Sunday, 2 September 2007

Montmartre/Sacre Coeur

We began another Sunday with a mass. This time it was at Sacré Coeur. I was curious what a mass there would be like. We arrived a few minutes late (I never leave enough time to get anywhere) and then entered the roped-off section for those attending mass. Tourists paraded around the periphery while the nuns sang and the priest preached. I wondered if the priest ever became self-conscious with all these people streaming by. Maggie wondered aloud “why is the priest shouting?” He WAS loud- his microphone was turned up too high. The mass went on a long time. And to further cheer things up, the organ played music that was fit for a haunted house. It caused me to drift into thoughts of Disney (my favorite is the Haunted House). We were hoping to go tomorrow.

We head out of church and have lunch at a Créperie where we refueled in order to climb all the steps to the dome of the Sacré Coeur. We began in the crypt of the church and enter a very small and dark spiral staircase. Maggie was scared, but we plowed on. After ascending the 300 or so steps, we were rewarded with a very cool view of Paris, and of the gargoyles and other architectural details around the dome.

After descending, we look for Sean at Place de Tertre where the artists hang out. It seems like there used to be more artists painting and selling their wares. There still are some, but there are also too many “portrait artists” who want you to sit still while they draw your picture. What do I want with a picture of myself? Oh, the kids? I don’t have patience for this kind of thing, so it would have ruined the fun for the kids. We find Sean right away which was surprising as the area is filled with people (silly tourist like us).

After stopping at a café for a snack, we head to the Montmartre Cemetery. There’s something really special about cemeteries. The solitude, the reverence for those who have passed, the realization that our lives our finite- I’m not sure what it is that instills in me a sense of wonder and peace. And this one is especially nice in that it has cute little mausoleums for whole families, occasionally with beautiful stained glass for windows. It’s one of the first places I came to when I moved here in 1986. Not on your usual top 10 list for Paris. The kids and Sean and I all enjoyed walking down the aisles noticing the different details, names and decorations.

Not to forget, along the way to Montmartre Cemetery, we run into a very bizarre shop called “Tombée d’un Camion” (Fallen from a truck). It was a fun and eclectic collection of things-thread, buttons, dolls heads (see photo), old match boxes, some beads, old printing press parts and wooden spools. I’ll be back!
As we headed for the métro home, we passed the Moulin Rouge. Not at all seedy during the daytime. And I always thought that the Red Mill was really big. Not so, it was quite diminutive actually. Thus ended a day trip to a really colorful part of Paris.

1 comment:

Jen said...

I love the Sacre Coeur. I would put it among the top of all places I've ever gone. Enjoy!