Awakening To Sacre Coeur, Paris

Bonjour everyone,

The beautiful white Basilica of  Sacre Coeur is now a Pilgrimage site and stands high over Montmartre, Paris. It lulls my french awakening everytime I walk into it when the nuns are singing their vespers – a stark contrast to the cries of St Denis before he was beheaded on the very same site back in the third century!

The high pitched  harmonious sound of choral nuns in this sacred space takes my breath away and it echoes over the foothills below. I was told by some locals that you can actually listen to their vespers live with Radio Notre Dame !

The walk through the gardens around Sacre Coeur is lovely and the view from the top across Paris is sensational. Take a look at this. You can even climb the spiral staircase at the top of  Sacre Coeur to get a more spectacular vista.

Follow down the back of  Sacre Coeur where fewer tourists go and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find some great inexpensive restaurants and cafes.  By the time you’ve eaten, go back up to Sacre Coeur and take a final look at dusk. It’s just superb!

To approach Sacre Coeur, you can  take The Funicular or cable car if you don’t fancy the steps. It runs from Place Suzanne-Valadon to the Place Willette just below Sacre Coeur. It’s magic to experience, especially with children who will be doubly excited when they finally set eyes on the swirling carousel at the bottom. (or perhaps you can use your child as an excuse to go on yourself!)

I’ve only ever had great days here in this very bohemian part of Paris, but I do suggest you be prepared for sometimes forceful  sellers of junky souvenirs at the bottom of the stairs.

Montmartre holds such an array of quirky shops and great experiences. You can do what I do and go fabric hunting as well.  Fabric houses three storeys high will keep you occupied for hours. (Go with a girlfriend!)

It’s a sewing and quilting paradise around here and you’ll find all sorts of gorgeous fabrics including toiles and also beautiful French tapestries.

Be wary though that you’re buying’ ‘Made in France’ and you’ll be so pleased to show it all off to your friends back home!

For night entertainment, there are plenty of bars and bistros and the famous Moulin Rouge is under the Moulin de La Galette,the last windmill in Montmartre- painted in bright seductive red. You can’t miss it!

Contact: http://www.moulinrouge.fr/home-flash-gb.html

for prior bookings to a fabulous show of dancers- a feathers and sequins extroadinaire!

Visit also the Place du Terte  near Sacre Coeur, filled with some very fine enthusiastic artists ready to sketch your portrait.  Albeit the Place is filled with tourists but that doesn’t deter their artistic talent and creativity! Take it all in. Nothing beats the smell of conti pastels in the hands of struggling artists!

Postcard shops also are in a frenzy for very good reason. Many here have a huge range and I  bought some wonderful vintage ones for friends back home.

Walk the cobblestone steep streets (with flat shoes of course) and get yourself lost through the maze of side streets and alleyways of Montmartre. Get yourself lost for a while.

It won’t happen for too long as you can always look upwards towards the hill of Sacre Coeur and it will lead you home!

Enjoy your day,

Au revoir,

Best Wishes, Therese Waddell

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