Montmartre is synonymous with art. The Impressionistic movement was born and raised on the highest hill in Paris. Hoping to find “real artists” in Montmartre, we booked an art history docent Marie Dessaillen through Context Travel Paris for a tour of the area.
We climbed our way up and down the quiet, petit, winding back streets to the top never seeing more than a handful of locals going about their everyday life.
And just as I was about to give up the notion of seeing artists in Montmartre in action, we came around a corner and saw a true artist, engrossed in his work. He was concentrating so hard on the landscape he was painting that I dared not get too close to take his photo. I didn’t comfortable peeking over his shoulder, invading his privacy. He muttered very softly to himself and gazed up laser focused on the landscape in front of him. I observed him for just a couple of minutes, but it was enough for me to know he was “the real deal” so I reverently moved past hoping not to disturb the master at work.
An artist and a trend setter
Of the 1,000 photographs I took on this trip, the one of him is my absolute favorite. I also recall being impressed with his fashion sense. Cashmere sweater with the perfect red scarf accent, jeans no belt rolled up at the bottom, navy lace up sneakers, a banded straw hat and carrying everything in a backpack. Eclectic ensemble, but very put together – so European. I hesitated a moment or two before taking the photo to look around. For a brief moment I wondered if this was a movie set and he was acting as a prop because the scene seemed so perfect. Alas, he was alone with his paint, canvasses and brushes working diligently unaware of my existence. I admire his ability to focus so intently.
Monet in the making?
Did I miss an opportunity to meet the next future Monet? Perhaps, but this trip is more about observing a story than creating one. And, if someday he does become famous, I have an original photo of this real artist in Montmartre creating one of his famous works. How cool is that?
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