Day 4 in Paris

It’s our last day in Paris and still so much to see and do! Today is Montmartre, home to Sacre Couer, cobbled lanes, hills, bistros, liberals and artists of today and days long past.

As Montmartre is quite a hike from our hotel, we took the metro to the Anvers, the recommended starting point for the Rick Steves’ self-guided walking tour. After emerging from the metro, you simply follow the crowds heading uphill for the first view of Sacre Couer.

While not a particularly old church, Sacre Couer is beautiful and impressive.

Instead of climbing all the stairs, we choose to take the meandering side paths to the top of the hill. Much more scenic and less used as they wind their way through side gardens. 

When visiting the church, proper attire is required and enforced. We say more than one group of teens and adults refused entry due to skimpy attire. Several girls were required to wrap their jackets around their waists to cover leggings or short-shorts.  Men with tank tops were turned away. This is where I could go on and on about proper attire and packing for travel, but I’ll restrain myself.

After touring the church we continued on with the walking tour discovering adorable little squares, post-card perfect corners and glimpses into Paris of the past.Nestled among the lanes we discovered a small artists market. Immediately upon entering the square I fell in love with the work of the first artist on display and practically compelled to purchase a small oil painting.

As we continued on nearly every corner captured the imagination.

Along the way we discovered Paris’ last vineyard. While not open to the public it provided a glimpse into what this area must have looked like over a hundred years ago when the hills were covered with vineyards and mills. 

Our walk took us past shops and galleries that were once the home of artists such as Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec and Van Gogh. Descending the hill we returned to the 21st century and the overt red light district along Blvd de Clichy.

From all the photos one sees of Moulin Rouge it appears a scenic little corner. While the northern hill section of Montmartre is beautiful, the street housing Moulin Rouge is lined with strip clubs, sex shops and groups of men lounging on benches drinking out of paper bags. During the day time however it didn’t feel unsafe, just unsavory.

Since we weren’t in an area we wanted to spend a leisurely lunch, we hopped back on the metro to zip back to our hotel and drop off our purchases. Then it was on to a cafe near Place St. Michel for escargot . . .

Pate and a salami platter . . .

and you got it – a pichet of wine!

Once again feeling revived we decided to spend more time exploring Cite and check out the lines for Notre Dame (which were still ridiculous).  We discovered a flower market with beautiful displays and little shops.

Hydrangeas are everywhere around Paris and so beautiful. While we were perusing a basket of French soaps the roar of planes over head drew everyone outside the market stalls. Practice for the upcoming Bastille Day air displays! It was quite dramatic as everything from fighter jets, old bi-planes and military helicopters soared overhead.

Our meandering took us toward to Louvre where we were awed by the sheer size of the Louvre complex. It was getting late and we were exhausted so we didn’t visit the museum on this trip (we had spent several hours on a previous trip barely scratching the surface of the Louvre exhibits).

As the day began to wind down, we strolled along the river back toward our hotel. As we’d had such a late lunch we once again picked up a few items from a market to eat back in the room, along with yes, a bottle of wine.

Tomorrow morning would see us wake early to journey to the airport for our long flights home. After packing up it was still light so we headed out to explore one last place – Luxembourg Garden.

What a beautiful park (photos coming soon). We simply strolled through the park enjoying our friendship and soaking up every last Parisian moment. All too soon it was time to head back to the room and dream of returning.


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