Montmartre - Sacré Coeur
On the weekend of the 10th I decided to finally do some tourism by myself (apart from walking around the area in which I work) and went to the Sacré-Cœur Basilica on top of the “butte Montmartre.” Thanks to the lovely Rick Steves (para mami) I was able to go prepared, having read a brief summary of the history/historical context, what to do around that area, how to get there, etc.
When I got there I realized that I had completely overlooked an obvious factor: Saturday afternoon in June…Tourism was insane - the thing is, that’s normally not a problem (because the Jardin du Luxembourg is full of us) - this time there were SO many people trying to take advantage of the tourism, and that’s the worst part. Apart from the depressing “souvenir” shit that is sold around the proximity (who wants a tiny, clear plastic eiffel tower with a million random lights flashing as if you were going to some rave?), there was a line of people spanning the staircase leading up to the basilica literally waiting to “attack” you as you walked up. They ran up to you and asked, “Where are you from? Where are you from? Ah! Messi! Messi! Maradona! Here, pretty bracelet! Eiffel Tour keychain!” and literally started putting shit on me. I had to practically run from them… It was crazy. Once I got passed that, though, it was beautiful and nice (as you can see from the pictures). Surprisingly the basilica isn’t as old as one would imagine - it’s from the turn of the 19th century (finished 1914, according to Wikipedia), but it’s still amazingly beautiful (and clean on the outside). Inside was also beautiful. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take pictures, but maybe there are some online, haha. It was very, very spacious (like any good church :-P) and had a lot of amazing art on practically ever wall and ceiling.
After visiting the basilica, I walked around the famous neighborhood. Not surprisingly, it is so beautiful! (I feel like I use beautiful 10 times every post… sorry!) The apartments have the classic Paris “look,” like most of the apartments in Paris, yet they are extremely well kept, clean, and decorated. Not sure if I posted a picture of the neighborhood, but you might be able to see what I am talking about in the pictures. Most of the balconies had flowers and white curtains, which added a great touch - incredible attention to detail! Anyways, I wish I could show you guys more pictures, but it would be too much, haha.
My final destination was the famous Montmartre Cemetery, which houses a lot of famous French artists, scientists, etc. It is really a sight to behold… I tried very hard to capture the atmosphere, the scenery, the “feel” of it, its size, and everything, in pictures but it was just impossible. It’s literally like a city of graves; there are roads with names and tiny paths between graves - not to mention some colossal graves/tombs/”monuments,” most of which date back to the 19th and early 20th century. Like one would expect, it’s a very quiet and somber place where you even see people carrying flowers to put on the graves of their loved ones… I felt pretty bad taking pictures in there, I felt like I was violating people’s privacy and being disrespectful (tourist like me going “Oh! *snap* Ah! *snap*” while somebody goes and puts flowers on the grave of their late husband… :/ ). Anyways, apart from the sadness and somber feeling, it was a very pleasant place and I had a nice stroll around there. I even managed to find the graves of two mathematicians/physicists! Foucault and Fourier(!).
Okay, I’ll leave it at that because I have like 3 other blog posts that I need to write, so for your sake and for my sake, I am going to cut this short and get to work on the others!