Header image by Natalie Rapoport. Antoni Gaudi. Sagrada Familia. Barcelona.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Paris. Montmartre. I love Paris for many things and one of them that each and every its area- arrondissement – is distinctively different.  Every arrondissement has the history  and character of its own and Montmartre hill is literally above all.

Unmistakable rooftops and chimneys. Panoramic view from the very top of Montmartre.
And a true Parisian, a pigeon minding his own business, streamed into view. Very rear shot as if he was photoshopped, but he wasn't.

Beloved and commemorated by  numerous artists and poets, with its windmills – moulins, cabarets and dancing – bal musettes, steep hilly streets and stairs –escaliers. Daring, turbulent and picturesque, overlooking the rest of Paris below.

In 1880-es Montmartre from a village at Paris’s outskirts woke up and rapidly turned into cultural phenomenon and epicenter of entertainment.
Populated with hard working people, seamstresses and laundresses, aspiring models and poor, dashing artists, flower girls and coquettes, wine makers and craftsmen, poets and writers, chansoniers  and all sorts of radicals it was as free spirited and unruly and rebellious as the Paris could be. There was even a short lived Montmartre Republic once.

Many satire, pranks, anecdotes and Paris legends originated there. Montmartre always knew how to work endless hours and it surely knew how to laugh out loud mocking all those puffy and snobbish bourgeois, teasing and tempting with unheard of music and unseen of  cancan  moves of  all La Goulue and Jean Avril-esque girls, and Parisians flocked there for a healthy laugh, all night fun at café-bals, gunguettes – dancehall-restaurants, which sprang all over the hill, just watch or dance.

Toulouse –Lautrec  immortalized those circus daredevils, dancing girls in unbelievable up high jetes and flying skirts, as well as tired and worn out night butterflies of infamous brothels.

And of course Chat Noir, Au Lapin Agile, Aristid Bruant in his iconic red scarf.
The theatrical poster  and fun announcement became a graphic  Art forever linked to Paris.
It was from here that cabarets later spread out throughout the Europe, especially in Germany.
From the top of the hill to Moulin Rouge downhill and further to Champs-Elysees cafe-concerts 
colored the city of lights happy and sparkled the nightlife.

And though its heydays  fin de siecle in the end of 19th –early 20th century  is gone, vineries don’t produce and mills don’t catch the wind, it still catches the eyes of thousands of tourists, who make its cobblestone streets impossible to navigate in high season.
Its charm is irresistible. Moulin de la Galettes is still there though its purely decorative now.
How many times Sacre Coeur made it on to canvas or a photo? Probably millions. Little did Maurice Utrillo knew depicting those simple street scenes and corners that he would end up in postcards in souvenir shops along with Lautrec’s posters.

Take your apple tart and a coffee outside the cozy café and enjoy it while watching people and street scenes. Grab a delicious ice-cream and loose yourself in winding streets away from beaten paths and you might as well stumble upon the same view you’ve seen so many times in art books.

Thank you for coming.

* All images Copyright  Natalie Rapoport

PS. I'm very excited to invite you to my recently launched print store Click Away Photography on     Etsy. 
Please click at the right side.


  1. Bonjour Natalie. Thank you for your visit today. I loved taking this walk around Montmartre (a favorite neighborhood of mine) with you today. Can you believe I once found a travel guide that recommended his readers stay away from Montmartre because it was all "too touristy?" -- It's so easy to avoid the crowds, even in the summer, by going early in the day, and watch the neighborhood waking up... I can't imagine how many poor souls have skipped the hill altogether while following that book's advice. Quel dommage. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  2. I love Montmartre too...we have had many wonderful visits there...your photographs are stunning, especially the first one...well captured!

  3. Oh Natalie...how beautiful is that first shot....Bravo! I think my favourite photo of Paris!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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