Summer

a montmartre story

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i promised i’d tell this story about what happened to alex and myself on our final day of spending two weeks in paris during the first vagabonding part of our adventure in 2012. some old-timer readers might remember it as a mention of this exists in the archives, but it definitely is deserving of a post all on its own.

we had just spent a wonderful leisurely time in the city of lights taking things very slowly. one museum that day, two park visits the next day… slow travel style (you can read my nine day itinerary i used here). 

but something i never got to do yet was visit the montmartre district, home of amelie. who doesn’t love amelie, one of the all-time most charming films in existence and the film that can, without fail, get a skeptic into the foreign film genre? (or as it’s called everywhere else in the world, films? bwahah)

i researched all of the amelie hot-spots from the film and mapped them out as to create our own little “amelie walking tour”. i had never been there before but found the district to be an absolute must see… although it’s far from the traditional center of paris and the isles, it really ought to be the heart of the city for that wonderful parisian feeling you get.

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we stopped at the fruit stand featured in the film and i bought a couple postcards there. we walked up and down alllll the steps. i got a starbucks at the cafe next to the moulin rouge. 

(note: i was in hyper starbucks love mode at the time, just coming off of four years working there so it was a bit of anthropological research, really). there was the windmills, le chat noir, and all of those things that make montmartre truly unique.

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(if you go up to sacre coeur, take some time to sit on the steps and watch this amazing acrobatic footballer– i have heard he is still there doing his thing!)

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we had hit all of the main spots i wanted to, and began heading up the hill to visit the sacre coeur for the first time. the sky was the brightest blue you could imagine, the steps were full of revelers and young people enjoying the afternoon, and the views were fantastic.

later, we had an early dinner at “the amelie cafe”, cafe des deux moulins, where she worked in the film. for those of you that have passed it but never stopped in, it is a really wonderful experience! the waiters are the most friendly english-speaking ones you’ll meet in the city, and the menu is great. (i loved the amelie memorabilia near the loos!) it really worked nicely into our amelie day and is absolutely worth a stop for enthusiasts of the film.

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but as we headed down the hill on the way to the blanche metro station to take our leave, we passed someone walking on our side of the sidewalk going up the hill in the opposite direction. i am normally pretty horrible with looking at who is walking in front of me (and being a touch nearsighted doesn’t help) but alex stopped, stuck out his hand, and without exchanging a single word, smiled and shook hands with the man going up the hill, who also smiled as well, and then we continued down.

the man did look a little familiar but i couldn’t place him. “WHO WAS THAT?” i practically pounced on alex with the question. dominique pinion was the answer! you may know him as one of the actors in the movie amelie, who plays joseph, the “depressed tape recorder guy” who stakes out a place at the cafe and stares at amelie’s co-worker the entire day until the woman falls in love with him. 

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perhaps he lived in montmartre (he is the real deal!) and was just out for a saturday evening walk. of all the neighborhoods! whatever the reason, it was absolutely the coolest cap to our amelie day in paris. truly a magical occurrence. hang around paris long enough and something really amazing will happen.

has anything like this happened while you were traveling?

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