France

The Hill of Martyrs …

Romantic alleys of Montmartre

Visitors from around the world flock to Montmartre a touristic destination where the streets are laden with souvenirs and fast food restaurants. But beyond its touristy reputation this charming village popularized by early 20th century artists was once a site of a pagan temple dedicated to Mercury and Mars. Origin of its name might well derived from the pagan gods, but it is widely accepted that it comes from the popular legend of Saint Denis the Christian Saint martyred during the reign of Trajan Decius the Roman Emperor – thus the name the Mount of Martyrs (Montmartre) Saint Denis first Bishop of Lutèce (Paris) was decapitated and with many other Christians who suffered martyrdom during the persecution in the 3rd century. After his death he was allegedly seen preaching sermon walking from the hill towards the the Basilica of Saint Denis in the outskirts of Paris while carrying his head. He was known as a cephalophore (martyrs who are beheaded) and became one of the holy helpers prayed to during infliction. He was buried under the terraces of the temple of Mars. But it wasn’t till the 5th century under the guidance of Saint Geneviève the Patron Saint of Paris that a chapel was built on his burial ground. The tomb was rediscovered in 1611. Montmartre became an arena of religious devotion and pilgrimage. In the 12th century a church and a royal abbey for women were founded by Queen Adelaide of Savoie. Today the church of Saint Peter of Montmartre is what remained of the royal abbey which was destroyed and the last abbess executed on the guillotine. With its vineyard, windmills and cobbled alleyways, Montmartre holds another historic archive … right below the basilica are steps leading to a small street Yvonne le Tac is the old Sanctum Martyrium of Montmartre where in 1534 Saint Ignatius of Loyola and his companions founded the Company of Jesus known as the Jesuits. For centuries the Mount of Martyrs has become a place of pilgrimage and up till this present day it still attract visitors worldwide. Crowd of people swarming the alleyways can be overwhelming, but come at a certain time especially in winter when the cobbled streets are devoid of tourists and Montmartre unfurls its mysterious beauty. This is Montmartre as I see it …

The cobbled alleyway of Montmartre

The bygone charm of Montmartre in the twilight hours …

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20 replies »

  1. It´s been a couple of years since my last visit to paris. You really captured the mood of this great city and made me wanting to go there myself again soon. Thank you for sharing these pictures.

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