The Montmartre of Van Gogh’s time was a land of fields and windmills. In my ignorant youth I only thought of windmills as a “Dutch thing”, but, as paintings of the area show, Montmartre was covered with them. Now of course it is a different thing and most have vanished into time except for the one I photographed here and another example and of course the pantomime Moulin Rouge.
I did take a group of language students to France a while ago and we showed them the wonders of Montmartre, finishing at the bottom of the hill at the Moulin Rouge. This sad remnant sits grubbily amongst a cluster of underwhelmingly prosaic buildings and we hastily snapped photos and scurried down the Boulevard de Clichy to Blanche Metro Station doing our best to divert the boys’ attention from the blatently unashamed “adult shops” and the “Musee de Erotisisme” that dubiously adorn the street. Unfortunately my cries of “Avert your eyes gentlemen!” and “Oh look! An adorable puppy!” had little effect.