Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade
winds in your sails. Explore! Dream! Discover!
( Mark Twain )
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Tuesday in Paris
No more rain today--a lovely sunny day in Paris.
We were our of our apartment fairly early this morning--we had a busy day planned! We were taking the Metro to the other side of Paris to visit the Sacre Couer in the Montmarte district. Montmarte is a lovely area, set on a hill, with narrow winding streets. We got to our Metro diestination and started walking toward Sacre Couer. We didn't get to fa ron our way before we found a pretty church: St. Jean de Montmarte. It's practically a brand new church, by Paris standards, as it was built between 1894 and 1904. It had a very pretty exterior with some nice mosaic work, and of course wonderful stained glass windows.
After looking at the interior of this church we were off to the main attraction, Sacre Coeur. This church sits atop a big hill, the highest point in Paris. So you know what that means--stairs and steep windy roads. Well, lucky for us there is a "tram" that whisked us right to the top in no time! Here is an outside view of Sacre Coeur. The interior is filled with incredible mosaic work. I'd really love to
show you how beautiful it is inside, but no photography was allowed! We enjoyed an hour or so admiring the mosaics and architecture of this old church.
Here is a view from the bottom of the steps, overlooking Paris:
We then set off to explore the rest of Montmarte. It has more of a "village" feel than a city feel, and is quite rustic in some parts. The streets are REALLY narrow.
We followed an ininerary from a guide book, and along this walk were many houses that Van Gough, Renoir, Toulouse-Latrec and Picasso lived in. It was pretty cool to know that these great artists had walked these very streets.
We also found some pretty interesting "new" art while we were on our walking tour. Just look at this:
Isn't it weird and whimsical all at the same time? There was absolutely no explanation --it was just there on an old rock wall in a little square!
We continued our walk--thankfully downhill! We wound our way through this entire neighborhood, just exploring little side streets that look interesting. We had a specific destination in mind, The Cafe dees Deux Moulins. This is cafe where the movie Amelie was filmed. If you haven't seen this movie--you should. It's a charming story with some great shots of Paris. We had promised Matt we would take a picture of the cafe, so Matt--these are for you!
And I saved the best for last, Matt!! Here it is:
We had a lovely lunch there, we each had a delicious salad and shared a beer. We thought of you, Matt and wished you were there with us!
After our delicious lunch we continued on our walk, finding the last landmark on our ininerary, the Moulin Rouge. I;m sure it was prettier many years ago--now it just looks odd sandwiched between two tall buildings on a busy street. But here it is:
At this point we were back down the hill, back to the busy streets of "city" Paris. Lots of hustle & bustle, traffic and noise--certainly not the village feel of Montmarte! This area of Paris has a bit of a seedy feel, but of course, it's all interesting to us. We walked a few blocks in each direction, browsed in a few stores, and then decided to visit a different neighborhood. Down to the Metro we went, we're off to the Marais district.
One of our guide books describes the Marais as "jumbled medieval Paris at it's finest." An it was wonderful, a great mix of beautiful residential buildings, antique stores and trendy boutiques. And more than a few sidewalk cafes! Of couse, by this time we needed to rest our weary feet, so we picked a cafe, and ordered a couple of beers. The waiter was charming and friendly (and didn't try to snuggle up for a picture, !), when he saw that we couldn't seem to make up our minds on which beer to try--he brought us samples! He also served us delicious olive tapennade on toasted bagette slices, yummmmmm.
Now refreshed and relaxed, we explored a few boulevards, and found the lovely Hotel de Ville.
We walked in to the courtyard for a closer look, and found a great door:
By now it was past dinner time, our feet were tired, and we decided to spend the evening "in". We Metro'd back to our lovely little apartment, had a delicious dinner of a bagette, cheese and of course that wonderful French butter! A glass of wine? Of course!