Musée de Montmartre
To think that I almost didn’t go into this museum. Something (possibly the devil) made me decide that morning that I wouldn’t have time, or that the entry fee (13€) wouldn’t be worth it, or something. But then I walked right by it as I was wandering around in Montmartre, and on a last-second impulse, I went inside. And I am ever so glad that I did.
The museum is actually located in a building that has historically served as the home of a number of artists, including Renoir, Suzanne Valadon, and the latter’s husband and son, André Utter and Maurice Utrillo.
This part of the museum, which served as Valadon’s home, is preserved and made to look as it did when she occupied it. Suzanne Valadon originally intended to have a career as an acrobat, but an accident made it so that she sought to become an artist and artist’s model instead. She posed for Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir, and Degas, and learned what she could from them until she met the latter and he became her mentor. She was extremely prolific and created around 273 drawings, 478 paintings, and 31 etchings, and her work is today part of various museum collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art And the Centre Georges Pompidou.
The light in this room. Even on a cloudy Parisian day such as the one on which I visited this museum, the quality of the light is striking.
This room served as Valadon’s atelier, and it is so beautifully filled with knick-knacks and clutter, with treasures in every corner. I have no need of a painting studio, but I dream of owning a room like this.
The gardens of the house have been immortalized in Renoir’s paintings, and his work was actually used as a guide for their more recent renovations.
The museum’s permanent collection serves to outline Montmartre’s history. Prior to the 19th century, Montmartre had been farmland, dotted with windmills and vineyards which slowly disappeared and were replaced by cabarets and cafés after Paris annexed it in 1860.
Thought to be the first modern cabaret, Le Chat Noir originally opened in 1881 and remained so until 1897, closing not long after the death of its founder, Rodolphe Salis.
Located inside the Musée de Montmartre, this café is a tiny and cozy spot which gave me the perfect excuse to stop and take a break before leaving the museum.