The main tourist area was busy as ever but, on a sunny August Monday, the back streets of Montmartre were shuttered and sleepy.



The steep flights of stairs, punctuated by regularly spaced iron lampposts, need a misty autumn evening for the classic postcard view.  Today they plunged from bright sunlight into deep shadow.



The sound of lilting guitar music drifted through the streets towards Abbesses, reaching the ears of people climbing up from the metro station long before they could see its source.