Category Archives: Paris

Sunday morning in Montmartre

Montmartre Rue Maurice Utrillo 2

I never go to Montmartre. The Sacré Cœur and its surroundings are must-sees when you visit Paris but because it’s not central and I have no particular reason to ride the subway up to the butte, I hadn’t been since showing a friend around a year ago. What prompted me to return? A picture from the Brassaï exhibition at the Hôtel de Ville showing rue Foyatier, flights of stairs running down the hill with gorgeous lamps. There was an air of mystery to the image telling me that I was missing on something.

Montmartre 1

Montmartre 2

Today was an exceptionally sunny day in an otherwise drab, rainy week, so it was perfect for exploring. I rode the subway up to the Abbesses station on line 12. What is striking about Montmartre is how it reminds one of a village within the city with its cobbled streets, greenery and old charm. This is after all where Amélie Poulain was shot.

Montmartre rue Gabrielle

Montmartre rue Chappe

Walking up the butte and along rue Gabrielle, you will come across a first picturesque flight of stairs on rue Chappe. Then turn around and climb those steps to get your first glimpse of the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur.

Montmartre Sacré Coeur 1

Head towards the grand entrance of the basilica but make a stop just before the funicular on your right: that is where you’ll find rue Foyatier, the beautiful street I mentioned in the introduction.

Montmartre rue Foyatier

You are now on the highest point of Paris so do take in the view. The basilica is surrounded by hordes of tourists but a music player (a harpist today) will probably ease the moment.

Montmartre view 1

Montmartre view 2

Montmartre Sacré Coeur 2

Montmartre Rue Maurice Utrillo 1

With its monumental size and architecture, the Sacré-Cœur is a sight to behold but not really worth visiting several times. Instead I circled the basilica and headed down the charming rue Maurice Utrillo. Once there I turned right down rue Paul Albert.

Montmartre rue Paul Albert 1

Montmartre rue Paul Albert 2

Wouldn’t you want to live there? And doesn’t this building remind you of the Flatiron in New York City?

Montmartre rue Paul Albert 3

Then walk down the rue Ronsard to reach to the bottom of the park with its lovely carousel.

Montmartre Sacré Coeur 3

Montmartre carousel

Montmartre Sacré Coeur carousel

To return to the top of the butte, you can either climb the 222 steps of rue Foyatier or use a metro ticket to ride the funicular.

Montmartre fountain

Montmartre place du Tertre

The place du Tertre is very touristy and honestly I didn’t bother to look at the art, but it’s a reminder of Montmartre’s past as the home of great painters such as Picasso, Van Gogh, Salvador Dali and Claude Monet.

Montmartre Eiffel Tower

There are many other things to discover in Montmartre: vines, tiny cobbled streets and chic houses half-hidden behind gates… Alas, my phone died. So now I suppose I have another good excuse to explore the area?

Have a great week everyone!

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Let’s go back to Versailles, shall we?

Versailles gallery of mirrors

Earlier this week we explored the private apartments of the French Kings and the Royal Opera in Versailles. But these are not the only areas my parents and I visited in this beautiful château: sacred treasures from faraway lands, delightful pastries by Angelina and a run through the Gallery of Mirrors were part of the trip too.

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Versailles chapelThe Royal Chapel getting ready for a concert

Upon arriving, we first headed to the temporary exhibition on the treasures of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. A few centuries ago, the royal courts of Europe would present this church in Jerusalem with lavish gifts as it contains the place where Christ was crucified and buried. From seeing the objects on display, you’d think the kings were competing on who would come up with the most extravagant and precious presents. A couple of items like the one below contained a piece of the Holy Cross, which was impressive to me.

Versailles Holy Sepulchre Holy Cross

Versailles Holy Sepulchre robes

Versailles Holy Sepulchre

When exiting the exhibition, we found ourselves on the terrace facing the notorious balcony from which Marie-Antoinette bowed to an angry mob.

Versailles building 2

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And decisions, decisions… Where to eat? Why, Angelina of course! We were short on time before our commented visit and you have to go through the whole château to get there so we decided to rush through places like the King and Queen’s bedrooms that usually deserve more than a glance. But you can see them in this post.

I still managed to peek at the gardens à la française

Versailles garden 2

…and to discover a new room, as is the case at every visit of this huge palace. This is a gallery dedicated to the battles won by the French army.

Versailles salle des batailles

It was quite a feat to make our way through the crowd in the narrow galleries. So imagine our excitement when we finally came face to face with this.

Angelina

Ah Angelina, you never disappoint. And you fueled us up for our lovely tour.

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Versailles room detail

Versailles window 2

On our way to the Royal Opera, I came across these two women embracing in a desert room. An encounter that made me smile and think of the heated debate about gay marriage in France …

Versailles women embrace

It was really hard for me to choose pictures of the Royal Opera for my previous post. I loved them all! I’m still in awe of the beauty of the place.

Versailles opera view from stage

Versailles opera balconies

And this brings our visit of Versailles to an end for good. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

Versailles gate 2

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