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Posts tagged Sacre-Coeur

The Arch of Triumph (part 1 of 2)

For our last full day in Paris we decided to start at the Arch of Triumph (Arc de Triomphe).

To reach the Arch you go underground and then pop up pretty much right under it. In the underground, pedestrian tunnel to get there you can purchase tickets to walk up the narrow, winding staircase within the Arch to the roof. It’s not cheap to get a view from the top at almost US$20 a person. Luckily, my kids were young enough to do it for free.

The skies were a bit more “normal,” compared to the day we went up the Eiffel Tower, since there wasn’t rain the night before this time. Smog was in the air, but the views were still pretty good. A bunch of streets, a dozen I believe, begin (or end, depending on your vantage point) at the Arch.

From the Arch there are similar views to those you get on the first level of the Eiffel Tower, including Sacre-Coeur. I’ll post some more photographs from the top tomorrow.

Sacre-Coeur (part 2 of 2)

We walked through the interior of Sacre-Coeur. Photography was not allowed, but it looked pretty similar to the other churches we’d been through in Paris with very high ceilings. Walking mats had been placed throughout much of the interior which covered up the fancy floors. It reminded me of those people that cover their furniture in plastic. Sure it may keep whatever you are trying to protect in pristine condition, but no one gets to enjoy the protected item in the meantime so what exactly are you protecting it for?

Back outside we waited with hundreds of others for the sun to set. The police cut off access to the upper area which meant no one could get up. For some unknown reason, the public toilets up top were also all closed around dusk. So now we had hundreds, if not more than a thousand, people crowded up top with no place to pee.

The views of the church and Paris below got better and better. Musicians came out of the woodwork to entertain the crowds.

You can’t actually see the Eiffel Tower from Sacre-Coeur as there are a bunch of apartment buildings blocking the view. However, if you head to the side a bit and peak through some trees you can get the above view. At the top of each hour the Eiffel Tower does a light show for 10 or so minutes.

Sacre-Coeur (part 1 of 2)

Let’s see, where were we now? Oh yeah, we went to Jardin du Luxembourg Park for a puppet show (that was horrible). On an earlier evening the park was nearly empty, but not on this day. The park was packed with people willing to pay to let their children play on the equipment. I’d never seen such a thing. Of course my kids also wanted to pay to wait in line to ride on regular playground equipment as well so they did. Actually, I paid for them. And I paid to pee. More on that in a future blog entry…

After a rather miserable experience at the park we decided to follow the recommendation of the crazy New York lady and go to a fondue restaurant near Sacre-Coeur. We hopped on the Metro and made our way to the area. Amazingly enough we found the place. Unfortunately, the fondue restaurant was closed for a week or two for vacation. This was actually a situation we encountered in Copenhagen and Paris many times. Some restaurants just close up shop for a few weeks during the summer for vacation.

The Montmartre area, where Sacre-Coeur and our closed fondue place are located, had a different feel to it. Moulin Rouge is also in this area. The streets are usually narrower and more inclined compared to the other areas in Paris (and especially compared to the flat Copenhagen we had grown used to). I was reminded a bit of parts of the Cinque Terra in Italy but without the Mediterranean Sea.

We grabbed some food to go at a nearby shop and headed for the grassy hill leading up to Sacre-Coeur. We ate on the hill. Here I was reminded of the Spanish Steps in Rome. Not so much because we were on a steep incline with people walking up steps on either side of us but because of all the foreign hawkers of goods. Many weren’t selling wares as much as they were tricking people into having “friendship bracelets” tied onto their wrists. After the colored string was woven tightly around the gullible person’s wrist payment was demanded.

After eating (and watching sucker after sucker have to pay to be left alone after getting stuck with new wristwear) we climbed to the top where we had great views of the church and…

great view of Paris from the church…

To be continued…

Eiffel Tower (part 2 of 2)

There are three levels on the Eiffel Tower. There is really nothing more to see from the top level, and based on how crowded the much larger, middle level was, I didn’t see any reason to become a sardine higher up.

In the above photograph you can see Sacre-Coeur in the distance in the middle. Closer, and to the right, are the Grand and Petit Palaises.

Jardins du Trocadero can be seen from the Eiffel Tower in the above picture. In the distance is Paris’s business center.

With some magnification you can get a good view of the Arch of Triumph from the Eiffel Tower.

The top level of the Eiffel Tower is still a long way up from the middle level.

From the park (Parc du Champ de Mars) next to the Eiffel Tower you can get the most common, postcard-type views of the Eiffel Tower.

One last note on the tower… If you take the stairs up, like we did, you can still take the elevator down for no additional fee.

Musée d’Orsay

After the Louvre, we walked through the Jardin des Tuilertes Park where a carnival of sorts was taking place. Compared to the Louvre, or anywhere else for that matter, this place was deserted. There were about 20 rides for the 10 or so people there. At several Euro a ride, no one was biting. We didn’t either.

We crossed a very cool bridge, called the Passerelle Solferino, to check out another first-Sunday-of-the-month, free museum, the Orsay. The queue was as bad as it was for the Louvre, but this line moved very slowly. It probably took us almost an hour to get in.

The Orsay previously was a train station and you could certainly tell from the interior. For a museum that has only been around for a little over twenty years the collection is amazing.

This sculpture, although not famous as far as I know, was my favorite. For a piece of rock, it sure can make the viewer curious as to what is being said.

The Orsay is loaded with works by Monet, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Degas, Pissarro, Sisley, and other Impressionist artists. My daughter enjoyed the audio guide while learning about Monet.

Van Gogh is my favorite Impressionist painter, but it was difficult getting very close to many of his works with the crowds.

On the top of the museum you can exit to wonderful views of the city. The green-roofed building on the left is the Opera Garnier, and the white church is Sacre Coeur which we visited on the following night. Stay tuned for more on that experience.

The restaurant and cafeteria on the upper level of the Orsay were absolute madhouses. For the restaurant you had to wait in an hour-long line. For the cafeteria you had to wait in a half-hour long line (and then eat standing up). The only good thing was that you had the above view through the mostly translucent clock. The clock may look as if it is backwards. It is from the interior. The clock is meant for those on the outside of the building.

After the Orsay, my daughter and I were spent. We collapsed in front of this statue in front of the exterior of the Orsay to plot our next moves. Can you see how tired we are in our faces?