Our Adventures in Paris Continue

Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Paris, Île-de-France, France
It is fascinating but I am finding the section on Paris the most difficult to write mainly because it is difficult to know whether to write about the history, the people or the scenery. So we went to Montmartre to visit Sacré Cœur and walk around the area. The basilica is on the highest point in Paris so there are great views of the city. The church itself is magnificent because it is constructed of white stone that does not weather like some others. By European standards it is quite new as it was started in 1875 and completed in 1914. It is not as ornate or luxurious as many other churches in Europe but well worth a visit just for the panorama and the surrounding area. What makes the area interesting is that it has been a nightclub area and artist colony for about 150 years being home at various times to people like van Gogh, Matisse, Renoir, Picasso and of course, Toulouse-Lautrec. Some of the artists in the square just near the church are very good. The restaurants and houses are also worth a look. Pigalle, at the foot of Montmartre, is one of the old red-light districts of Paris as well as the home of the Moulin Rouge and Follies Bergere.

Paris is a walking city and where better to start than at Montmartre as it is downhill from there . So where did we walk to, the shops of course. It is sale time in Paris which to Sue and Rebecca means bargains but to me means the prices have been put up so they can be reduced!!!.There are two department stores in Paris, Printemps and Galleries Lafayette which are right next to each other with an absolutely amazing range of items especially men's and women’s fashion. Galleries Lafayette is also famous for its colourful glass leadlight dome roof, and its Paris street and Metro maps which are an essential item here in Paris. One innovation which we were not aware of previously is that you can now also get maps at all the underground stations – there are a number of different ones but ask for the one with the blue front, "Paris avec Rues".

It is also difficult to visit all the museums in Paris but Musee d'Orsay is a must every visit. This is a converted rail station which probably has the greatest Impressionist collection in the World. I have used the word before but it is “overwhelming” to see so many Matisse, van Gogh, Monet, Pissarro, Cezanne, Renoir, Degas, Bonnard, the list goes on and on, in one place. This is only part of the collection as there are also complete recreated art nouveau rooms and other famous artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec and Millet.

The other photos in this part are of our wanders which are described in the text next to the photos.
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