A revisit historical account of Montmartre !!!

I have come here for several years ever set my foot firmly in France in 1990 on a visit and later visiting living near. It is one of the epitome places of my eternal Paris. I have written a couple posts on its icon and many of its history. However, let me indulge into my amateur history mind and my extensive history/travel library to tell you about Montmartre and its monuments in my black and white series, no pictures. Hope you enjoy the reading as I.

Due to ancient mentions of probably ancient ruins and Gallo-Roman archaeological discoveries, it is undeniable that the Butte Montmartre has been occupied since antiquity by a Gallic place of worship. However, nothing has come to attest to this religious function during this period, whereas it was evident after the Roman conquest, as indicated by the discovery, in the 19C, of the foundations of an ancient temple. The precise location of this building has been lost, but it must have been near the Moulin de la Galette and was, according to local scholarly tradition, attributed to Mars. Another temple located towards the Sacré-Coeur and the church of Montmartre is said to have been dedicated to Mercury. The location on the mound of the martyrdom of Saint Denis in the 3C, supposed apostle of the Parisians but of whom we know nothing, like the transformation of the name of Mont de Mars or Mercury into Mont des Martyrs could mark the Church’s desire to Christianize this place of pagan worship.

The construction in the 12C of the Church of Saint-Pierre, among the oldest in Paris, for the royal abbey of Montmartre by King Louis VI and his wife Adelaide of Savoy. The name of the hill of Montmartre and the Church of Montmartre, which replaced the Roman temples, was erected in honor of the holy martyrs Saint Denis, Rustique and Éleuthère, beheaded according to legend on the hill and whose chapel, located on the southern flank of the hill, was to commemorate the traditional place of execution, taking the name of Saint-Martyre. The Mont de Mars could therefore be reinterpreted around the 9C as Mont des Martyrs , then by popular derivation as “mont de martre”, martre meaning “martyr” in Old French. The toponymic substitution of the pagan mount by the Christian mount remains however hypothetical and the double etymology of Mount of Mars and Mount of the Martyrs is still currently traditionally proposed. It would be necessary, to be able to decide the question, to know what the people, in their spoken language, called this hill before the 9C, since it was at that time that the written documents recorded the change of name.

The first Merovingian church built in these places in the 6C is therefore one of the oldest Christian remains in Paris. These columns and these capitals would be the remains of an ancient temple dating from the Gallo-Roman period and reused in the Merovingian period. Montmartre has been a sacred place since antiquity. Vestiges of this period have testified to this for centuries. To be convinced of this, just go to the Louvre to admire a Pietà by the Master of Saint-Germain-des-prés (Ecoles du Nord, Richelieu wing, 2nd floor room 7). On this canvas from the 15C, we can see the ruins of Gallo-Roman buildings on the Montmartre hill. And for good reason ! These ruins remained visible until the 17C, Two Gallo-Roman temples, one to the west of rue Lepic and the other on the site of the cemetery of Saint-Pierre of Montmartre Church on the Calvary garden. The 19C buildings also hide another vestige of the Gallo-Roman era: the Fontaine au but a thermal establishment, located at the height of the Lamarck-Caulaincourt metro station. A small spring fed it. In short, the ancient columns and capitals of the Saint-Pierre-de-Montmartre Church are the only visible witnesses to the Gallo-Roman period and its spirituality.

In September 1870, Félix Fournier sent a letter to the priests of his bishopric, which would then have inspired the philanthropist Alexandre Legentil. The latter expressed the wish in 1871 to see the birth in the Butte de Montmartre, a place of worship already at the time, “a sanctuary dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus“. Construction began on June 16, 1875 ,The people of Montmartre, at the time, therefore called the basilica, the Notre Dame de la Galette, The work, delayed, will not really be finished until after the end of WWII, whose the ravages had even destroyed the stained-glass windows of the basilica. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart, known as the National Vow, located at the top of the Montmartre hill, in the Clignancourt quartier or neighborhood of the 18éme arrondissement or district of Paris, is a major Parisian religious building. The construction of this church, a monument both political and cultural, follows the post-war period of 1870. It was declared of public utility by a law passed on July 24, 1873 by the National Assembly of 1871. as part of a new “moral order” following the events of the Paris Commune, of which Montmartre was one of the highlights. It is the second most visited religious monument in Paris after Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral. Nestled in the heart of the Montmartre district, on the Butte, very close to the Anvers and Abbesses metro stations, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Montmartre seems to have always been part of Parisian heritage , Today, the Sacré Coeur continues to fascinate Parisians and tourists alike. With its many chapels, its crypt, its unique furniture, its organs and its dome rising 83 meters high, it is a must-visit when visiting Paris or simply strolling through Montmartre. Its position, overlooking the city, gives one of the most beautiful panoramas we have ever seen in Paris. This is not to be missed.

