Roam-ancing the Stone: A Lovers Walk in Montmartre

Here’s hoping you’re surrounded by loved ones and warm embraces on this fine Valentine’s Day!

I was asked to to write a love-themed article for my friends over at Paris by Heart, an agency that connects travelers with local Paris apartments. So I mapped out a romantic lovers walk along the streets of Montmartre, with addresses that lend themselves to kisses, cuddles, and the contemplation of Parisian amour.  Here’s an excerpt:

Exit the park and take a right until Rue Ravignan. Climb it until you reach a small cobblestone square and a building labelled Le Bateau Lavoir. This was the scene of a bohemian love story featuring a then-unknown Spanish guy called Pablo Picasso.

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He fell in love here for the first time, with a young mademoiselle named Fernande Olivier. But Pablo was too shy to do anything about his crush, so he got creative by adopting the cutest, fluffiest kitten he could find. Each time she walked by he would stand in the doorway of Le Bateau Lavoir, petting the kitty in hopes it would start a conversation. One day it worked, and the two became lovers for many years.

PBH_Valentines Walk 7_Corey Frye

Interestingly, a shift in Picasso’s palette is visible during this time. The sombre blues and blacks of his Blue Period gave way to the hopeful hues of his Rose Period, a transition that some attribute to the arrival of his first true love. Good on you, Fernande.

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Take a left onto Rue d’Orchampt and continue until Place Marcel Ayme. Another sort of love story is behind an intriguing sculpture emerging from a wall. The French call him Le Passe-Muraille, a literary character who discovers he has the ability to walk through walls.

He falls in love with a married woman whose husband locks her inside her bedroom before going out each night. No problem for our hero, who walks right into her house for romantic trysts while hubby is away. But one night while leaving, he suddenly loses his powers and gets stuck in a wall forever more.

You’ll note that the sculpture’s left hand is shiny. That’s because visitors rub it for good luck…though with luck like his, you may want to hold your partner’s hand instead.

To read my full article on the Paris by Heart website click here. And don’t be afraid to browse their selection of Paris apartment rentals…you might just end up falling in love.


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