One more thing I love about our new BFF Rick Steves is his self-guided walking tours he shares in his books. Fun, informative, easy to follow and gives the tourist the freedom to go at their own pace. (As we walked I truly felt sorry for the tourist groups of 20-50 people following a nasally woman with a microphone and flag.)
So, after our morning at the Louvre, following by one of the best picnic ever (Thanks, Rick), The Encounter, visit to the Orsay (where you can't take pictures), and a rest in a cafe watching the world go by for several hours (amazing how long you can make espresso and beer last. Espresso for me, beer for Gana.) we hopped on the metro and got off at Anvers.
Wait just a second. Are we in Paris or somewhere in the Middle East? Kabob anyone?
Diligently studying my guidebook looking extremely pensive.
More comical than sexy:
Let the tour begin:
1. Sacré-Coeur Church
The highest point in Paris is not the Eiffel Tower, a triumph of man's ingenuity. The highest point in Paris is the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a triumph of praise over trial. Sacré-Coeur (Sacred Heart) was built after German invaders wrecked Paris and her people in 1870. History tells us that things go so bad that people started eating their cats and dogs! It was in this time of poverty and mayhem that this church was conceived as a "Praise the Lord Anyway" gesture.
The five-domed basilica took 40 years to build. Inside is beautiful. Mosaics of Jesus and His sacred heart, the stations of the cross are definitely worth the climb. At the door of the church impoverished Muslim women beg for mercy and spare change. "The LORD protects the foreigners among us." Psalm 146:9
2. Church of St. Pierre, which we passed right by to get crepes. One has to have priorities, you know.
3. Bohemian Montmartre--Place du Tertre. Yummy eats and street performers. Bohemian and beautiful.
As we started our walk in the evening some things were closed, but that was OK with us. We had such a full day already, we really just wanted an evening stroll and some people watching.
Stop four, Dali Museum and stop five, Montmatre Museum both just got a head nod of acknowledgment. No pictures. We were too busy eating crepes.
6. Clos Montmatre Vineyard. This tiny vineyard is off-limits to tourist except for the annual harvest festival, which is in October. There they auction off the wine for charity. These quaint vines produce a whoppin' 300 liters a year. Precious.
7. Lapin Agile Caberet. For those reading this thinking we have lost our religion--we didn't see the show!!! (It was sold-out.) Picasso and his contemporaries would gather at this little club for performances ranging from poetry, sing-a-longs, dirty limericks and parodies. To be a fly on the wall of those gatherings!
More nods as we strolled by:
8. Bateau-Lovoir, Picasso's Studio
9. Moulin de la Galette
10. Van Gogh's House
11. Moulin Rouge. Here we felt compelled to take a picture for my sister who loved the movie and soundtrack. Here I am in my cancan inspired pose. No one, real or fictional, was flashed in the staging of this picture.
Tickets to the Moulin Rouge must be purchased in advance and over the phone. We didn't go in, which was OK, as the posters on the outside were risque enough.
12. From the Moulin Rouge you can walk down
The Pigalle subway station:
Gana and I were done with Montmartre and happy we were staying the night in a quieter quarter when we got on the metro. Then something happened that sealed the deal on the Parisian Sin City. We watched a derelict smoke crack off the back of a magazine with a pocket-sized bong. Rick Steves never mentioned this.
So we decided to hop off the rail in an unknown (to us) area of town, somewhere by the opera house. Call us gluttons for punishment or hopeless adventurers.
Hungry, we found a corner restaurant still open (it was about 11pm) and had a perfect meal if ever there was a perfect meal.
Champagne and Spanish olives while we looked over the menu.
Entrée (appetizer): mixed meat pie and duck foie gras, both with gherkins and toasts
Cheers, my love!
Le plat (main course): Grilled lamb (see that lovely coarse salt?) with green beans and pomme frittes. We enjoyed this with the house red wine.
After dinner while I had a café créme and Gana had hot cognac.
Now to find our way back the Rue Cler, some place much more our speed.