Montmartre and Pigalle, Paris, France

Uploaded by Mxsmanic on 07.03.2011

Pigalle is a neighborhood of Paris that has historically been a kind of red-light district.
Clichy Boulevard runs right through Pigalle. It has a pedestrian median.
Besides sex shops, Pigalle also has many small theaters (not sex theaters).
But the sex shops are what draw the tourists, and they are numerous.
This is an “erotic supermarket.”
And this is an “erotic museum,” which is actually rather tastefully organized, considering.
The median of the boulevard used to be parking, but it has been remodeled for pedestrians.
A key attraction of Pigalle is the Moulin Rouge nightclub.
“Moulin Rouge” means “Red Mill,” and there is indeed a red mill at the Moulin Rouge.
The show is quite elaborate, and attracts many tourists.
The original Red Mill burned down, so the current mill is just a reconstruction.
This is the line of people waiting to get in to see a show, which includes an optional meal.
Sex shops aren’t as successful as they used to be, with the rise of the Internet.
But Pigalle is somewhat of a tourist attraction, so the shops here still survive.
This sort of thing was much more scandalous in the past.
But today many large cities have areas with sex shops, so Pigalle is no longer unique.
City ordinances limit how much can be shown in shop windows.
Clothing, toys, and videos seem to be the major types of merchandise on sale.
Some shops and sex shows have hawkers out in front, like the one you see here.
This massive multi-story sex shop is pratically a red-light answer to Walmart.
So much for Pigalle … let’s visit the Montmartre Butte.
This street leading up to the Butte, is filled with souvenir shops and … fabric stores.
The fabric stores are there because there are big fabric department stores nearby.
The souvenir shops obviously target the hordes of tourists going up to the Butte.
There are several ways to get up to the Butte, but this street is the most popular way.
Another fabric store amidst the tourist traps.
And here is Sacré-Cœur Basilica, and built of travertine, similar to marble.
Travertine stays white as it ages, keeping Sacré-Cœur bright white over time.
One of many, many stairways leading up to the Montmartre Butte, highest point in Paris.
And here’s one of the city’s ubiquitous sanisettes—self-cleaning, high-tech street toilets.
After each use, the sanisette cleans itself in a 90-second wash cycle.
[The noise behind us is an elementary school.]
This is the Montmartre Funicular, a cable car that takes you to the top of the Butte.
It was rebuilt a few years ago, and it accepts regular Métro tickets.
Although French schoolkids apparently prefer to defraud the system instead.
Two cars move in opposite directions up and down the hill.
The view is nice, but the cars aren’t air-conditioned, which is a problem in summer.
The ride only lasts for a minute or so. There are stairs next to it if you prefer to climb.
The cars move in opposite directions, but they are fully independent of each other.
The funicular doesn’t go to the very top of Montmartre Butte, but it goes most of the way.
Some people prefer to just climb the stairs … but there are a lot of #@&% stairs!
There are several huge stairways at various points around the Butte.
Most of them are very photogenic, but still rather exhausting.
There are some winding streets that lead up to the Butte, too, if you hate stairs.
And here we are! Somewhat winded, perhaps, but happy!
This last stairway leads to Sacré-Cœur. The Basilica was completed in 1914.
This makes Sacré-Cœur “young” by the standards of Parisian churches.
No photos, videos, or “immodest” clothing are allowed inside.
You can climb up into the dome, too, if you have the energy.
There are often street performers on the Butte.
They usually select their songs from an extremely short playlist.
At least this one isn’t singing “Hey Jude” or “Let It Be,” which is refreshing.
The “human statue” style of street performer is popular, too.
Another hugely popular attraction on the Butte is the artists’ square.
Here artists produce and sell original works, such as paintings and portraits.
Despite appearances, they don’t just walk up here and set up shop.
They need a permit from the city to get a spot, and there are rules to be followed.
The painters must always have a work in progress on their easels.
Everything they sell must be an original work of art created by them.
Also, if an artist does your portrait, he cannot force you to buy it.
In winter, the square is entirely filled by artists.
In summer, many artists go on vacation and the restaurants put terraces in their place.
[Sorry about the noise, someone was doing renovation work near the square.]
In fact, the square is surrounded by restaurants and cafés.
The food is mostly average, but the atmosphere is unbeatable.
A lot of the artists are a bit eccentric and curmudgeonly.
Portrait artists will do your portrait on the spot.
But watch them do someone else’s portrait before you agree to spend your money.
The portraits they have on display might represent days of careful work.
What you get after 20 minutes of work might look very different.
Some of them are very talented, others … well, not as talented.
There’s a distinction between painters and portrait artists.
And then there are caricature artists, a subset of the portrait artists.
Some artists will put multiple portraits on one canvas, if you want.
In wintertime, you’ll need something to keep you warm while posing for a portrait.
Here’s a caricature artist. Again, some are great, some are so-so.
Although the food isn’t haute cuisine, the restaurants around the square are nice.
They sell decent meals at decent prices, and after climbing the butte one is often hungry.
Many of these restaurants have been around for a very long time.
Some are even famous in varying degrees.
These spots on the square are much coveted by artists, but things aren’t always busy.
The bell is from a little tourist train that trundles up and down the Butte, for a fee.
The entire area is pedestrian and filled with shops, mostly souvenir shops.
If you don’t want a meal, you can just buy a crêpe with your choice of toppings.
There are several nice crêpe stands and shops on the Butte.
Nutella (a chocolate spread) seems to be the most popular filling for crêpes.
Many of these streets have been in the same spot for centuries.
On the north side of the Butte, more steps lead back down.
However, the tourist track stops here and tourists rarely visit the north side.
There are also many beautiful little streets on the Butte, especially to the west.
But here again, tourists rarely stray far from the beaten path.
There are many beautiful homes and apartments in the area, all different.
Exploring means a lot of walking up and down, however.
The tourists stick mostly to a handful of streets at the top of the Butte.
And tourist shops are understandably thick on the ground here.
The shops that sell “original art” often buy it wholesale from China, so beware.
That’s the west side of Sacré-Cœur looming in the background.
Despite the tourists, the atmosphere is nice. And there are a few locals, too, of course.
And to be honest, some of the souvenirs are interesting, too—it’s not all tacky.
This tiny street is right next to the crowds of toursts, but they never visit it.
There’s a very nice art supply store on the street, and restaurants at both ends.
This tiny street is charming, too. And some restaurants have music, as you can hear.
“Rue Poulbot” means “[Street] Urchin Street.”
We conclude our tour here, at the eastern end of the touristy area, on Norvins Street.
These two restaurants are very well known; the red one often appears on postcards.
Thank you for watching my video.