Whilst bus loads of tourists come to climb the steps of the Sacré Coeur, there is another way up the hill to Montmartre. Winding through the cobbled streets thronged with people doing their Saturday shop you can envision the old Parisian lifestyle which other arrondissements left in favour of modernity.
Climbing up the steps, the back way not the stairs teeming with tourists, I marvelled at how the artisan lifestyle continues on today whether it be in galleries or the street art lining the walls; and finally as my calves began to cramp I reached the top of the stairs with my own personal view of Paris – at least in that minute I thought it was mine.
Firmly chained to the railing at the top of the stairs overlooking Paris was a lone padlock engraved with a couples initials. But why a lock? An Eastern European story tells of lovers who met on a bridge until one of them died. Girls in the region soon placed padlocks on the bridge to safe guard their love like the stories characters could not. It’s become a tradition in a number of areas of Europe, including on bridges over the Seine river in Paris, to lock a padlock onto a bridge with your lover and then throw your key into the river below.
But to me this place, high above the streets of Montmartre is better than shared on a bridge with thousands of other locks. Here the lovers could be alone and catch moments of quiet together and bath themselves in the cities lights; Because hundreds of people would pass them everyday but they would remain hidden to all but a few who notice them locked firmly on the railing.
Whilst in that minute I shared their spot I knew I didn’t dwell there long because it was their spot where their love belonged and I was just a spectator.
Paris really is full of cliques, but the city of love it is.
J + D