Montmartre has character, was what I said when a friend asked me how it was. She also said (of course not in her exact words as I cannot remember) that it was another way of saying that Montmartre was dodgy as hell. And it was quite dodgy, especially where we stayed for the first half, which was directly opposite the Barbes Rochechouart metro station. If you’re looking to experience Paris away from the romanticized depictions you have come to be familiar with, I highly recommend Barbes. Nerve-wrecking but also incredibly thrilling, with men trying to sell you cigarettes, women selling soaps, forming a makeshift market right outside the station. So, when I say that Montmartre has character, I don’t entirely mean ‘dodgy’ because that word has a form of negative connotation which I do not intend to associate with this place.
It was an incredibly hot day and a 10 minute walk brings us to this place, overcrowded with tourists. We sat on the steps savoring some quiche and a raspberry and clotted cream crepe which I crave for sometimes back home. When people cry in churches, it makes me wonder. We took a slow walk around Montmartre towards the cemetery while I soak in the heat and the sight of crowded cafes lining the streets. It made me think of what Dali or Goddard might have been thinking as they walked the very same streets.
This is the view from my hostel window. I remember how it smells, the room. The sour stench of a man whom I assume did not bathe or even if he did, I wouldn’t have known. He sleeps on the bunk above mine, and once, his deepest dreams, whatever they might be, jolted him out from it, in which he fell from the bed (thankfully he was alert enough to gain composure and not fall on me as I would have died both from the weight and the overbearing smell). We usher the new day with a Japanese man in our hostel’s common area, singing songs on his guitar: Wonderwall seems to be a hit with acoustic guitarists, despite nationalities.