When I was in Paris I was fortunate enough to stay in a small, beautifully Parisian apartment in Montemarte. The sidewalk in front of the apartment was teaming with street vendors, open air shops, tourists wandering, and locals watching it all as they dined at bistros. I felt like Amelie (one of my favorite movies) as I wandered through the streets of Montemarte. I could hear the soft accordion playing in the background, and kept expecting to see Amelie, with her big eyes and impish smile staring at me from inside a bistro. The apartment was on the fourth floor, which felt quite high up once you stood on the balcony and surveyed the city before you. Beautiful ornate blue doors led you to the lobby of the building, where each mailbox had a delightfully french last name on it.
Only one person at a time could go into the elevator, two if neither had baggage on them. Once in the apartment, you were led into a narrow hallway, lined with a red turkish rug. All the walls were white, nothing was overdone. Everything about the apartment was small, the kitchen could barely fit two people, but somehow nothing felt cramped. Every bit of space was used efficiently. Also, apparently this isn’t uncommon for Europe, but in America it isn’t something you see everyday, I really liked how the toilet was in a separate room from the shower. OH, and the toilet paper was pink. Seriously, it was so cute.
The walls had framed vintage postcards on them, and every window had these beautiful white floral curtains framing them. My bedroom had a brown wicker chair in the corner and a big queen sized fluffy white bed in the center of the room. The walls were adorned with vintage posters, and the window brought in a nice light from the blue skies outside. It was hot out, almost 90 degrees Fahrenheit, so the window stayed open, and the curtains blew around the window.
From outside my window I had a view of the treetops and a little side street next to Sacré-Cœur. The apartment balcony looked out onto the streets, and you could sit and eat your croissant and look out onto the men playing card and cup games on the street below. I stood above and tried to guess which cup the ball was under, thinking that an ariel view would give me an advantage, but I still would’ve lost money if I had bet.
If you stood on the balcony and looked to the left you’d see the city sprawling out before you, or the silhouettes of buildings, each window representing a life.
I could go on forever about how beautiful the buildings were. The orange carvings, the twirls in the railing, and symmetry of each curtain and window shade… And if you looked to the right from your balcony you’d see Sacré-Cœur.
It was a short walk up the street, and the church stood in front of you, somewhat intimidating because of its incredible size, maybe an illusion because it sits atop a hill. At the base of the church there’s a small carousel, and people sit around on the grass above picnicking and enjoying their time spent outside. There were vendors selling bracelets (somewhat aggressively), and others who had bought cases of beer and stood selling them to anyone who wanted a drink to cool themselves down.
Once we had climbed all the steps we stopped and stood atop the hill overlooking the city. We soon realized that everyone was watching a young man who had climbed atop a light post, all the while balancing a soccer ball on his feet.
The view of the city from above was fantastic. It seemed to go on forever, and we were at the top of it all. Unfortunately, photographs were not allowed in the church, and words will fail me if I try to describe the ornate detailing and high ceilings of the church. I lit a candle in memory of my grandmother, a deeply religious and loving woman who I knew was watching over me as I wandered around.
The only thing I liked more than the view from atop the church was the view of the church at night. It was bright against the dark star studded sky, and it seemed so peaceful. It was like a guardian, watching over the city and watching me while I slept peacefully nearby.