to explore Montmartre, a northern district of Paris, built on a hill and with a reputation as a centre of artistic activity. From my hotel I caught the Metro to the Blanche subway station on Boulevard de Clichy.


Moulin Rouge

Above: Emerging from the subway station, one is immediately confronted by this view of the famous Moulin Rouge (Red Windmill), birthplace of the Can-Can. The Moulin Rouge was opened on 5th October 1889 and turned into a dance-hall in 1900. It was destroyed by fire in 1915, then rebuilt after the Great War. It owes its name to the windmill above the entrance, whose sails are the only surviving relics of the original nightclub.


The walk round Montmartre took me to the Cimetière de Montmarte (Montmartre Cemetery) where many notable artists, composers, and writers are buried.


Emile Zola
Above and below: The impressive grave of the writer Emile Zola (1840-1902).
Emile Zola Emile Zola

Emile Zola was born in Paris of part Italian descent. He began his literary career as a journalist, then concentrated on writing novels including Thérèse Raquin, La Fortune des Rougons, and many others. In 1899, Zola distinguished himself by his courageous and bold support for Alfred Dreyfus, an artillery captain in the French army, who in 1894 was court martialled and found guilty of revealing defence secrets to a foreign power. Despite his protestations of innocence, Dreyfus was sentenced to degradation and life imprisonment on Devil's Island, a notorious penal settlement in French Guiana. Due largely to the efforts of Emile Zola, in 1906 Dreyfus was totally exonerated, and in 1919 he was awarded the French Légion d'Honneur.


Hector Berlioz Hector Berlioz
Above: The flower-bedecked grave of composer Hector Berlioz (1803-1869).

Hector Berlioz was born in Grenoble, France, and abandoned his early study of medicine in favour of music. Among his best-known works are: Symphonie Fantastique, Romeo and Juliet, and The Damnation of Faust.


Edgar Degas Edgar Degas
Above: The grave of painter Edgar Degas (1834-1917).

Edgar Hilaire Germain Degas was born in Paris, son of a banker. He became friendly with Edouard Manet and other Impressionists. In his paintings he depicted modern life, the racecourse, cafés, theatres, and ballet. He lived to see his work called Dancers, originally sold for £20, go to America for £17,400. Many of the original paintings of Degas are in the Musée d'Orsay which I visited the following day.


Below: Not far from the Degas family grave, I came upon this intriguing memorial to the inventor of the Cyclomoteur (a light-weight motorised bicycle, known in Britain as a moped). The inscription reads,

To my lamented boss, Robert Mayet, inventor of the first moped.
3rd October 1895 - 4th December 1991
.
Robert Mayet

Click here to accompany me on the next part of my exploration of Montmartre.


Details of each website feature (for newcomers) Direct links to each website feature (for regulars) Advance news of new developments on my website Summary of all the latest updates Gateway to Welsh Family History Archive Help for those having problems accessing my website A link to the main 'gateway' page to my entire website