Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Silhouette at Montmartre

One of the most captivating spots for a traveller to the French capital city is Montmartre - mountain of the martyr. Perched high on a hill not far from the famous Moulin Rouge and a short walk from the Parisian sleaze hub of Pigalle is this towering monument, which I reached as the sun made his first moves towards the horizon one Friday evening.

Paris has the ability to make you smile even if you are a lonely, homesick and somewhat disinterested traveller, by providing an ambience of music and festivity around well advertised tourist infested destinations. Personally, after having experienced the jungles, I have found it hard to get excited or awed by monuments - including the best of them. Yet I was looking forward to Montmartre as multiple trusted Parisian friends had vouched for its effect to cast a spell.

And true to the promises, I was spell bound. There was something special about sitting on the steps that led to the Church and taking in Bob Marley songs performed by a young Frenchman bathed by a very gentle sunlight in perfect weather. There was something special about being alone in a calm crowd and observing people who were observing people. There was something special about walking inside the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur while the prayer service was in progress (some of the text on the walls inside was in Malayalam). And it was a special feeling of calm when you walked behind the dome to suddenly lose the crowd and find a lone musician practising on a saxophone in a quaint garden!

And then there was Iya. Stood precariously on a 3ft * 3ft platform, ready to roll down the hill, Iya was making a football do all that he wanted it to do. Depending on where you stood, you could see Iya lord over the city or be blessed by the sun. For once my trusted Olympus lay in Bangalore when I needed it with me. Used my phone to get some pics and video which I am posting here.

Learn more about Iya on He can also be found on youtube and may be seen at PSG. And if you happen to be in Paris, expect to find him at Montmartre (or other not too tough to find places), juggling away with his cool black cap beside him filling to the brim with coins of appreciation.

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