We started by heading up to the Basilica of Sacre Coeur, which is positioned impressively on a high point in the city. The views from the basilica were amazing, with all of Paris stretching out below. The interior was equally impressive and, again, there was a mass going on while we walked about the basilica.
Although I enjoyed the basilica's statues, art and ambiance, I had a problem with the way money was being pulled out of visitors. Okay, I should reword that. Nothing was 'pulled out' of anyone; it was all donations. However, I've been to the Vatican and seen the immense wealth the Church has, so I find it hard to swallow placards suggesting donations are needed to keep the basilica going. And when these placards and donation boxes are situated below a five foot tall - apparently solid silver - statue, I have an even tougher time with it. Of course, we don't want people melting down art for operating funds, but there was a lot of other revenue streams flowing in this church. There were the usual spots one could make a donation and light a candle to a saint. Plus there were machines with commemorative coins for sale and a 'gift shop' of sorts. There's a part of me that cannot get past this overt commercial aspect in what is allegedly a house of religious worship.
Okay, point made. 'nuff said. The basilica was quite beautiful and we enjoyed seeing it.
|St. Pierre de Montmarte, spookified|
We spent the rest of the morning enjoying Montmarte. First we jumped into the Place du Tertre, where we took in some of the local art, admired a few shops, and sat just outside a little restaurant to people watch and partake of escargot and snacks. It was always good to find time to sit during our stay in Paris! After thinking about entering the Dali Museum but getting a distinctive 'tourist trap' feel from the place, we headed down the Rue Lepic towards the less touristy part of Montmarte and made our way to the Montmarte Cemetery.
|At the grave of Emile Zola|
There are plenty of famous people buried in the Montmarte Cemetery. I believe Jim Morrison is one, but I wasn't all that keen on seeing his grave. We did located what I thought was the grave of Alexandre Dumas, until I remembered that the fils after the name means it was his son. But, while I didn't get to see the grave of one of the greatest romantic writers ever, I did get to see the grave of the master realist: Emile Zola.
Literary Geek Moment #1 of this trip!