Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Fifth time lucky

This morning we headed to the Sacre Coeur, a Roman catholic church located at the top of the Monmartre, the highest point in Paris.  It's fairly new, having been completed in 1914.  It will celebrate its centenary next year, so it's much younger than the Notre Dame which has this year turned 850 years old.  

We got out at Anvers, and arrived at road level to find the grottiest looking area.  We walked up the hill towards the Sacre Coeur, an impressive looking church with Romano-Byzantine features.  I've developed a slight head cold and had a bad night.  Hence, we took the funicular up to the church, instead of taking the steps.  My fitness instructor would not be pleased.

I must have made a dramatic recovery because soon we decided to climb to the very top of the church, which had nearly 300 steps.  The view of Paris was very very good from the dome.  Jean enjoyed it too despite it being so high.  On descending, we took a look inside.  The Sacre Coeur is not as impressive a church as the Frauenkirche in Dresden, but it's still worth a look.  It was fifth time lucky for me.  I've been to Paris five times now, and have never visited the Sacre Coeur before.  So, at last I've done it.  

It's also fifth time lucky for me in another sense.  On my four previous visits to Paris, I've always had a reason not to like the city.  When I came with my mother 31 years ago, there was the language barrier.  On my next visit, we were camping by the Seine in December, and it was freezing!  On the third visit, it rained the whole time.  My fourth and last visit was in January 1985, and it was -14 degrees.  I found out much later it was the coldest January for 100 years.  I never came again.  Jean had never been here before, and when she was planning this European tour, I was happy to leave Paris off the itinerary.  But now, I'm pleased to say I like Paris very much.  My first visit in 28 years has been worthwhile.

Us and the Sacre Coeur
Jean at the top, with the Eiffel Tower behind

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