The main reason to visit this small museum is to get an inkling of what Montmartre really was like back in the days when Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, and so on were painting and cavorting up here on the Butte. While there are few examples of the artists’ works here, there are plenty of photos, posters, and even films documenting the neighborhood’s famous history, from the days when its importance was mainly religious, to the gory days of the Paris Commune, and finally to the artistic boom in the 19th and 20th centuries. Next to an original poster of Jane Avril by Toulouse-Lautrec, for example, you’ll see a photo of the real Jane Avril, as well as other Montmartre cabaret legends like Aristide Bruant and La Goulue. The 17th century house that shelters the museum was at various times the studio and home of Auguste Renoir, Raoul Dufy, Susan Valadon, and Maurice Utrillo. Surrounded by gardens and greenery it offers a lovely view of the last scrap of the Montmartre vineyard.
- Margie Rynn