Both my ex and my current muse have expressed disappointment and even dislike of the city of my dreams – Venice. Of course this has not only caused me a great deal of aesthetic and emotional despair, but also complete bewilderment as to why some people so dislike tourist locations. I must add that I have a promise that we will return to Venice one of the days, to give it another chance – the city that is, not my ex.
What set me on this wandering path was a morning stroll, as I often do, through the pretty part of my neighbourhood, Montmartre. Though always a tourist hotspot, Montmartre is also a more recent cinematic magnet created by the film Amelie. As with the places mentioned in Dan Brown’s book now attracting additional interest, the locations used in Amélie are a huge draw for all wannabe romantics.
And I sincerely hope those visitors who are seeking the pristine, colourful and eccentric face of Paris are not too disappointed. For Montmartre is not just a tourist site, it is also a part of the 18th, an arrondissement that is full of the rich variety of life. It can be both grim and extraordinarily pretty at the same time and I never tire of rediscovering it each time I take a stroll.
But I like Montmartre especially, and that is particularly due to its touristic nature. When I lived in London I often headed directly for Westminster or the Southbank, Tower Hill or Piccadilly. Amongst the tourists one can disappear, wander aimlessly, stopping and staring, watching the world and the people go by. As with the nature of a herd, one can blend with the crowd, remain unnoticed and gawp at the world around without looking like someone in need of care and attention.
Today was the first time I have ever been approached by an artist at the Place du Tetre, asking if I wanted my caricature done. ‘Non, merci’ was my reply, but I secretly wanted to explain that I am an artist too and thinking that it must be a slow day if they are asking me and that maybe there is a shortage of pretty young women in Montmartre this morning…
I must add, as a footnote, that the missus has been elbowing me for referring to her as my ‘current’ muse, which I only intended to sound arty and romantic. To set the record straight I hereby correct ‘current muse’ to ‘one and only true love of my life’. Ça suffit chérie?