"I Remember Montmartre...

photo: place du tertre, 1963

...When It Was Without Mobs"

eMail from John McCulloch, via the Internet:
Dear Ric,

Saturday, 4. July 1998:- Your trip and picture of the Place du Tertre come just at the right time for me. I have been working my way through some old black and white negatives I shot in Paris as a preparation to making some new web pages.

One of the shots was of the Place during the extremely cold winter of 1962-63. This was the way I usually saw the area: as if it were - to my mind - crowded, I would turn and head down one of the many other streets on the hill.

Your 'less crowded' view was more than I would stay for, so the number of visitors is definitely up! Norman Barth has kindly put up a few of my shots of the Montmartre area on 'The Paris Pages.'

Even though I spent quite a lot of my free time in Montmartre, many of the events and people you have covered were missed by me. They fill in a lot of 'holes' and add to my 'remembrances' of the city. Thanks! I especially liked your 'Rêve de Becquerel' though that wasn't exactly your title for the piece.

John

Photo and text: John McCulloch©1998

photo: place du tertre, june 98

The Mobs of Montmartre Are More These Days

Bonjour John,

Paris:- Sunday, 5. July 1998:- Judging from your photo a small crowd for you is three people and five make a mob. I think if you go up to the place du Tertre on a really cold day in the middle of the week in late November or at the end of January or early February, and it is not carnival or some other special Montmartre fête, or Elvis isn't paying one of his surprise visits, there may only be a small mob on the scene.

You can never tell in advance, because local radio does not broadcast the Montmartre mob-count. Locals know this of course, so they never go there - because they know one can never be sure if a sudden mob has taken over the place, out of pure whim or fancy.

Mobs are odd animals. People who know, have told me there are mobs climbing Everest these days. You have to wait at the bottom until a place on the mountain is free before you can go up.

Montmartre's advantage in this respect is that you can sneak up it from the back way, and if you spot a mobs' scouts, you will know they are around and can make your getaway before getting entangled. Hardly any mob people go over to the north side because they are afraid to go down into uncharted territory.

Little do they - ha-ha - know that Montmartre's north slope can be exited without going back up, by going down even further, into the métro. Thanks for sending the heart-warming photo of the place du Tertre with no mob. It proves beyond a doubt that Montmartre was once mobless.

Regards, Ric

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