If you are looking for something edgy and often cheap in more ways than one, you can look at short term rentals in Montmartre, Paris. Once hailed as a mecca for artists, both on canvas and paper, it is now a tourist trap. A place where bordellos, cabarets and various exotica were commonplace, is now, at night, home to peep shows and other sex shops. Yet, like much of this city, flashes of the past and glorious glimpses of beauty and wonder are there for those who want to cut through the surface coverings.
Flash from the Past
In the past, this unique village was inseparable from its artists and writers, its poets and sculptors. They held court with their disciples in places such as the Bateau Lavoir – a piano factory converted in 1889 to artists’ studios. Here, Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris and Amadeo Modigliani were among the many who lived and worked here in abject squalor. The work they created now celebrated around the world.
For a history of this section of Paris, including the Bohemians who lived and worked there, visit the Musée de Montmartre. Previously a home on Rue Cortot belonging in the 17th century to Claude de la Rose, an actor for Molière’s theater company, was also open to striving artists, including Utrillo, Dufy and Renoir. It remains while a concrete replica housing current artists occupies the space where Bateau Lavoir sat.
When the artists were not working, they played. They wandered from here to the bars and cafés such as the now notorious and oh-so touristy Moulin Rouge. This establishment, where the cancan originated is famous for inspiring such artists as Toulouse Lautrec. However, the wild passionate cavorting of the period has become Las Vegas style reviews. (For authenticity, you might want to visit the Elysees Montmartre Theatre further down the street.) You can easily recognize Moulin Rouge by the red “moulin” or windmill.
The Moulin Rouge is not the only example of local windmills repurposed. The area was once home to more than a dozen of these devices, running mills and pumping water. You can see 2 surviving examples the Moulin de la Galette and the Moulin du Radet. The latter is an upscale restaurant called Moulin de Galette, the latter, now known as Moulin Blute Fin became first an outdoor dance or music hall before becoming private property. You can walk by but cannot enter unless invited.
Short Term Rentals in Montmartre
If you stay in Montmartre, you can escape the crowds at Moulin Rouge and Sacr Coeur by climbing further up the Butte and wandering off down cobblestone side streets. Feel the edginess as you exit the Avers Gare or find affordable clothing on the Rue de Steinkerque. Visit the less renowned Church of St. Pierre that boasts several original Roman columns before heading back to your Paris accommodation, wishing, perhaps, you could afford one of the short term rentals that face the hill.
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