The weather forecast for the week is fairly mild and sunny. It’s the second week without French course, because of the autumn holidays. With that much time on my hands (and not enough stamina to run more than 20 minutes at a time and not enough ambition to run more often than 3 times a week), I decided to spend Monday sightseeing in Paris.
I finally read most of the Paris guide book Gergö bought and now know that most museums have free entry on the first Sunday of the month. Since one of those is coming up and the weather looked great, I decided on visiting the Sacre Coeur.
I originally wanted to take the little funicular up the hill, because I hate steps and I love funiculars. But I frequently glimpsed Sacre Coeur in the distance, walked towards it and ended up missing the funicular station. I climbed up the steps, dodging the selfie-stick sellers and couples taking pictures of each other.
Even from the stairs, the view of Paris was pretty good. Once I was all the way up the hill, standing in front of the basilica, I decided I might as well continue my way up. For one, I was already sweaty at this point. Also, I figured, next time I visit, it’ll surely not be such a nice, clear day. 300 more steps up to the cupola didn’t make that much of a difference, right? I regretted the decision half way up the extremely narrow winding stairs. They were definitely too narrow to turn around, though, so I had to tough it out.
All the way up, the view was great. And there were stone benches, so I call it a win.
I don’t know what was more surprsing, that you could hear the guy playing “Hotel California” on his guitar for the tourists in front of the church or that could also smell the roasted almonds all the way up in the cupola. I think I vote for the almonds, as the guitar player used an amp.
The view, the details, it was all pretty impressive.
After the dizzying descent, I walked around Monmatre. It’s supposed to be one of the most touristy spots of Paris, and I believe it. It’s a lovely part of Paris, though and I enjoyed some chocolat chaud sitting outside! In October!
I made a point of taking the funicular down the hill. It’s a very short ride and the funicular itself is tiny. And even in there, you are warned of pickpockets. It’s also part of the Parisian public transport, so I could use it with my Navigo pass.
Down the hill from Sacre Cœur (ha! finally figured out how to do a œ!) there are lots of stores selling fabrics. Further along there were shops selling Shalwar kameez (I think). While walking back to Gare du nord the scenery went from touristy to not a tourist in sight pretty suddenly, for me. As I was walking along what must have been the largest cheapo department store in the world, there were men offering phones, guys with perfume, and street vendors of corn on the cob everywhere. Yep, I just looked it up: Tati covers Boulevard de Rochechouart 4-18! The scene was a pretty stark contrast to Montmatre with the overpriced cafés and souvenir shops but that’s Paris, too.