Monday, 24 February 2014

A walk around Montmartre

I am inviting you for a walk around Montmartre, a part of the 18th area of Paris (France) visited by millions of tourists every years. It is famous for the Sacré Choeur Basilica, the painters working at the Place du Tertre and its village atmosphere… Unfortunately, you also have to watch out for pickpockets.

Sacré Choeur Basilica

Jean-François de la Barre statue

A statue of Jean-François de la Barre is located in the Nadar garden (Square Nadar), at the feet of the basilica. The current bronze statue is the work of sculptor Emmanuel Ball (and Kalkolitik was the art foundry). It was installed in the garden in February 2001.

The plinth is inscribed with the following inscription (in French):

To the Chevalier de La Barre
Who was tortured to death
On July 1st, 1766
For not saluting
A Procession 

De la Barre became a symbol of religious intolerance and remained in French history thanks to Voltaire, a French writer and philosopher who professed humanism and opposed intolerance in any form. I would recommend that you read Candide by Voltaire (available at Project Gutenberg in French and in English)

The base of the statue is inscribed with a quote by Voltaire from his Dictionnaire Philosophique (Philosophical Dictionary): “The most remarkable is the universal tolerance” (or in French “La plus remarquable est la tolérance universelle”)

The plinth is older than the current statue. A first statue, created in 1900, represented de la Barre chained to a column. It was judged disquieting and moved in 1926 to a remote place, before it was destroyed in 1941.

Wallace Fountains

Just outside the Nadar Garden is a Wallace FountainThese beautiful fountains were financed by Sir Richard Wallace, an English philanthropist who lived and died in Paris. He wanted to make sure that homeless people in Paris would not have to pay for fresh water.

Charles-Auguste Lebourg designed the cast-iron sculptures for the fountains.


When you go down the stairs (a few hundreds of them) to go back to the bottom of the hill, you can see a wall full of graffiti.

General De Gaulle meets Bob Marley

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