A black cat in Montmartre

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In the old days, Montmartre was the end of some Metro lines. “Direction Montmartre”. Not any more. It’s actually hard to find the appropriate station to go to “Matha’s hill”. I recommend Lamarck-Caulaincourt. No stairs, just walk up from the back. (The first half of this post has just been wiped out by WP. Grrr. Start from scratch. Patience, patience.)


Le chat noir, the black cat, has become a symbol of Montmatre. Who doesn’t have this sketch on a mug? A cabaret, it was founded by Rodolphe Salis in 1881. It soon drew a crowd of artists and “bohemians”, establishing the reputation of the “hill” as a haven for artists, then and now.


Sleeping angel. Montmartre, 2018.


Urban strawberries. Strawberries? Seriously? Yes. Check the leaves. (Do not expect any kind of logic here. This is a Montmartre Pot-pourri)


Le théâtre du chat noir. To lure patrons, “the black cat” presented shows of the most up-to-date technology: the theatre of shadows:


Black mass, by Henri Rivière,  1891. In those days, the crave was for shadow theatre. I imagine there was a narrative and live music to keep the public on their toes. In 1895, the brothers Lumière would do the first public show of a moving picture.


A spectator coming out of Le chat noir, after a projection of Le Théâtre d’ombres. (Okay, back to where the post was scratched. Grrrr.)


Martha’s vineyard. (Montmartre is the deformation of Mont-Marthe, Martha’s hill). I’ve never tasted this wine. I believe 500 bottles are auctioned every year in October. I wonder whether they served the wine at Le Chat noir?

IMG_4080-Maxime Dethomas 1904

Clients at “Le chat noir” must have dressed like that. “Couple” by Maxime Dethomas, 1904. Only a century ago. Yet women’s dress codes have changed radically. Early 1900’s, my grandmother dressed that way. I have pictures!

onraet 2

George Goutière and his wife, Alice, in Calcutta, 1897. George was my Grandmother Julie’s cousin. His daughter, Christine Weston, became a renowned American writer. Another son, Peter Goutière, a pilot with Claire Chennault’s Flying tigers in China during WWII, is still alive and kicking, at 105 and change… A century? A blink of an eye.


Le chat noir, at the Musée Montmartre, 2018. A quaint little museum, well worth the visit.


Competition, Le Consulat, or Embassy of Savoie, is still up and running.

IMG_4079-Adolphe vilette 1881

Le chat noir, By Adolphe Villette, 1881.


La maison rose, the pink house, is still in operation.


A butterfly, facing the Musée Montmartre. Then with a Van Dongen expo. See the tiny bit of poster to the very right.


Aristide Bruant (1851-1925) was one of the most famous artists of the time. A writer and “chansonnier” (cabaret singer?) his silhouette is another symbol of the Hill.


Bruant by Toulouse-Lautrec. 1892. (source Google)


Bruant in Suzanne Valadon’s house at the Musée Montmartre. A very creative exit sign.


Not a black cat. Take a close look at the triangle. See the angles?


Black cat, by Ardif.


Portrait by Marie Laurencin (1883-1956). A “contemporary artist”, Marie Laurencin is also famous for a song by Joe Dassin: “L’été indien” (Indian summer) This particular portrait is at Suzanne Valadon’s house. (Or was it at the Musée Montmartre? Same thing)


Birdcondition. Montmartre, 2018.


Can’t really do without the Sacré Coeur, right? Personally I dislike the architecture, reminds me of a Kitsch pudding, but with time, (a few centuries?) I guess one will get used to it. I prefer the following:


A Montmartre reflection. Complete with cat and red cobbled pavement.

