There are bus tours, four that cover the city, so we are taking one of them up to The Basilica du Sacré-Cœur. On the double decker red buses we are bundled up even though it is a bright warm day, but on the top tier the wind is brisk! The buses stop a little too frequently for my liking, often sitting for twenty minutes or so at each stop, but the narration of the view from the bus is very good. We reach Place St Peters and look up the hill to a pedestrian traffic jam. The narrow street appears to be THE street needed to get to Sacré-Cœur. Narrow and filled with peddlers selling cheap souvenirs or executing some sort of shell game, we make our way slowly up the hill to the funicular or stairs (your choice) that will take us to the next level of steps and the church.
Getting off the funicular there is another plaza level of men selling bracelets or miniature Eiffel Towers that light up in pink or green. The souvenirs are displayed on small rugs on the ground, so watch your step! We take the final set of steps and reach the square of Sacré-Cœur, where there are tents set up and another Christmas Market in full swing.
Passing the market tents we reach the church. There has been a line to get in at every church we have visited during our stay and there is no exception here. At Notre Dame the line wrapped around itself and kept on going with hundreds lined up to get in. My real surprise has been the Muslim families lined up with their children waiting to get in the churches. My second surprise was the Nativity scenes inside the churches. They are not outside as we see in the US, most likely due to their shear size and their age perhaps. Inside Sacré-Cœur the pasty white nuns are scurrying to add more chairs and others are managing a gift shop. The church is beautiful, however the signs says, “NO PICTURES” and these nuns look like they mean business. Outside again we head up to the village above the church where there is a small square with artists at their easels busy sketching or painting.
We decide to eat at one of the cafes along the plaza perimeter, Cadet de Gascogne, and watch the crowds before the sun sets. After eating we walk around the artists easels and look at their work. I notice that many of the children in the crowd are carrying small paper plates with a tiny piece of pottery on them that is freshly turned. They are gingerly guarding the plates so passers-by in the crowds don’t touch them or tip over the plate.
Further along the market stalls we see children standing around a man who is busy making them a piece of pottery. Having seen what we came to see we peer over the wall and look out over the city. It is spread out and beautiful. I love the picture I took of the Eiffel Tower from the top. (See the video)
Looking down at the street below I can also see the hubbub street we walked up. There is a parallel street one block over that is absolutely empty of travelers or peddlers! We walk down that one instead of the one we came up on. So blissful! Our stop at Sacré-Cœur would not be complete without pictures of the Moulin Rouge which is on the base street below the church. It wouldn’t even stand out if the windmill was not on the roof. Enjoy the video of our day at Sacré-Cœur!