Rue Veron’s magic
Let’s go up in the street Lepic from Place Blanche. The last one before street des Abbesses on our left, this is it. We enter.
Not so fast!
Braken suddenly by wonderful shops windows. A thousand of reflects in the bottle of artisanal lemonade, a nectar made of vine peaches, the Gallia (Parisian beer which had a stand last Vine Festival), brandy, wormwood, various jars of pâtés, and in a corner, between two fine wine bottles, the little oval box from the abbey of Flavigny… Overstep the legions of different nougat tastes cut on-site, and enter: on the wooden shelves, the Pierrot Gourmand’s sweets are next to the last recipes of canned mushrooms.
After you get out, raise your head. Fortunately, under the red awning of L’EPICERIE DU TERROIR, the great decoration of the former shop is still there: BOUCHERIE CENTRALE, underlined with wrought iron, with the capital D of the boss’ name, and the range of fangs above the entrance.
In front of it, a blind and blank wall. Blank? Not exactly. Under the net of cliffs, of weird faces created by rains, and a bit lower, two creations of street artists: one of the 200 “grimasque” by Greory, alias Gregos, from Montmartre born in 1972, who sow them since 2006, and behind it a portrait of Louise Michel framed with blue mosaic.
Here are the first three meters of the street, its two last numbers! Watch out for other gratifies on the way.
To begin, we will go directly at 17 street Veron, where lived the poetess Linda Bastide, surrounded by the love of Bernard (her husband), Hugo and Virgule (their cats), and Belle (the dog). She used to live at 17 street Germain Pilon, in Narbonne, when her movie La dérive (directed by Paule Delsol) was presented at the 1964 Cannes Festival and praised by Truffaut, she arrived street Véron in 1994. This international renowned artist is an excellent guide for my exploration. Her house was built in 1820: no doubt she was happy to have in the casement window lace curtains hand-made by the paternal grandmother. Indeed, Linda had created poetic and warm atmosphere at the same time, to favor her works.
Here is a fresh new shop, opened for a fortnight when I came in this street: an Italian caterer with vertigo of tasty cooked meats ready to be cut as you please…
The COLIBRI is the ground-floor at 35 street Véron, a house built in 1860, and it looks like from tiles to posters, from the counter to wooden chairs, everything stayed the way that could have been at the time of Alphonse Allais or Verlaine, to cine only lovers of Montmartre. This haven of peace and tenderness was saved from pickaxes by Thierry Campion, the boss of La Mascotte, opened in 1889 at 52 rue des Abbesses (a few steps from here), who gave it back its atmosphere of real Montmartre which fascinate journalists lacking of photography, without going as far as this discreet and authentic corner.
Well discreet, except, the evening when they play accordion, rock or jazz! Indeed, Montmartre, it is also music and dance, this is the little “bistro where you push tables” and that “the time of a song of Gainsbourg, act like if it was Bobino”. This is what the COLIBRI is.
In the reflection of the big mirror, while enjoying a hot chocolate, I see a figure in a raincoat, a mariner’s cap, with snow-white hair: Is this Jean Gabin who just leans on the counter then seats on a stool? This could have happened…
Next to COLIBRI, the restaurant AU BOHNEUR DE THAILANDE, number 33, displays in its shop window a black and white square. This is a code QR that you can scan with an application on your smartphone, and then, a contact record has been created with all the contact details, which is much smarter than a visit on their site.
A shop window dedicated to our harvest festival, in a house built in 1895, an old original poster and two joyful kids made of baked clay, playing with a climbing wine: this is the number 34, antique dealer, Catherine Jacquet.
At the corner of rue Audran (where is located the Creole restaurant of Arnelle and Henri), number 32 is a house constructed in 1870 with a restaurant called “Le Restaurant”. Here is an excellent method to not be confused with a dentist. On the other side of street, number 30, the old grid around this corner house with three floors in an early 29th century style, with a courtyard full of leaves and a tree slightly twisted taller than the wall where a small window let us guess a refuge into the thickness of the wall, this house has a dream decoration for a poet, movie director.
