Okay, my reasoning for going to Montmartre which was pretty far away from the city tourist center was that the famed Basilica of Sacre-Coeur was there, many restaurants were recommended in this area, many guides I read said this was a great neighborhood to walk through, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec literally spent the entirety of his life in this neighborhood. Considering that his paintings are pretty raw and beautiful, there must be something inspirational about this section of the city. Well, that’s before I went there personally and realized that Lautrec spent 90% of his time in the Moulin Rouge.
I thought I was being smart by going one stop further down the line than what it looks like in the map as I thought I would be walking down-hill by that point and I would have a really good view of the city. Well, not. I almost died coming out of the metro as I was going up an endless circular staircase …. seriously. I was just following the exit signs and it was like 7 flights of stairs or something. I had a better time climbing up/down Notre Dame (that’s later though).
As I said, I thought I would have been going down hill at that point so I walked out of the metro and went down hill. Yeah, that was wrong. I got lost for like a half hour wandering through a pretty ugly section with nothing around but creepy weirdos (FYI, Mom, it’s too late to freak out). I eventually circled and made my way back to the metro I had left and then climbed up and up and up and up hill until I finally saw the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur and entered the major tourist section where I was approached four times in 2 minutes to have my picture drawn for “free”.
Okay, I don’t know what was happening but there was a massive “concert” on the stairs in front of the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur. It was nearly impossible to shove my way through the mass of people. Funny enough, everyone was gathered to watch a single guitar player singing Lincoln Park songs.
The whole experience felt so extremely anti-climatic. On the bright side, there were so many tourist shops in this area that I was easily able to find the perfect magnet for our collection and I even got a mini-Eiffel tower.
I was quite determined to see Paris, or at least part of Paris at night. I am introverted and personally hate being anywhere at night, especially alone in a strange city. Every piece of advice taught and ingrained by my parents was telling me to get some food and go home but I just knew that so much of what people say about Paris is about how it feels at night. So, I decided on seeing the Eiffel Tower and rode three different lines about 20 stops to get there.
This was a little less anti-climatic. I didn’t feel overwhelmed with inspiration or love but I did think it was worth seeing. After taking a few dozen photos of the tower at night, I grabbed some food and spent the rest of the night talking with my husband on Skype. The next blog post recounts my last day in Paris before flying back to Prague.