When visiting Paris, there are always the usual places to see which must be ticked off and are popular with all kinds of tourists, the new and awestruck, and the old and jaded. The Basilique du Sacré Couer is one such place, together with some of the seedier parts of its neighbouring Montmartre. I overheard on a recent visit, “I love this place, this is probably my tenth time – even last year I came”. Assuming at the most this is someone that visits Paris every year, that would make it ten years running, or at the very least five years in all if they are bi-annual visitors.
Sacré Couer is like that; I don’t know whether it’s the juxtaposition of this sacred place alongside the delightfully rebellious Montmartre or just the sheer beauty of the church and it magnificent views that draws the crowds so much. I go often, there are sights in Paris that never get tired for me, and this is one of them.
Venture out, climb the flight of stairs – all 250 of them to the summit at butte Montmartre- the highest point in the city, and take in the panoramic views of Paris.
You can take a ride on the Montmartrain, which goes around Montmartre, all the way down to the centre, takes in the Moulin Rouge, and back to the top again. It gives you a tour of the residential parts, and the not-so-attractive parts – all the beauty (and not) that is Paris. Or you can simply walk and wander around, taking in the sidewalk cafes, the artists plying their trade and tempting unsuspecting tourists with their shockingly high prices. Take in the vineyard that makes the most expensive wine in the world- produced on the hills of Montmartre. It used to be made by monks, and is auctioned off once a year.
Put Sacré Couer on your list of places-to-see when in Paris, even if you’ve been there before. If anything go for the awestruck faces of the first-timers, that at least always makes you look at it all from a fresh perspective.
Pictures from a recent visit here.
Metro: Abbesses (Line 12), Anvers(Line 2)
|The bustling streets leading up to the cathedral|