Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Walking Tour of Montmarte

We were already getting bored with Paris, so we opened our guidebook and read through the walking tour options. Our choice was the quaint town of Montmarte, popularly known as the bohemian capital of Paris.



As soon as we got off the train station, we saw the difference, from grand Paris to something very charming. We walked up a street filled with street magicians leading to the Basilique du Sacre Coeur, a tourist filled landmark on top of the hill of Montmarte.


Just like the Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur was grand and majestic. It had great views of Paris, since it was the highest point of the city. One can see all the landmarks on a clear day.


You would notice that it was made on a different era, and the Roman-Byzantine inspired basilica was built to honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus.


The interior was amazing as well. It was forbidden to take pictures, but I managed to snap a few. I was even scolded for doing so. There were spectacular gold mosaic murals on the walls and ceilings.


After visiting the basilica, we looked through our guide book and took the walking path indicated. We found our way to the Art Square, where several painters were at work and displaying their masterpieces. Some even offered to make a painting of us, but we didn't bother.


It was already lunch time, so we consulted our guide book again to which restaurant to eat. We were intrigued with one named La Cremaillere that have been in business since 1900. Turned out that the antique restaurant was located in Art Square.


We walked further on after lunch, passing by the Dali exhibition. We saw several interesting stores and cafes as we snaked our way through the maze of alleys that made Montmarte charming.


Our last stop was the red light district. It was kind of embarrassing to bring Lizzy to this area, but I wanted to take a picture of the Moulin Rouge. We had to keep her away from the sex shops that lined up the street.


After seeing the Moulin Rouge, we went underground again to go back to our hotel. We visited the Musee d'Orsay, which housed more modern masterpieces from the likes of Van Gogh. Picture taking was prohibited so we had no record of that visit.

We were quite happy with Paris, but still, I was expecting way more. Probably, it's the idea of Paris being so glamorous that made me disappointed. It wasn't. It was city that had so much history, one would be in awe with all its wealth in both art and culture.

It was the end of Part 1 of our Europe escape, and we were so excited for our next country: Italy.

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