Today was our last full day to be in Paris, and we did not have too much more left that we wanted to see. We had planned accordingly from the beginning so we were not going to be running from one side of the city to the next trying to fit in our last sights.
We had three things on the agenda for the day: Sacre Coeur, Pere-Lachaise Cemetery, and Red Light District. We slept in a few extra minutes because we knew we didn't have a jam packed day. We headed out of the apartment around 10:30am for the metro to the 18th district which would have been a 3.3 mile walk.
Sacré-Cœur - The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris
Sacre Coeur sits atop a big hill called Montmartre. It is the best place to go to get a view of all of Paris. You can take amazing picture if the visibility is right. Getting into the church is free, and photography without a flash is allowed. The picture I posted a few weeks ago of Paris has Sacre Coeur in the background...
|That is Sacre Coeur in the background.|
Source of photo: http://www.3jokes.com/gallery/v/Wallpapers/France_Wallpapers/The+Sacred-Heart+Basilica+in+the+Distance_+Montmartre_+Paris_+France.jpg.html
A group of African guys stands around with string. Some of them are nicer than others. The nice ones call you out and ask to see your wrist. The not so nice ones will grab your wrist without asking first. Either way, they place string on your wrist and make a bracelet and then demand payment for it. To avoid the scam, keep your hands close by your side. If one approaches you, politely but assertively say "Non, merci." If you really want a bracelet, you can find one on the ground for free that was thrown there by someone who was unable to get away. Also, you can avoid more of these men by taking the funicular up the hill rather than taking the stairs.
Luke and I got off the metro and followed the signs for Montmartre. We could see that there was a hill on our left as we walked by some stairs but no sign of Sacre Coeur. As we turned one of the corners, we could see crowds of people and then we saw the Basilica. We took a look at the hill and stairs and decided that it would not be difficult for us to climb. It was like 200 steps... no biggie! As I was looking at the stairs... here we go...
A group of them getting ready to pounce!Guy: "Good morning, ma'am."
Me: "No. No."
Me: "No. No. No. No. No."
YES! Debbie 1 - Scammer 0. Take that bracelet man! And actually, that was the only bracelet man encounters I had. I was very surprised! At the very base, we saw loads of bracelet men standing around and holding their string. There are a few section of stairs, so you can stop and take pictures as you go up and each level had a few more men. When Luke and I decided to make our way up the stairs from level 1, we saw a poor Asian boy getting "attacked" by one of the guys. The poor boy (he was around 18ish) was telling them he already had one and was so frustrated. I felt really bad for him. I tried to keep my eyes on the prize (the top of the stairs) with my hands in my pockets and just zoomed straight up. Literally. When we got to the top, Luke asked why I went so fast.
It was a beautiful day!!! Colder than the other days, but lots of sun!
tons of people!
(no pictures from inside because of mass)
view from the top of the stairsAfter we left the church, we walked around the backside to take some pictures. There are also a few areas around the left side of the church with shops and street vendors selling artwork and drawing pictures.
Luke and I found some stairs that took us back down to the base of the hill. Even though these stairs would help visitors avoid the bracelet guys, you don't get the same views as the stairs in the front, so I am glad we went the hard way. We decided that since we weren't far from it, we would walk to see the famous Moulin Rouge.
secret stairs away from the bracelet menRed Light District - I had been told before going to Paris that the Red Light District was located in the 18th arrondissement. We walked along Boulevard de Clichy until we got to Moulin Rouge. Along this road, you will see various sex shops, cabarets, and adult cinemas.
And just like everything else, you can tell when you are coming up on something big when a crowd of people is huddled taking pictures - Moulin Rouge. We went in, but you can only go so far because you have to have tickets, obviously. Luke said he looked into ticket before the trip and it was approx $120 a pop.
Right: Moulin Rouge Perfume from 1914 and 1926
One of the types of Metro signs. Another sign is a big M.
1.) find a Buisson! We are in France, there has to be a Buisson!
2.) find another family name of Luke's (we saw tons of André's)
3.) find Jim Morrison
4.) find one of those other famous people that this cemetery is supposed to include
We got as close as we could to Buisson with DuBuisson - which just so happens to be one of Luke's favorite Belgian beers. More on that in another blog...
And then we were coming across nothing. We just walked and walked and walked. And we were beginning to see why people bought maps. I didn't know where we were located in the 110 acres of land and I sure had no idea how we would find the rest of these names we are looking for! We decided to be creepers and follow a couple who had a map. We followed them for a good 30 minutes, but I don't think they knew where they were going either. We ended up on the other side of the cemetery from where we entered where there happened to be a sign displaying a map of the cemetery. See, we didn't need to buy a map! So, I took a picture of the map so we would know exactly where to go. Voila!
map displayed at entrances - we somehow missed this when we first entered.
Jim Morrison - This will get some of you hippies, or folks like my dad, excited!
For you young folks out there, Jim Morrison was the lead singer of The Doors. Don't know The Doors? Um, he is like how Justin Timberlake was in 'N Sync. Don't know 'N Sync? Well, then I can't help you. Anyway, he is American and was living in Paris at the time of his death. He died at age 27 from... take a guess... drug overdose. But if you read up, there are a few theories of how he actually died. Anyway, his grave was by no means glamorous. It was a plain and simple stone with flowers from fans. It was also fenced in because people had vandalized other tombstones around it with song lyrics and phrases to commemorate his life.
Luke and I figured we had spent enough time in the cemetery, so we hopped on the metro one more time and got off at the Opera. We had walked by the Opera our first day, but were unable to enjoy the beauty of it. I have never been one to listen to classical music, but it was pretty amazing to see the names of famous composers on the outside of it - Beethoven, Mozart, and ... I dont know anymore composers.
For the rest of the day, Luke and I walked and enjoyed the streets of Paris. With it being our last afternoon/evening, we just enjoyed being there. We had a great time in Paris, we definitely plan to go back for another visit. Now that we have gotten all of the touristy things out of the way, we can come back to enjoy the city in another way. I hope that you get to visit Paris one day! And when you do, I hope you enjoy it just as much as we did!
Other Posts from Paris: Day 1, Eiffel Tower, Day 2, Catacombes, Versailles, Day 4, Wrap-Up
Moulin Rouge opened in 1889. It seats 850 people and is the birthplace of the can-can dance (which yours truly has danced a few times in her life).