Other interesting tidbits of things to see and enjoy in your walks of Montmartre are :

The Saint-Pierre Church of Montmartre located on Place Jean Marais is the last vestige of the Royal Abbey created in 1133 by Louis VI le Gros and his wife Adélaïde de Savoie, The Montmartre Funicular provides access to the top of the Butte Montmartre at the foot of the Sacré Cœur Basilica from Place St Pierre. Line length is 108 meters , height difference 38 meters, The first water funicular was inaugurated in 1900, in 1935 it was by electricity. In 1991 it was completely rebuilt and modernized, fully automated. The old stations were destroyed, and is part of the RATP network with the same fares. At the foot of the Butte is the Moulin Rouge built in 1889, a famous place of festivities made famous by the French Cancan and frequented by Henri de Toulouse Lautrec at the end of the 19C.The Moulin de la Galette is actually made up of two mills: the “Blute-fin” and the “Radet”. It is one of the last witnesses of the ancient Butte Montmartre, once bristling with mills used to press grapes and grind grain. Its name comes from La Galette, a small rye bread that the Debray millers sliced, accompanied by a glass of milk, they were also used to press the harvest or crush the materials necessary for the factories. Moulin Radet is located at the corner of rue Lepic and rue Girardon while Moulin de la Galette (formerly blute-à-fin) is located at 75 rue Lepic high up on a mound without public access ! Moulin de la Galette is mentioned for the first time in 1622 under the name of Moulin du Palais. It became part of the Debray family heritage in 1809 and made flour. Also transformed into a guinguette in 1870, it took the name of Moulin de la Galette in 1895. The name “Blute-fin” comes from the verb “bluter” which means to sift the flour to separate it from the bran. It cannot be visited and you can’t see it dominating rue Lepic. The Moulin Radet is mentioned for the first time in 1717. In 1915, the old mill threatened with demolition was saved by the mobilization of Parisians. Its owner, Pierre-Auguste Debray offered it to the Vieux Montmartre society on the condition that it be transferred to another location. Restorations were carried out in 1978 and 2001, on the ground floor there is a restaurant.

And let me give you some quant streets of Montmartre to walk on full of charm and history I like

The square of Place Constantin Pecqueur, now Square Joël Le Tac (since Feb 2 , 2012), with an area of ​​866 m², is located on the northern flank of the Butte Montmartre. It was created in 1935, the year next was installed a monument in memory of Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen painter, draftsman, author of the poster for the cabaret Le Chat Noir. The Square Suzanne Buisson, with an area of ​​2,484 m², laid out in terraces in 1951 in an art deco style is located 7bis rue Girardon at the top of avenue Junot near place Dalida, behind the Moulin de la Galette. A statue of Saint Denis thrones in the center of the garden because it is said that at this location was a fountain in which the beheaded Saint would have washed his head. The square Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet with an area of ​​4,715 m², created in 1998 is located behind the Sacré Chœur Basilica, It was built on the site of the old mill of Turlure which operated between 1770 and 1820 at the corner of rue de la Bonne and rue du Chevalier de la Barre, The square Nadar is located at the foot of the Sacré Chœur Basilica. In 1766, François Jean de La Barre was beheaded and burned for not having greeted a religious procession in Abbeville, A statue in his likeness was erected in front of the basilica in 1905, (An idea of Clemenceau to counter the religious meaning of the basilica). The Rue de l’Abreuvoir , very short and sloping, begins on rue de Saules and ends on place Dalida. It owes its name to the fact that it led to the old drinking trough of Montmartre, The Place des Abbesses located at the foot of the Sacré-Coeur Basilica is typical of Montmartre, it includes the entrance to the art nouveau style metro by Hector Guimard, the Saint-Jean-de-Montmartre Church in red brick, the square Jehan-Rictus built on the site of the former 18C City/Town Hall. a Wallace Fountain and many shops and cafes. The Square Louise Michel (formerly Square Saint Pierre then Square Willette) was opened in 1927. Covering an area of ​​23,737 m², it begins at the foot of the Sacré-Coeur Basilica and goes down to Place Saint-Pierre. It is embellished with a large staircase leading up to the basilica, several fountains including a monumental one, as well as numerous sculptures. All sublime !!

The official Sacré Coeur Basilica: https://www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com/english/

The Paris tourist office on the Butte Montmartre: https://en.parisinfo.com/transport/73164/Butte-Montmartre

The Paris tourist office on walks in Montmartre: https://en.parisinfo.com/discovering-paris/walks-in-paris/village-paris

The Old Montmartre Society : https://www.levieuxmontmartre.com/english/index.html

The official Saint Pierre of Montmartre Church; http://www.saintpierredemontmartre.net/

There you go folks, a work of art, a wonderful place to visit my beautiful eternal Paris. It will be worth your time and effort, for walks into Montmatre and of course, the Sacré Coeur Basilica is a must. Hope you enjoy the reading as I.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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4 Comments to “A revisit historical account of Montmartre !!!”

  1. We really loved visiting our time all over France. This brings memories back of our time there. I found your site and let’s follow each other. Thanks Anita

    Liked by 1 person

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