The first time I saw the Sacré-Cœur was from a distance: the first floor of the Eiffel Tower. Back then, I had limited time in Paris and couldn’t visit. I told myself that I would come back to explore Montmartre and the famous basilica.
So when I was planning the itinerary for my return trip, I allocated one full day to Montmartre. It was such a leisurely day: walking around the winding cobblestone streets, popping in and out of souvenir shops, eating only dessert foods, and taking in the sights and sounds of the area.
Opened in 1933, this is the oldest vineyard in Paris!
One of France’s most beloved singers, Dalida, lived in Montmartre for 25 years before her death on May 3, 1987. I didn’t know it at the time, but I took these pictures of her statue exactly 31 years later on May 3, 2018. What a strange coincidence!
At the Place du Tertre, the silhouette artist told me to sit on the stool and to look “over there” – his hand gesturing to the Sacré-Cœur dome.
It was meditative as I held my pose. I remember clearing my mind and focusing on my breathing.
Before I knew it, the talented artist had completed the silhouette of my new hat and me!
Sounds of Montmartre
Here are two short video clips I filmed:
Finally, I got to see the white-domed beauty that is the basilica up close! Inside, it was dim, with only soft flickers of votive candlelight. There were two gift shops, but they were located off to the side and far away from the nave so they don’t distract people praying in the pews. There were “no-photography” signs, but apparently many of us translated them to mean, “No DSLRs, but phones are OK.” So, here is my one photo of the inside. I quickly snapped it while I was sitting in the back: “I pray for my family, friends, and I am grateful for this trip and everything.”
When construction began in the late 19th century, this basilica broke tradition in a way. While other basilicas being built at the time were dedicated to the Virgin Mary (Notre-Dame) in the cities of Lyon, Lourdes, and Marseille, this basilica in Montmartre was dedicated to the Sacred Heart (Sacré-Cœur).
As I snacked on a clementine and nectarine that I picked up earlier from a grocer on Rue Lamarck, I could see other landmarks, like the Centre Georges Pompidou and the Montparnasse Tower, dotting the horizon.
Le Funiculaire de Montmartre
Since I had a Navigo Découverte pass, I knew I could ride the funicular unlimited times! So I rode the funicular up, down, and back up again.
When I got to the top, I decided to walk down. Along the way, I counted 214 steps, give or take!
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