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Walking around Montparnasse with Sparkfriend Jolie!

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hello dear Sparkfriends,

Today was a special treat, as I went for a walk around the Montparnasse area of Paris with Sparkfriend JOL1KEY2BOL3 (Jolie), who is in France for a couple of weeks. We had met twice before and spoke often since. So it was like seeing an old friend!

We parked in a little street not far away from this lovely flower shop, then walked to boulevard Edgar Quintet (in the Southern part of Paris, near Montparnasse station)...

... where the art market was out! There were things I liked, and it looks like many of the paintings were affordable (that is compared to the Parisian art galleries!). I might go back, one of these days, to take a closer look!

A bit further on the boulevard Edgar Quintet, we followed the high walls of the Montparnasse Cemetery (built in 1819)...

... and then we went in...

I usually really don't like cemeteries in France, which I find ugly and depressing with all these stones and marble tops... but this one was interesting.

A bit like the famous Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, North-East of Paris, a number of famous people are buried in this cemetery.

For example, we found the grave of "La Comtesse de Ségur", who is one of the most well-known writers of children's books in France. I loved her books as a child! [EDIT: Sorry Sparkfriends, it is actually an other Comtesse de Ségur burried here! (I did think the dates didn't match!!!)... The writer, who died in 1874, is buried in Pluneret, in Brittany... Many thanks to TERMITEMOM for this information! Sparkfriends are just the best!]

What I most wanted to see actually was this round tower, which was built many decades before the cemetery. It used to be a windmill, and was kept, without its wings, as a house for the guards of the cemeteries. But they didn't like being right in the middle of the cemetery like this and soon moved near the entrance.

You might have heard that the Montparnasse area used to be, in the 19th and first part of the 20th centuries, an area where many artists lived. It all started with the cemetery, as sculptors and other artists moved here because they were employed to make beautiful graves and monuments. Then other artists moved to Montparnasse as well.

Then we left the cemetery, passed the Denfert-Rochereau square, and found rue Hallé...

Further away, on avenue du Général-Leclerc, the La Rochefoucauld hospital, which first opened in 1783, hosts old people as it did back then.

One of the places I preferred during this walk was definitely rue Daguerre, with its wonderful atmosphere and beautiful food shops!

We turned in rue Boulard, where #21 and its second-hand book shop probably have the oldest door of the whole area...

(Hi Jolie!)

It is precious when it is possible to enter courtyards well hidden behind high walls and to see the buildings behind... this one was a special treat, I thought!

Near the 14th arrondissement's town hall (Paris has one big Town Hall for the whole city plus a smaller one for each of the 20 arrondissements)...

... this statue and the pigeons made me smile...

... and I found this old fashioned shoe mender's shop quite moving. I suspect it would have looked more or less the same 50 years ago!

Can you see what the sculpture on the table represents? (It was the backyard of an antique shop.)

It is the lower part of a face, with a big nose, a mouth and a chin. :)

A bit further away, this shop selling Eiffel Tower bags probably has lots of success with tourists!

Before crossing the cemetery again and going back to my car, we passed the famous 'Chez Papa' restaurant, with food typical from the South-West of France. It made me hungry and I was glad we had home-made sandwiches waiting for us in the car!

And this was our walk today... I hope you enjoyed sharing it with us! I am so grateful for Jolie's visit, and I can't wait for her to be back in Paris next week after her time in Brittany. I hope you'll join us for our hike or walk then!

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