Rue Norvins

In the heart of Montmartre, one of Paris' most beloved hubs for artistic creativity, sits the Rue Norvins. Boasting delicious restaurants, unique local shops, endless works from authentic artists, and a magical view of Sacré-Coeur, the heavy gentrification that has taken place on this iconic street is strikingly evident.

When comparing Eugene Atget's and Christopher Rauschenberg's photos of The Sacré-Coeur from Rue Norvins in the gorgeous Montmartre with our photo taken many years later, the rapid gentrification of this iconic street is striking. However, when peering through the bustling crowds of people walking down the historic road with freshly baked pastries and newly purchased works of art, the breathtaking view of Sacré-Coeur that inspired Atget is still visible today. Despite the vivid contrast between the emptiness of the Rue Norvins in Atget's photo and the masses of people on the street in our photo, there are still glimpses of Atget's Paris throughout the image. For example, Sacré-Coeur continues to dominate the landscape of this particular street despite the very obvious modernization of the buildings on the Rue Norvins. Similarly, while the exterior of the buildings have changed quite a bit, the structure of the buildings has remained the same. Even though the changes the neighborhood has undergone since Atget's photo was taken made it impossible to capture the view from the exact same angle, many of the structures present in Atget's photo still exist today. While things such as building design, new commercial establishments, and the masses of people crowding the street differentiate our photo from Atget and Rauschenberg's photos, the lasting layout of the street and landscape speak to the timelessness of these iconic Paris neighborhoods despite rapid gentrification.

When comparing Atget's photo to our photo, the most stark difference is the modernization and popularization of the neighborhood. The Rue Norvins has become a popular destination for both tourists and locals to indulge in local delicacies, observe street art, and enjoy the wide array of shops. This phenomenon is starkly observed in our photo as the streets are crowded with people enjoying all that this street has to offer, namely the commercial establishments. However, Atget's photo depicts a completely empty street lacking in any visible shops or restaurants. Therefore, when comparing the two photos, the popularization of both the Rue Norvins and Montmartre in general is strikingly evident. While Rauschenberg's photo was taken from a different angle and perspective than Atget's photo and our photo, it conveys the same emptiness that Atget's photo does. While one of the first things one notices in our photo is the masses of people walking down the street, the opposite is true of both Atget and Rauschenberg's images of the street. Much of this popularization of the street seems to be due to the new shops and restaurants that have appeared since Atget's photo was taken, and these new establishments can also be prominently observed in our photo. Between the crowds, automobiles in the streets, and modern shops dominating our photo, the gentrification of this street just below the iconic Sacré-Coeur is clearly visible.

Another noticeable difference between the street view of Rue Norvins in our photo and that of Atget and Rauschenberg's photos is the change in architecture and design of the buildings lining the street. While Atget's photo depicts dilapidated buildings lacking in any distinct Parisian features, our photo shows how the design of these buildings has changed overtime to reflect the classic Haussmann style architecture that Paris is known for. The addition of the balconies in particular speaks to the massive change in architecture that this neighborhood appears to have undergone since Atget photographed it. However, despite this change in architecture, the overall layout of the street has remained the same. Because of this, comparing the three photos of the same iconic Parisian street to one another conveys a sense of timelessness as it is quite obvious that despite the gentrification of the street, the general essence of the area has remained the same.

After spending time on this street and comparing Atget's depiction of it and the modern state of the Rue Norvins, it is clear that the arts are a large part of the area. While Montmartre is known historically for attracting artists of all kinds, this phenomenon is not necessarily visible in both Atget and Rauschenberg's images of the street. However, in our image, the presence of the arts is visible, most notably in the sign that reads "Dali" in reference to an exhibition of the artwork of Salvador Dali. When walking down this street, street artists of all types line both sides of the busy road selling their creations and paying tribute to the many famous artists that have lived and worked in Montmartre. The art history in Montmartre has caused the neighborhood to become a popular location for those fascinated by the arts, specifically visual arts. This phenomenon is not visible in both Atget and Rauschenberg's photos, but the presence of the arts in our photo depicts the current status of the Rue Norvins as a hotspot for artistic creativity.

While Atget's photo depicts the Rue Norvins as a largely residential area without many visible shops or commercial establishments lining the streets, our photo depicts the Rue Norvins as a largely commercial area with the residential aspect of the neighborhood existing above the street's shops and restaurants. This difference between commercial and residential focus encompasses much of the changes that have taken place since Atget's photo was taken, and further demonstrates the rapid gentrification of this historic street that has taken place in recent years. Despite these changes, the majestic Sacré-Coeur continues to dominate the skyline of both the current and older images of the Rue Norvins, serving as a beautiful reminder of the timelessness of the neighborhood and of Paris as a whole.


Le Sacr�©-Coeur, vue de la Rue Norvins (Atget)

Le Sacr©-Coeur, vue de la Rue Norvins (Atget)

Original Photo of the Sacr©-Coeur, taken by Eugene Atget. Sourced from Paris Muse© Collections. | Source: | Creator: Eugene Atget View File Details Page

Le Sacr�©-Coeur, vue de la Rue Norvins (Rauschenberg)

Le Sacr©-Coeur, vue de la Rue Norvins (Rauschenberg)

Photo of the Sacr©-Coeur; taken by Christopher Rauschenberg in 1997. More of his Atget rephotographs are available at , | Source: | Creator: Christopher Rauschenberg View File Details Page

Le Sacr�&copy;-Coeur from Rue Norvins (Michel)<br /><br />

Le Sacr©-Coeur from Rue Norvins (Michel)

Rephoto of Atget's Original Image | Creator: JoAnn Michel View File Details Page

Photo and Rephoto Collage (Atget and Michel)

Photo and Rephoto Collage (Atget and Michel)

Original Photo (taken by Eugene Atget), placed over a modern panorama image of Rue Norvins (taken by JoAnn Michel). | Creator: Eugene Atget / JoAnn Michel View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Lily Andersson and JoAnn Michel, “Rue Norvins,” W&L Paris, accessed December 4, 2023,

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