One of the things I love about Paris is its bounty of hidden pockets of delight. One minute you’re walking down a relatively mundane street, you turn a corner and a beautiful little park or something quirky will catch your eye.
Square Jehan Rictus, a tranquil park close to Abbesses metro station
The Square Jehan Rictus is a small park close to Abbesses Métro station (the one with the iconic Art Nouveau “Metropolitain” sign). It is leafy and quiet, the perfect place to stop, rest for a while and nibble on a baguette. It is also where you’ll find a remarkable artwork called the I Love You Wall (Mur Des Je T’Aime).
The “I Love You” wall is the inspiration of artist, Frédéric Baron. Early in the 1990’s he started collecting versions of the words “I Love You” written in different languages on pieces of paper. Each piece was the same size, 21cm x 29.7cm, the size of an A4 sheet of paper. Over the years he collected over a 1000 versions and in 1998 created the book of I love you’s. (you can download a free copy from the website)
He then collaborated with Oriental calligrapher, Claire Kito who transposed all the scraps of paper onto the massive mural that is spread across a wall in the square. The mural comprises of 611 tiles made of blue enamalled lava in the same size as the original scraps of paper on which they were written.
It measures 40 square metres. The whole project was pulled together by Daniel Boulogne, a specialist in murals. Splashes of red across the mural depict the pieces of a broken heart.
When we’re in Paris we often stay in an apartment in Rue Lepic in Montmartre. Just across the road is a windmill called Moulin de la Galette.
It turned out this was quite an historic and well known windmill (maybe not quite as well known as the one at the foot of the hill…Le Moulin Rouge) and had been the inspiration for paintings by such artists as Van Gogh and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
Le Moulin de la Galette by Vincent Van Gogh courtesy Wikiart
Dance at the Moulin de la Galette by Pierre-Auguste Renoir courtesy of WikiArt
Now it’s restaurant but I can’t say what it’s like as we didn’t dine there… maybe on our next visit to Paris… but back to history. I couldn’t find out much about the windmill over the internet but I learnt that originally there were 14 mills which made up “Les Moulins de la Galette” and now there are just two. This one was built in 1622 as a wheat mill. In 1924 it was moved from its original site a bit further up the hill to its current situation at the corner of Girardon and Lepic Streets.. It made a picturesque outlook from my apartment window.