Postcard from... Paris


Click to follow
The Independent Online

A minute's walk from the Sacré Coeur is the peaceful Place Marcel Aymé. Meandering tourists come to look at the statue of a man emerging from a wall, inspired by a book by the author of the same name. But I like to look up to the apartment block on the left. I rented a room on its sixth floor for seven months in 2005-6.

My landlady was the vivacious and elegant Madame Perrier. She'd been born in the building in 1924. In later years she rented out two rooms to student lodgers. Her own quarters were on the mezzanine level of the enormous double-ceilinged living room that once attracted artists such as Django Reinhardt and Sonia Delaunay. Works by Delaunay and other artists still covered its walls, and the grand piano was still strewn with sheet music. Some were songs that Madame Perrier had recorded as a singer.

My bedroom was decorated in a nautical style. Its white cupboards were complete with round mirrors that reflected the panoramic view of Paris that stretched beyond the Moulin de la Galette below.

My landlady helped me discover the "hidden" Montmartre, pointing out the homes of film-maker Claude Lelouch and actress Anouk Aimé. She outshone her young lodgers with her wicked sense of humour and enthusiasm for the arts.

I found out recently that Madame Perrier had died. The apartment was rented and her family have packed up her relics. If you do happen to be in Montmartre, pay a visit to Place Marcel Aymé. Imagine, like I do, the creativity that filled one of the apartments.