After a very long lie-in, recovering from our night at Le Bilboquet, we spent the remainder of the day in gorgeous Montmartre.
Montmartre is, of course, the home of the strikingly beautiful Sacre Coeur basilica. It sits at the highest point in Paris, and if you look closely at the banner of my blog, through the clock of d’Orsay, you can just see Sacre Coeur. If you’ve seen the film Amélie, you may recall that she took Nino (Mathieu Kassovitz) on a hunt for his photographs, up and down the stairs leading to the church. Thankfully, we took the funicular from the base of the hill to the top, saving us the need to walk all those steps. (Whew.)
Aside from Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur was the most touristy of all the places I visited. You weren’t allowed to take photos inside the church, so instead I had to buy a postcard. The ceiling of the church is painted with Christ, and it’s incredible. Photos don’t do it justice.
For €5, we climbed to the tower dome to look out over all of Paris. Along the way, we spotted gargoyle waterspouts, and a lot of graffiti. I could have stared out over the city for hours, and I still come back and look at the photos I took, marveling at how large Paris and its surrounding suburbs are. (An interesting fact: the basilica is made of travertine stone, which exudes calcite and thus keeps the stones white, even with the city’s pollution.)
We also took in the crypt, which was thankfully a cool respite from the summer heat. The chapel in the crypt held lots of relics, including little finger bones of saints, and the heart of Alexandre Leguil (sp?), or so says my notes. Churches are full of body parts of saints, and I wonder what those people might think if they could know that their little finger, or their heart, or perhaps a comb they used, is now on display in a church some hundreds of years later. (That’s not even taking into account the possibility that any number of these relics could be fakes. But that’s a post for another day… maybe.)
After our lengthy tour, we took a break at a small café. I had cider and a crêpe with Nutella, quite possibly my favourite meal ever. By this time, it was getting late, and we called it a day. Our next day would be a big one, going out to the Chateau Vincennes.