Captain wishes to thank you all for flying Equinoxio’s Time-Space shuttle. Bon week-end. (A longer post again. I keep blowing my 15 illustrations limit. Sorry ’bout that. I still think shorter posts are better. Will work on it)





128 thoughts on “A black cat in Montmartre

  1. Only here could I expect to find such fascinating narrative and enchanting art and posters. I’m inspired to write a poem about “ Le Chat Noir”. I expect it would raise a brow. 😊

    • Un chat de Goutière… Haha, pas sûr que ma grand-mère, Wilhelmine (de) Goutière, tante de George eût apprécié. 🙂 Un curieux nom. Certains disent que cela vient de Gutierrez. Peut-être étaient-ils des Juifs Marannes, chassés d’Espagne par Isabelle la (très) Catholique. Les archives familiales ne remontent pas assez loin. Bon week-end Gilles.

  2. Pingback: A black cat in Montmartre – Timeless Wisdoms

    • The place has charm. I try to avoid the Place du tertre, too many people, but the rest is fine. Almost a pilgrimage for us. My sister used to live there. Hope all is well Janet?

    • Wonder why I missed your comment Janet. The sculpture us in reference to a long time resident if Montmartre Marcel Ayme and his book le passe muraille, the wall crosser where the main character can cross walls. Hope all is well with you.

  3. Love these, the cat motif, Bohemian hub. I lived a short while in Athens, somehow this reminds me of the artistic Monastiraki and Plaka, the feral cats in the Metro station roof. They vanished in summer, hot tin…

  4. I still think shorter posts are better.

    I suppose it takes all sorts …. however,when you hear people tell you it’s not the size that matters, or shorter ones are better … In my experience, don’t believe them.

    • I won’t. I think it is a matter of style. Your posts tend to be short. I like that. I also tend to scroll faster when I read an endless post. I put myself a rule of 15 pix, which is three rows of 5 as they appear on my Mac. Gives me the sort of “right” rhythm when I post. But then rules are made to be broken.
      Bon week-end “Mate”. (If I may be so bold) 😉

      • Be as bold as you like.
        After all, if you can’t be mates with someone who is merely a cyber image living on the other side of the globe, who you have never met, likely never will, I ask you, who can you be mates with?

        Bom fim de semana, meu amigo.

      • Ha! Vocé fala Portugués? 😉
        True we may probably never meet.
        Though… I have met, twice a blogger from Penang, Malaysia. Once in London. Once in Penang. And it was quite pleasant.
        As for SA, I have a cousin in Capetown and another in Jo’burg. So who knows? I might visit Sa some day.
        Cheers, “Mate”. 🙂

      • In that case, if you are in the neighborhood, Brian, give me a cyber shout. It will give a chance to hide behind the couch!
        I speak a little Portuguese. It tends to rub off after nearly 40 years of marriage to a ”Pora”!

      • Bacano! Eu falou Portunhol. 😉 Been around Latin America for a long time. Spent 6 months on a road trip in Brazil, back in the days. Even worked with Brazilians a lot.
        Até lôgo.
        And I will give you a cybershot so we can get mugged in dowtown Jo’burg. No. Strike that. So we can have a cyber beer.

  5. What a whirlwind tour of black cats and Montmartre! There’s nothing like a jaunt down history lane for making me appreciate what I have today: streaming films from the ☁️ and no corsets. Who would have imagined? It all happened in the blink of an eye, indeed.

    • No corset indeed. And I have visual evidence. Photos of my grandmother just before the war, and after, when she cut her hair short, and her skirts too. Amazing. I don’t think many people realize how drastic that change was for women. Finally beginning to take their destiny into their own hands.

  6. I enjoyed this very much, Brian. I was there quite a few years ago and had a lovely pencil potrait done of myself, by one of those artists. It is amazing how talented some of them are, although it has become very commercialized.Some were even agressive, trying to be the one to do your portrait.
    Where is the cat in the last picture? I see the red cobblestones though!

  7. Funny that I am reading this after having our “welcome home” visit from our feral black cat “Blackie” here in Italy this morning. Lei è sempre la prima ad accoglierci.

  8. ah, I’ve missed your stunning pictures Brian, will be back in more now that season is over and book is on the market. Time to breathe a bit and regroup ❤ black cats rock too!

