In May of 2009, my buddy Chris and I went to Paris, France. We stayed in a hostel in Montmartre. One morning right after breakfast (if you can call it that – it basically consists of several different varieties of bread) we decided to hike up to the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur which was at the top of the hill not far from where we were staying. Travel Tip: Don’t attempt an uphill hike after just eating loads of bread, unless you want to feel about 20 pounds heavier with each and every step.Here is a view that looks down on the hill we had to climb to get there:
Sacre-Coeur is still in use and so photography is not permitted and appropriate attire is required. I actually had a bit of fun watching the basilica bouncer kick people out for wearing over-baring outfits or for having to be told repeatedly that photography is not allowed. The number of scantily-dressed females who walked into the basilica surprised me. (It’s a church just like any other church, people!) The fact that most of them were American women in their early 20s did not surprise me one bit. I have to wonder – if you know that the basilica exists and you know how to get there (no easy feat!), then you must have at least read or heard a little bit about it. You should KNOW about the rules governing respectful behavior – and if it’s not common sense to you, this information is in just about every guide book! I remember one man in particular who just did not give a F@#$. He was told at least four times by the same bouncer to put his camera away and stop taking photos. You could tell that the man understood because he put his camera away each time. But every time the bouncer’s back was turned, out came the camera. This man had to be in his 40s or 50s and he was acting like such a child! The photos he was taking can’t have been any better than the ones all over the internet, especially since he had to keep taking them in secret. I don’t know why he just couldn’t stop taking pictures. He looked to be Chinese. I couldn’t help but remind myself that there are stereotypes for a reason.
And I’m sorry to report that I do not have photos or video from any of these incidents since you know…photography inside the building was NOT ALLOWED. I got so irritated when I found a bunch of pictures of the basilica interior on flickr. People can be just so incredibly disrespectful!The church itself was gorgeous. Chris and I were way more impressed with it than with Notre Dame, despite its much smaller size. The Christ in Majesty mosaic is one of the most beautiful I have seen. I love how the gold shimmers in the candlelight. Even the view from outside the church was spectacular. It sits at the very, very top of Montmartre. Did I mention that it’s the highest point in the city and that we had to climb Mount Doom to get there? Well, we did. And it is all stairs. But we insisted on walking there. You don’t have to. There are lifts that you can pay to take up the hill. It’s probably a pretty nice ride, offering a stunning view of the city all the way up.
Two negatives: We were hoping to catch a concert rehearsal inside that morning but the rehearsal didn't happen. Unfortunately the crypt was closed, so we didn't get to run around with the crypt keeper.