One of my favorite movies, “Amelie”, was also filmed in Montmartre. While we were there, we did a little scavenger hunt about places that appeared in the movie. Actually, they are not hard to find at all. First we passed by a window that was covered with Amelie’s posters and screen shots from the movie, and then we realized that it was the Collignon’s fruit stand.
Later in the day, after we finished the tour, we all agreed to find the cafe that Amelie used to work at. The bar is still called “Café des 2 Moulins” as it was in the movie, and the interior of the bar was not changed that much. In reality, there is no tobacco stand in the cafe. The WC is really interesting, they kept something that appeared in the movie, such as the Mr. Pig lamp beside Amelie’s bed, Amelie’s father’s red hat dwarf, and some pictures from the movie.
At night, our professors took all of us to the Moulin Rouge. It is the most famous cabaret in Paris, the famous French Cancan dance originated from here. The big red wind mill is its signature, and it has red lights all over the place. There are three shows everyday, one at 7:00 pm, one at 9:00 pm, and one at 11:00 pm. We watched the one at 9:00 pm. People are not allowed to take pictures during the performances, because there are professional photographers to take pictures for the customers. Moulin Rouge is a very commercial place, and most customers are visitors from all over the world. It is a variety show with dancing, acrobatics, animal performances, ventriloquist, etc. All of the dancers wear very elaborate costumes. Of course, the male and female dancers are all pretty and handsome. The interior of the Moulin Rouge is authentic to the 19th century, I really like the decorations, and took many pictures of it. After the show ended, all of us came back to the Cité Internationale by specially reserved cars instead of taking the metro. It was the first time for me to see the night view of Paris, it is beautiful.
Today is the high point of our tour, both literally and figuratively.
Today is all about Montmartre. Au Lapin Agile is one of the oldest cabaret in Paris, which was built in the 1860’s. It is pretty small, you might not even notice them when you pass it by. But it was the favorite place of many many artists, writers, and painters. Such as Picasso, Modigliani, Apollinaire, and Utrillo, just to name a few. On the front wall of the cabaret, there is a rabbit dancing on a pot, which is a signature of the cabaret. A lot of interesting stories happened here. For example, Picasso gave one of his paintings to the cabaret’s owner to pay for his bar tab. The owners sold the painting a few years later for twenty francs. In the 1940s, the painting was sold for 42 million dollars at auction!
Sacre Coeur is a church built in the 19th century. What’s special about the church is the location. People can see the church from almost every corner in Paris, and we can also see the amazing view of Paris in front of the church, so it becomes the best place to take pictures. Also, people believed that the church has the relic of the heart of Jesus.
Tonight everyone came back really late, so we will finish the rest of the post tomorrow.
Bonne nuit !
Yesterday we had a walking tour round the medieval Paris, also we had a wonderful professor of medieval linguistics, Olivier Bertrand, to lead us.
The first place that we went is an ancient roman arena called Arenes de Lutece, and Lutece is the name of Paris during that time.
Rowdy in front of the Arena
We have been walking through many narrow roads that were built during the medieval age. And when we came to the modern and wide streets, we saw some le panthéon, the law school of the university of Paris, and Sorbonne University.
- University of Paris, the Law School
Then we went to the Notre Dame and spent the most time there, and we also visited the Notre Dame Museum. The museum exhibited how does Paris looks like and the history of the city when it still called Lutece.
Notre Dame Museum, the ancient Lutece city walls.
the “zero point” in front of Notre Dame, it is the start for French to measure the distance from other cities to Paris, or from other places in the world to Paris.
Our professors also read a chapter from the “Notre-Dame de Paris” in both English and French. It was a very special thing to do, even though it was raining, I enjoyed it anyway.
The back of Notre Dame
To end the tour, Prof. Bertrand inveited all of us to his apartment to have some snack and drinks. Visiting a Parisian’s apartment was an experience that we would never have if we just travel to Paris by ourselves.