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Finally...My trip report Day 5

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Hudson Valley, NY
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Finally...My trip report Day 5

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.

Robin

Chicago, USA
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1. Re: Finally...My trip report Day 5

Wonderful report! I'll be exploring Montmarte further on my next trip.

Winnipeg, Canada
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2. Re: Finally...My trip report Day 5

Very enjoyable reports---thank you !

Victoria, BC
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3. Re: Finally...My trip report Day 5

Amazing! I can't wait to read the rest of the day! Thanks for Finally posting your day 5.

over here
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4. Re: Finally...My trip report Day 5

thanks Robin. You write so well I just love reading about all your moments. I had to laugh at the Brassai/Montmarte/L'escalier story. I enjoy his photos and wanted to see the steps. But the first time I went my mom demanded I recreate the famous photo as well. So I did my best and then walked up the whole thing because I knew if I chickened out and took the funiculaire she'd have my head.

Funny though, when I took her a couple years later, she immediately took one look and said "we're taking the tram."

p.s. I love the word "debacle" to describe all my klutzy adventures. I laughed my butt off when I saw you posted that!

Hudson Valley, NY
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5. Re: Finally...My trip report Day 5

JustGrace-

Thanks for not dis-owning me! I really did want to post- but my piece of crap computer had other plans! I did not want to post something this long from work- as surely I would by feeling like Donld Trumps' apprentices' Ya fied!

I love debacle too- makes me laugh when I say it!

Robin

Tampa, Florida
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6. Re: Finally...My trip report Day 5

Hi Robin,

Glad to read your latest travels. I too forgot about the "bracelet guys" until the second before I saw them. I just tried to avoid eye contact with them.. but a few of them still tried approaching me. After I ignored their initial comment, they would then ask me "where I was from". I just kept saying "no merci" and kept walking. And then they would act like me not answering their question hurt their feelings. One guy, acting rather upset, said "I just asked you where you were from!". I didn't have time to actually go inside Sacre Couer (I had to meet a travel companion at Pere LaChaise). So I just took in the view and took pictures from the outside. And like you, it had been cloudy but the sky cleared while I was there. And I found the stairs too. I actually decided to go down this way in hopes of avoiding the 'bracelet guys'. But as I approached the bottom, a few of them popped outta no where. They started harassing the girls in front of me. But to my pleasure, they ignored me.. they just looked at me, turned around and started looking for someone else to hit up. I'd like to think that I looked like a local who could've lived in the homes to the right.

Before heading off, I bought a crepe at one of the stands. And two young American guys were there and spoke no French at all. One guy was asking the other what 'fromage' was. So I told him it was cheese. lol. I saw them a few minutes later and they called me over to ask me some more questions. Made me feel good!

I wish I would've had more time to discover the rest of Montmartre. It sounds very nice from the way you described. So you find all the quaint cobblestone streets and artists behind Sacre Couer? When I go back later this month, that is one part of town I want to explore.

Oh and am interested in hearing about the Eiffel Tower debaucle. I also went to the Eiffel Tower late in the afternoon and waited til it got dark so I could see the city of lights come alive. It was soooo cold & windy, and I had lost my brand new leather gloves on the way there (darn those crepes! i took my gloves off to eat my very first one as i walked.. and lost 'em!). So I had to put my camera bag covers over my hands! lol.. I was so pathetic. Looking forward to hearing what happened to you---

Holly

Charleston, South...
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7. Re: Finally...My trip report Day 5

Well, since we leave tomorrow(!!!!), I'll have to wait a while to

read the rest. I reckon it's for a good reason, though.

I'll keep an eye out for the bracelet guys!

Ohio, USA
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8. Re: Finally...My trip report Day 5

Brilliant, Robin!!! Thank you. I'm happy to hear that it was nothing more than 'puter problems that kept you from finishing your report, and I too am eagerly awaiting the rest.

And to Floski - Have a GREAT trip!

Baltimore, Maryland
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9. Re: Finally...My trip report Day 5

Thanks for ending the suspense, Robin. You should publish your trip report! You really capture the essence of Paris - I could "feel" Montmarte through your writing!! I'm not sure that I want your trip to end!!! :) Looking forward to the debacle.

Sigh...just 10 more months for me...