I eat breakfast today and meet a really nice women travelling alone from South Africa. We talk candidly about our experiences alone. Today she is off to the louvre and I am off to Montmartre. The weather is cloudy, so I bring my umbrella and cross my fingers that it will not rain!
I exit the metro at the Anvers stop and soon realize that this is a much seedier part of Paris. I walk up Rue Steinkirque (sp?) and get tempted by all of the inexpensive souvenir's. I buy 3 lovely scarves....all ofr me of course and I am happy that I talked the owner into giving me a deal if I bought 3! I step outside the shop and to my surprise..the SUN is now shinng brightly. This put an automatic smile on my face. I really wanted to see Sacre Coeur in the sun. And than there it was....staring at me right thru the buildings on both sides of the street- a vision in White...Sacre Coeur! It was more beautiful than I ever imagined. When the sun shines- it looks so white and clean against the bright blue sky. As I get closer, the crowd thickens.
I stand in front and spot the carousel and close my eyes to hear the music. For a moment...I pretend I am Amelie Poulin. And then back to reality. I am trying to decide if I should walk up or take the funiculair to save my ailing feet. I decide to walk up part way and then I remembered the stories about the men accosting you with the bracelets. Just then, I see them. They spot you and swarm you- but since I knew they were coming I outsmart them by leaving both hands in the rainjacket pockets- HA!!! They still try to speak with you, but I just ignored them! I then walk back down and look for the funicular.
While there- I had a request from my boyfriend to try to get shots of a famous picture that he loves from Brassai. I find out from my research that the name of the road- which is actually a steep set of stairs- called Rue Foyatier. As I am searching for the funiculair- I see a set of stairs and a street sign at the foot of the steps that reads "RUE FOYATIER" BONUS!!! I can't beleive I found it. All I could think of was taking as many shots as possible so that maybe I would hit on the right one! So, forget about the ride up the hill- I brave my pain and I walk up the entire way- snapping pics at every turn. As I keep stopping to rest all I think to myself.."He better appreciate this..or he will PAY!
Proud of my discovery and my reslove- I continue on the the front Sacre Coeur. It was so pretty. The view from the steps was very hazy, but incredible all the same. As I am admiring the view- I hear the beautiful sound of a harp playing. I turn to see a man, sitting on the steps with a harp. He had just finished playing his tune. I walk closer to him as he starts to play his next song and it did not take me long to realize that he is playing one of my favorite classical songs..."Pacabel's Canon". The song always brings tears to my eyes, so it was no surprise that it did this time as well- but I would never have thought that I would say it happened in Paris on the steps of Sacre Coeur. Another moment made just for me!
I finished admiring the outside and followed the long line to see the inside. It was nice, but not as spectacular as the inside. I round the corner and head down the road to see the back of the church. This is where all of the artist's wait around to sketch you. I managed to escape about 5 of them- but just when I was not looking, some man had already started drawing me. I tryed to resist, but he was very pushy. All the while I thought- well I have a few minutes- and I will not buy anything I don't like anyway...so.....
We conversed while he was sketching me. He was a rather nice french man- he flattered me and siad I had great this and that - good subject to draw (obviously lines to get me to succumb). He asked where I was from and I told him, New York. 10 minutes later he tryed to sell me a portrait of some girl I did not recognize for 50Euro. After insisting that I could not pay more than 10 euro...he agreed. I thought he would never part with it for 10 euro- but he did. And the last thing he said as we parted ways....." You New Yorker's really now how to drive a hard bargain" Priceless!
I head down the back streets of Montmartre. It is so adorable. The tiny cobblestone streets, quite and away from all the crowds and commotion. The houses are very nicely maintained, but the roads are so uneven- bad on the tootsies. I think I must have twisted my ankle several times. I make my way to Rue Lepic and see the Moulin Gallette windmill.
I had the restaurant with the same name on my list for lunch. It was a lush little place. The inside was nice, but the best place to eat was in front or back of the outside. THey have a ilttle oasis in the back. Ivy covered walls, trellises, flowers, 5 tables and the windmill right above your head. My entertainment was the waitress who kept getting everyone's orders wrong and having to back and forth to the kitchen to redo more than I can count. My food was delish! They had a brunch for 25euro. I had fresh OJ, salmon, scrambled eggs, croissant, cafe, dauphine potatoes, salad and for dessert I huge bowl of REAL fruit salad with a mound of mango sorbet on top! Really great!
I finish the afternoon meandering and getting lost in this wonderfully homey neighborhood. I see Rue Saint Vincent, the vineyard and the Agile Lappin. Every corner I turn has a lovely feel and one is cuter than the next. I take a walk thru the Place du Tertre. While most consider this very touristy, I rather enjoyed it. Sure it was crowded, but just the thought of these artist's selling their wares and having an authentic Montmartre picture really gave me a warm fuzzy feeling. I would have easily bought some of this art- had I been able to afford it. Some was OK- Most were unique and exquisite! I really enjoyed this. I also made my way to Rue Norvins- which is also famous for some of the pictures of the Boulangerie and Le Consulat cafe.
From here I made my way to the Abbessess metro. On the way, there was a group of female street performers in a square who where dressed up and singing Parisian tunes. Lots of folks were crowded around, clapping to the music and enjoying a day that turned out to be sunny and beautiful! I decided to walk the steps down to the platform in hopes of having another "Amelie" moment, but the steps that I walked were definately not in the movie. They must have filmed those steps scenes at another station. What seemed like 1,000 steps to me- really were maybe about 200- but that is still alot! especially after having walked around Montmartre all day.
As I rode the metro home I had pleasant thoughts of living in Montmartre!
My plan was to go back to my hotel, shower and head out to see the Eiffel tower- arriving during daylight and staying until dark- including watching the sunset while in the tower itself. However, sometimes ' The best laid plans of mice and men do sometimes go awry" Stay tuned for my Day 5 evening Eiffel Tower debacle.