“Amélie has a strange feeling of absolute harmony. It’s a perfect moment. A soft light, a scent in the air, the quiet murmur of the city. A surge of love, an urge to help mankind overcomes her.” – from the movie The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain (Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain ).
Maybe it was the effect of the movie or maybe partly my imagination, but I am willing to see Montmartre on a color palette that made me enjoy Amélie even more, that warm shade of yellow, red and green, the color filter evoking the feeling of happiness and comfort, an ode to the undeniable artistic beauty of the City of Lights.
And so I went to the district of Montmartre on an early morning Tuesday, when most of the cafés are still close, where the neon light sex shops signs at Boulevard de Clichy are off, where the souvenir peddlers are nowhere to be found. There is something beautiful about quietly walking on a known busy district when the day was about to start and for a given moment the district was all mine to enjoy.
Though my momentary early morning epiphany of some sort was in fact cut short by the sheer number of tourists alike arriving every minute hoping to experience the same, as we all together tackle the steps leading to Montmartre highest landmark- the magnificent Basilique du Sacré-Cœur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris).
With the dominating figure of Sacre Coeur Basilica and the streets are lined with nightclubs including the tourist magnet red windmill façade of Moulin Rouge, to roughly describe the district of Montmartre is to basically use these two exact words- church and nightclub, an interesting mix though not necessarily unusual.
I wish I had more time to idle away on Montmartre back alleys and get to know the district more than the cliches, and maybe I could have completely submerge myself into my full Amélie musings.