We can continue, perhaps in disorder. Look in front of here, number 23, some workers repaint a frontage. This is a house built in 1880, single-storey, with a wall covered with slate, a narrow sky blue shop twinned with the neighboring house. But let’s stay on this particular house. This shop of only 20 square meters used to be the hairdressing salon of Jacques, hairdresser to the stars. Furnished with armchairs in the Louis-Philipe style, low-necked for the shampoo basin, this place hosted Dalida and all the clients of Marcel-Charles Gaichet, who came from Narbonne and lived at 12 street Berthe.
At number 26, inside a niche from around 1850, a statue plays between ingenuousness and virtue.
Number 19 is a brave house from 1895 apparently quiet. In fact, it hides a real descending garden (at least for the cadaster), croising the end of rue Robert Planquette until 58 boulevard de Clichy in the form of the very private Villa des Platanes, an architectural complex by Edmond Deloeuvre ended in 1896. Through the grid of the boulevard, you can see the house in a style neo-crazy-almost-Renaissance, but the bas-reliefs in tribute to the Communards are not visible.
At number 18, a CAFE BAR of painted wood, still since… since when? Since the boss of that time had proudly installed the white letters saying he had a phone: MONT.40.99. We can imagine (or remember…) the passer-by walking through the pealing door: “a phone’s token please…” or the the regulars. “Hello. Did someone call for me?”. The one who has the phone in the street, is the pivotal point for the life of the street. Only some black and white movies, with Robert Dalban playing the boss of the bistro can restitute this atmosphere that this simple indication make reborn…
Over a coffee, the paintings of the letters of L’HOTEL DE CLERMONT where was filmed by Jacques Rouffio La Passante du Sans-Souci punctuated with drama.
The 16 is the older house in the street, it was built in 1700: this 5-storey building and its three centuries and twelve years contemplate us…
A rose house from 1850 at 12 street Véron, it’s the KEZACO, a Spanish restaurant. In the main room, to the left when you enter, there is piano. There, a little girl of 6 years old used to enchant customers with a surprising play. She has a photo glued on the door: the little girl became a very pretty girl who gives piano lessons. Her name is Cassandre and she has this happy smile of the artist who is never far from its instrument.
At the crossing with the street Germain Pilon, at 10 street Véron, the building has been redesigned a lot: there is nothing left of the bakery with painted earthenwares from the 60’s, and there is nothing left either of the wash house in the basement, which hosted women of the neighborhood in their small tubs, hitting the laundry with a beetle and twisting it in the water of one of the underneath river of the mound captured now by the sewers (like the one under place Constantin Pecqueur).
At number 7, the venerable house from 1860 host and see palpitate a theatre since 2006. A theater like Dullin (founder of Cartel des Quatre, of which Atelier is not far) liked it: a melting pot favoring new creations from contemporary authors, forgetting commercials mechanisms hackneyed successes. It was from an idea of Sophie Vonlanthen, trained in New-York, and of Yann Reuzeau, trained in Paris. After playing together in Quatre chiens sur un os by J.P. Shanley, they created the Manufacture des Abbesses. They took the building: 4 walls and a key, here it is, everything is to be clear out, build, paint. Everything. And this is a total success, resumed in 4 minutes on Dailymotion. We think about the Déchargeurs by Vicky Messica…Les Débutantes, second play of Reuzeau, begins the adventure in November 2006, 6 years ago from the moment I wrote this article. Ever since, each play for adults or children is a challenge. Challenge achieved like with Gauthier Fourcade (his Trilogie January-February 2010, Le Bonheur est à… (ou l’inverse) during spring 2012).
At the end, we can continue to slide into the meanders of the street André Antoine, the theatre man, to Place Pigalle, and see if the water jet sing today again…
Marielle-Frédérique Turpaud, Mayor of the Commune libre de Montmartre.
(the Free Commune of Montmartre)
La Gazette de Montmartre N°47
December 2012 – January –February 20133 Contents Syndicate’s latest news SIM joins the great program Eductour of the CRT Île-de-France The life of the village Christmas calendar 2012 Montmartre of its inhabitants La Mascotte The grocer of rue Burq Topi …