Paris Day 3: Basilica de Sacre Coeur and Notre Dame

I think we got up and moving slightly earlier this day. We grabbed some quiche for breakfast and headed back to Montmartre to see Sacre Coeur. After climbing countless number of stairs to get up to the top where the church was, we rewarded ourselves with an overpriced ice cream bar :) Next, we sat on the steps of Montmartre to enjoy the incredible view. This was another crowded tourist place, but it wasn’t so bad as there was lots of room to move around outside. Inside wasn’t too bad either. It wasn’t as interesting as Westminster Abby, nor as old, but pretty nonetheless.

We also went down into the crypts, which sounds spooky but wasn’t. Although they did have some real bones in a glass case – it didn’t say who, though. It also smelled really musty down there! They had some really neat artifacts on display too, like original priest robes and old notes and tons of gold heart trinkets with “SC” on them.

Next, we paid the 4 euro/ticket or whatever to climb 244 stairs to the top of the church (what? we paid to put our legs in pain?!?) It was a narrow, spiral staircase and you got very dizzy. The burn in the legs was crazy! However, it was all worth it as the view was spectacular!!!!!! We had a full 360 view of Paris. And it wasn’t crowded up there either, which was nice. I mean, there were people and it was a narrow space, but we could definitely pause and enjoy ourselves. Then we did the 244 stairs back down (gotta keep the muscle tone even….) on jello legs. We sat on a curb and enjoyed an accordian/violin duo playing in the street and rested our legs. Then we headed down the hill. Funny thing is there’s a trolley thing that takes you up and down the hill. We didn’t even consider it on the way up b/c we didn’t want to pay when we could climb ourselves. However, now that our legs were so rubbery, we looked at it and found out, ironically enough, that it was part of the metro system and our day passes covered it!! So, we could have taken it up. Oh well. But we did take it down (and were the only ones, too, because who would pay to go downhill??)

Next stop: Notre Dame. We worked our way over via metro and foot, and passed some other popular places along the way like Palais du Justice, Saint Sulpice, and the Concierge but didn’t stop in those . (Although, after rewatching “The Davinci Code” we wish we would have gone in Saint Sulpice hehe). We arrived at Notre Dame and were met by a zoo of tourists. Sigh. Still, it was a spectacular sight from the ouside. We joined the queue for getting in (no fee – yay!) and pretty much had to stay packed into a tight group moving through the church. It was beautiful inside!! However, there was no room to stand and enjoy anything inside. If you paused, then everyone bumped into you. Sigh again. So we pretty much just had to move with the flow instead of being able to go at our own pace, which was disappointing. But still, it was beautiful inside and we got to see it and the admire the rose windows and architecture.

We emerged back into the sunlight and walk around back to a park called Square Jean XXIII. We had read that this had the best views of the church and that was correct. Plus it was a beautiful, shady park to sit and rest. A little jazz trio started up and that was a very pleasant experience – sitting in a park, in the shade, listening to jazz. All we needed was a glass of wine! Funny story – I guess since Jazz is American, no one knew to clap after a jazz solo? Or maybe it’s just a musician thing? So we were the only ones who clapped after solos and then others caught on and later would clap with us :P

We were close to the Latin Quarter, so we walked around there.  It was very Americanized. It had a Starbucks and a Body Shop and other American stores mixed in with French ones.  It was fun to explore.

It was dinner time so we headed back to our hotel.  We asked the person at the front desk about a good place to go eat and he recommended a little restaurant right down the street.  So we went there and got a table outside on the sidewalk and tried to decipher the menu.  We couldn’t, but with a little help from our waitress who knew a little English we ordered a salad for our entrée (appetizer).  It was a very different salad.  It was lettuce under some type of ham (it looked like prosciutto to me) under toast under something that I think was a pâté.  Weird ingredients to us, but the whole thing put together was quite tasty.

For our plat (main dish) Phil ordered Linguine with sun-dried tomatoes and basil.  What I ordered I was quite sure except that it had chicken and fromage (cheese).  Omg, it was amazing!  It was a boneless chicken breast, but with the skin still on, so it was cooked all yummy.  That was on top of a pile of sautéed onions and mushrooms which tasted amazing by themselves.  All of it was covered in a cheese sauce that had a hint of chili in it.  It was soooooo good!

We finished the meal with dessert, which was crème brûlée, of course!!  SO GOOD!

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Jenny Cain

Spunky musician, artist, seamstress and horticulturalist. More about Jenny...