  9. Make it two of us not liking Sacre Cœur. Knowing how snobbish les savoiards are I wouldn’t be surprised if those working there get an extra in their wages to deal with the shock of actually not being in Savoie!

  10. If I were Le Chat Noir, that is exactly where I would want to live. As it so happens, one of my felines is Le Chat Noir but he is stuck here with me on the Mediterranean…

  11. Reblogged this on found-in-france and commented:
    If one is to be Le Chat Noir, this is the part of France to be. Alas, my Chat Noir is down on the Mediterranean with me and two sister felines (not black).

      • Thank you. It was a treat for me. I adore the Montmartre and black cats. 😉 Have you been to the Toulouse Latrec museum in Albi? It is worth a visit.

      • Glad you liked it.
        Albi? No, you won’t believe it, I’ve traveled literally all around the world. The complete loop. But in France? I know Paris, Normandy, Brittany. The south east, Lyon all the way to Marseille, Nice, côre d’azur, but I’ve never been to Occitanie, or the atlantic. So many places, so little time. 🙂 Un jour peut-être?

      • It is worth a visit. If you get to Occitanie, you might go a bit further. My favorite day trip away is Figueres, Spain. The home of Dali. I haven’t made the loop but I’ve been to Vietnam, Thailand, Canada to Mexico, born in California, lived in New York City and the Mid-West, England, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg and Spain so there is still much to see. At least for now, I prefer to be where I am. 🙂

      • The home of Dali only a day away? And that precious little village you live in? You have been around. Once, a few years ago, I was standing on the Pont de l’archevêché, looking at Notre-Dame and the murky waters of the Seine I love so much, and it dawned on me. I’d been searching for Beauty all my life to the end of the world, and there it was. Right at my feet. 🙂 The quest was over. I look forward to be in Paris July-August. Notre-dame is hurt but recovering, and the Seine will always be there.
        (One day I may rent car and just do a “tour de France. Going from village to village until I reach the Pyrénnées.
        A bientôt Léa.

      • My little village on the Mediterranean is about 40 minutes from the border. If you head this way, make sure you make it to the beach village of Collioure. You can google it but that won’t even get close. Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet and all the great artists were inspired by it as are artists today. Yes, I’ve been to Notre Dame but it was when I first visited France. You also might like Giverny which is a short train ride out of Paris and you can wander through Monet’s house not to mention the gardens. A tour of France would be lovely if done without these tour groups. When I first visited I came with a rail pass and a back pack spending six weeks losing my heart… 🙂
        A bientôt mon ami.

      • A rail pass? Those were great. They probably don’t do it anymore.
        Heard of Collioure. Famous.
        Been to Giverny, a couple of years ago. Found to my surprise that it was only 20-30 kms away from our house in Normandy where I spent all my summers as a kid, and then my daughters. Quite a surprise. Same houses, same trees, just like the next village to ours.
        Bonne soirée Léa.

      • Bonne soirée back. 🙂
        True, France is sooooo slow. 10, 20, 30 years to try someone. 5 years for the most minimal reform. Meanwhile Asia is exploding with life. (I am still in shock with Singapore…)

  12. Monmartre remains such an an atmospheric place, despite the mass tourism. Lovelovelove Toulouse-Lautrec. No one captured that spirit like he did.

    • He was fantastic. One of the many to break the codes. Of subject. Of representation. Of movement. And yes, Montmartre is a good exercise in mass-avoidance. As in many other invaded places (Florence, venice, even Paris) just move two streets to the right or to the left and they’re all gone. A +

    • Pleasure Hedy. Wand Gág? I had to look her up. Never came my way as a kid. Just-so-stories did. I guess my father didn’t read it either. He pushed all his favourite children’s books on to us, of course. Including Curwood, London, Grey Owl, but not her. I wonder whether she still is in print?

  13. Such a beautiful post! Of course I have the cat mug haha. Who doesn’t!
    I walked around Montmartre in the earliest hours of October morning. The place looked desolated 🙂 I had it all for myself.
    Beautiful photographs and art – the fashions have changed indeed. The impossible triangle with a dear head – I wonder what message it conveys. And the Ardif cat – oh my goodness, so beautiful. I am a cat person, you know. Thank you for taking me on this walk.

