What looks like a white palace in the sky is Sacre Couer, the Catholic basilica built on the highest part of the city in Butte de Montmartre. It is one of the most visited churches in Paris.
The clouds over Sacre Couer.
Contrary to a lot of people think, Sacre Couer is not very ancient. It is a toddler compared to Notre Dame, which is turning 850 years old in 2013. Sacre Couer was only consecratedin 1919 after almost 40 years of construction. It was built from contributions of Parisian Catholics, which was said to be their act of contrition for the humiliating loss of France in the Franco-Prussian was in the 1870’s.
The beautiful panorama of the city from Sacre Couer.
Hanging out at the park in front of in front of Sacre Couer.
A lot of people say that Montmartre is so commercialized, so touristy. True, but if you explore deeper into the steeper part of this hilly quarter, you will discover a mellow and more attractive side of it. It’s a lovely place to lose yourself.
A scenic, serene cobbled street neighborhood in the hills of Montmartre.
Lovers in a quite park in the hills of Montmartre.
La Moulin de Galete, the windmill that inspired the works of Renoir and Van Gogh. Today, it is a popular open air dance hall.
Clos du Montmartre is a small vineyard in the hills dating back from 1933. Its annual harvest is said produce about 850 bottles that are auctioned off to charity.
The grapes that grow in the petite vineyard.
In the mid 1900’s, Montmartre’s charms and affordable rents attracted a lot of artists. Guess who lived behind this door on 54 Rue Lepic? Vincent Van Gogh lived here with his brother Theo for two years in the 1880’s.
Cabaret Lapin Agile (“The Nimble Rabbit”) is a rustic cabaret that is the oldest one in Paris. It was patronized by famous artist in the early 20th century (Picasso, Hemingway, Utrillo, Modigliani, etc.) Today, chanson, the old French songs, are still being performed in its four-hour show.
A downhill alley with a lovely view.
A charming epicurie.
Locals hanging out in Cafe Deux Moulies, a place made famous by the film “Amelie.”
Motobikes lined up in front of a cafe.
Really pretty, fresh flowers for sale on the sidewalk of Montmartre.
A patisserie with giant breads.
Inviting quiche on display.
Wine tasting on the sidewalk. Only in Montmarte…
Wines for tasting.
Keith in an engaging wine discussion.
A long line to the creperie that caters to tourist at Place du Tetre. After the blissful walk in the hill of Montmarte, we got back to the busy side of it. A circus atmosphere surrounds Place du Tetre. It’s a tourist trap galore. Avoid!
We walked around a bit and saw a a small, crude sign that said “restaurant” that pointed to a direction somehow dark and away from the crowds. Wanting to get away from the circus, we followed it and lo and behold, we found this lovely, quiet, relaxing, romantic courtyard restaurant with really sumptuous food and fine wine. We were the first ones to be seated and the last ones to leave and they didn’t rush us. Really divine. However, we were so wrapped up in the moment that, so sorry folks, we never got the name of the restaurant:(
We walked back to the park in front of Sacre Couer where we hanged out earlier. We were pleasantly surprised to see a giant inflatable movie screen showing a silent film!
Sacre Couer at night.
That wrapped up our Paris trip. We had a truly wonderful time. Next thing we knew, we were planning a more serious trip to a lot more adventurous desitnation — Morocco! Would we survive? Did you see our previous post on Paris – Bonjour Paris? ———- Travel Notes: Travel Date: July 2007
Travel Guide: Lonely Planet Paris
Related Blog: The Secret of Paris