Saturday, June 7, 2008


The transformation of the petits commerçants in my neighborhood, Lepic /Abbesses has accelerated to the dismay of the local montmartrois. Helplessly, we watch butcher shops become banks, boulangeries transform into
baby clothes boutiques, and hardware stores into real estate offices. The gilded fronted shop of le chevalin (horse butcher) has been replaced by a phone store.
Far more tragic, this winter the hotel Le Bouquet de Montmartre, on the corner of rue des Abbesses and le rue Durantin was sold to make way for a luxury apartment complex. Although a little seedy (pun intended), it was in the heart of our village.  I‘ve often put visiting friends and family there so they could view the unusual street life.
How many love stories began at Le Bouquet? I know an American couple that stayed there many moons back. They were so in love with this spot, they named their first dog Abbesses. A golden retriever!

I wanted to get it before the cranes. I set my easel up next to the rectory of L’Eglise Saint Jean de Montmartre. The first day was very cold but sunny.I read on my new Golden paint pot. “Avoid freezing” What about me? The hard-hats were already on the roof. I was interrupted by snow, and then by sleet. Inspired by the old postman adage, I continued for short periods day after day. One tourist remarked that it looked like Barcelona The color seem to come by itself,
I put the corner of Le Saint Jean, my first and favorite cafè when I arrived in Montmartre, in the foreground and Le Coqlecot , a very trendy eatery and so-so boulangerie on the right. One of les filles that works on the street nearby at night told me that it used to be a Nite Club and rolled her eyes to imply more. Many people stopped to chat and lament about the changes in the neighborhood. I had become a talking post.
I finished it in early May just as the Mulberry Tree leaves were sprouting.

I walked by today with Nina. Some of the new windows have been installed. They looked quite nice. Maybe it won't be as bad as I feared. The neighborhood could use some new
faces and new ideas. They just have to understand that they're living in Montmartre.
And as a renowned New York Maitre'd once said to her staff. "There's no reason to hate them, just because they're rich."

1 comment:

  1. Just browsing the net, in a nostalgic mood. The first time I went abroad from my home in London was on my first honeymoon - 23 June 1978. There was no Eurostar back then and the journey was tortuous; it took most of the day. Train from London to Gatwick, a hop over the Channel to Le Touquet on board an oily, dirty turbo-prop, slow train to Gare du Nord, metro to Pigalles where we got lost for a while before finding our way to Hotel Bouquet de Montmartre. Was old fashioned even then, redolent of cigar smoke, varnish and freshly baked bread. Was the most magical week. The marriage didn't last & neither did the Bouquet de Montmartre...



Ruby chez la princess from