  14. You have a photo of George and Alicia Goutiere. I also have a copy.
    My father, George Clement Goutiere, was George and Alicia’s son. He was an artist and died in 1948 in a bus accident.
    My Aunt was Christine Weston, Uncle Pete Goutiere, Uncle Vernon, Aunt Geraldine.
    It is nice to see I have another interesting cousin.

    Paul V. Goutiere

    • Hi Paul. At long last, I am back home. Past few weeks have been busy. My, my. Your father was my grandmother’s (Julie Onraët) first cousin. Your grandfather’s sister, Wilhelmine Goutière was my great-grandmother. That goes a long way back. My father Cyril was very much in touch with Peter, Christine and Geraldine. 🙂 (I wonder how you stumbled across my blog?) My mail is on my Gravatar, why don’t you drop me a mail so we can exchange more easily. I have lots of photos which you may or may not have.
      Kindest regards
      Brieuc Martin-Onraët

      • I merely Googled my Father’s name, which was the same as my Grandfather’s. Interesting site you have. Left my email with you just now.

      • Just mailed you to confirm so we can “chat”. It must have been quite a surprise for you to find your grandfather in a Montmartre post! Glad you like the site. I try to make “versatile” posts to keep the reader’s attention. Hadn’t planned on including George and Alice’s picture until I uploaded the previous photo. Then it clicked. Had to post them.

  15. Email for this area has been down since at least 7:00 AM today. Still down as I write this. We must be patient until the techies solve the problem.


    • True, but I still think of our Goutière ancestors, in the late 18th, early 19th century, when a letter would take months from India to France and months back for the reply… 🙂 My great-great-etc. father Pierre-Rémy Onraët sailed to India (Chandernagor) in 1794. He died there in 1814. He’d never gone back. Never saw his family again. So “the thing” has its advantages. Cheers.

  16. Hello. My name is Andrea Gifford-Resek and I came across your blog by accident. I was trying to find Peter Goutiere, the pilot. He is/was a very old friend of my parents (Ray and Annie Gifford) from as far back as India. My mother, who lives in Spain and is now 90 years old, is convinced Peter is still alive and thriving in New Mexico with his wife Evelyn because of ‘Peter Pan’s’ auspicious destiny, his robust good health and his youthful good looks (very good looks) which always saw him right. I also got to know him when he lived in Lebanon. Is he? still with us, that is. I do hope so. Thank you for any information you can share on his whereabouts. They used to correspond but it all went very quiet a few years ago.
    With best wishes,

    • Hi Andrea. What a nice surprise… Peter is/was my grandmother Julie’s first cousin, though one generation “down”. More my father’s age. My father was born in 1918. Left us in 2010. My parents were in frequent touch with Peter and his family.
      To my great surprise, a few years ago another Goutière cousin saw a post of mine and sent me a photo of “uncle Pete” still alive and kicking… at 104 or more… That was a few years ago. I have the photo somewhere. And I may have Pete’s photo too. If you mail me at brieuc.martin.onraet@gmail. com
      It would be easier to stay in touch, look through my archives and send you all I have. is that all right with you?
      Kind regards

      • Thank you so much for your kind response. It was really for my mother’s sake that I was trying to find out if Pete is still alive. She will be tickled pink to hear I got a response. I also looked up his siblings. Seems you are quite the talented family (and an aristocratic one at that). We seem to have a lot in common. First the India connection. My mother’s family descended from mostly French settlers in India (The St. Yves) before my grandmother married an Englishman. Secondly, the flying. My father (an Australian) was a pilot in India after the war before moving to the Middle East where he was joined by Pete a few years later. Thirdly, a clan of people who seem unable to live where they came from. I am married to a Lebanese (naturalised British) and we have lived in the UK since the late 70’s due to the civil war and spend a lot of time in France (Antibes) where one of my sisters live permanently

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