A few weeks ago Ali and I went to Paris for the weekend. It was the last weekend before she went on her round-the-world trip and we wanted to enjoy some time together not dealing with apartment renovations. We had both been to Paris before so there was not so much pressure to see everything. We of course did the big sites. Here is a bit of the ups and downs in Montmarte.
My last trip to Paris was kind of a bust. There was a strike on and no museums were open. The most interesting part of the trip was a bit of wandering in Montmarte. It was on my list for the weekend to see more of it including the church on top.
Montmarte is a hill in Paris, which from my limited experience is a fairly flat place. There aren’t any subway stops on the top of the hill. I did some reading in the guide book and found Abbesses stop. It stops halfway up the hill, so less walking up hills. However the price you pay is in stairs. Lots and lots of stairs in a spiral. We should have noticed when so many people were waiting for the elevator. Oh well, we made it. The stairs let out into a classic Paris square with a merry-go-round.
From the top of the subway stop, it is a fairly easy walk toward the Funicular. This walk leads by galleries and little restaurants, which Montmarte as the artsy area is known for. The funicular is a cog wheel railway that leads up the steep hill to the Sacré Cœur church. We decided that stairs were not our thing. Luckily the all-day passes we had for the transport system were valid on the funicular as well.
The crown at the top of Montmarte hill is the Sacré Cœur church. It has a great view of the city. The steps zig zag up the hill to the church and were filled with people enjoying the sunny fall afternoon. Even from the top of the funicular there are still a set of steps up to the church plaza.
The church itself is a shimmery white dome that peers down across the city. We walked around the top of the hill a bit. Behind the church the streets lead into a square with more cafes and artists. We started looking for a place to sit down and have a drink. This area is artsy and such, but it is also very touristy. So the prices were pretty high even for Paris. Over 7 euro was too much for a small beer. In the end we started following streets down.
Heading out from the church back toward the subway stop, we ran across a square full of artists. This was so touristy and crowded with people, we had to head out to clearer streets. Winding back toward the street we came up, we stopped in a small tree filled square. A man with a hand turned organ played music. It felt like a scene out of a movie with the fall trees and music. A bunch of guys drank beer and talked on one of the bench.
Leaving the place there was a great little bit of graffiti on the sidewalk. I love graffiti when it is creative. I kind of think it is from Princess Mononoke. Down the stairs back to the street full of cafes and to the subway stop. Although going down we picked the elevator. I think we did that one backwards.
Ok, our little wander was only a couple of hours, but it was neat to see the place. If you happen to have a week, check out a full week’s itinerary we put together on Travel-Made-Simple.
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