Following on from my previous post about our trip to The Eiffel Tower, another place that I would recommend is Basilique du Sacré-Cœur and Montmartre.
It was recommended by my friend that I must visit this place and to make some time for it, and so we did. We were lucky our hotel was just a short walk away. After a short walk and a climb up the steps, we had arrived.
The Basilique Sacré-Coeur is the most famous Montmartre sight. It is a Roman Catholic Church which sits on top of the Montmarte Hill; it is the second highest viewpoint after the Eiffel Tower. People come to see its beautiful marble architecture and its interior, and the beautiful view from the hill. You can read about the history and architecture here.
From the top of the Montmartre Hill, we enjoyed a stunning and breathtaking panoramic view of the city, one that you could find on a postcard. Montmartre is the highest hill in Paris at 130 metres. If you don’t have time to go up the Eiffel Tower, then this would make a great complement.
Montmartre was rural until 1900 when it became famous with the arrival of artists such as Van Gogh, Picasso and Renoir. Despite the place being full of tourists flocking from all over the world, Montmartre still has a village atmosphere which sets it apart from the busy city.
A harpist sat at the steps in front of the Sacré-Coeur playing songs like the famous Pachelbel’s Canon and one of my favourites, La Vie En Rose. It was beautiful, I could sit there for hours listening to him play and enjoying the stunning beauty of Paris. It was an unforgettable experience!
It doesn’t end there. You can enjoy a walk around the Montmartre village. It is said to be one of the most romantic parts of Paris, despite the number of tourists around the Place du Tertre area especially.
Place du Tertre, is the square where artists come to set up their easels and display their artwork for people to buy. It’s a reminder of the days when the world’s best artists lived in the neighbourhood and did the same. An arty vibe still lives on in the area, thanks also to the film and music industry. The place has become more popular from movies such as Amelie, Moulin Rouge, Midnight in Paris and.. a movie i’ve yet to see – Monster in Paris, please don’t laugh at me :). In the area you will also find wanna-be artists who stop and do a quick on-the-spot portrait of you and they can charge quite a bit, so if you don’t want that.. – smile and keep on walkin.
In Montmartre, there are lots of souvenirs, snack shops and restaurants in the area, which are quite expensive and more targeted to tourists.. it didn’t stop me from enjoying my favourite – chocolate eclairs though! I got pretty excited seeing a range of different colours and flavours – i only see the usual chocolate ones back home. Can you guess which one i bought? And no, i didn’t buy one of each flavour, now that would be too piggy of me!
After roaming around the shops to check out bits and bobs, we lost ourselves in Montmartre’s steep, cobbled streets that weaved through the neighbourhood’s elegant flats and cafes. It’s definitely one of the most historic and interesting neighbourhoods in Paris.
One of my favourite shots, looks almost fake!
Would I go again? Yes!
Do note, as it’s a crowded place beware of your belongings and the scammers nearby. There are ones that have friendship bracelets, and try to put them on you and charge you – keep your hands in your pockets and look the other direction – unless you do actually want to buy them, then ignore my comment ;)
Did you know..
Montmartre was originally named “Mons Martis,” meaning “Mount of Mars.” This was later Christianized to “Montmartre,” or “Mount of the Martyr.” “Sacré-Coeur” is a reference to the sacred heart of Jesus.
Some other fun facts you may want to know about the Sacré-Coeur or Montmartre.
For information on how to get there and opening hours visit The Basilique Sacré-Coeur official site.