Paris, two years on

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”

E. Hemingway

View from Sacre Coeur

Atop Sacré Coeur

My first weeks in Paris were pretty miserable. After post-graduation bliss in Durham and a sun-drenched London summer, Paris was a disappointment.

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The declining fortunes of La Place du Tertre

‘My name is Picasso,’ he says, eyes glinting mischievously over a big, bushy, grey moustache. ‘And I sell thousands of paintings a day.’




His booming laugh echoes out around La Place du Tertre. Above him, in the historic heart of Montmartre, the white dome of Sacre Coeur glistens in the early morning sun. Pigeons shuffle and flit, pecking between the cobbles. Empty cafes line the perimeter of the square as one or two Parisians cradle their steaming espressos al fresco. Perched high above the city, painters here huddle over their work, braced against the winter cold. Lovingly they tend to their windows onto imagined worlds.

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