Paris: Day 5

DenaNovember 24, 2010

Sacre Coeur Basilica

I can’t believe I made it—Day 5—my last day in Paris!

I had a wonderful time staying with my Couchsurfer hosts for my first four nights in Paris, but decided to spend my final night in a hotel. I wanted to get the “full” Parisian experience & felt that a hotel stay was a necessary component.

I would spend Day 5 in Montmartre, so I looked for a hotel there. It was surprisingly difficult because almost everything was booked. Luckily, there was an opening at the Jardins de Paris Montmartre which was fairly priced and had good reviews.

So I woke up to my final day in Paris, packed my things, and headed toward my hotel in Montmartre. Once I arrived, I checked in, unloaded my bags, took advantage of the in-room Wi-Fi and then headed out into the village of Montmartre.

Montmartre is a charming village. The streets are lined with restaurants, shops, and carts. Flowers pour out onto the sidewalks with petals dripping like spilled paint. There is no shortage of vegetable carts, cheese shops, and fresh fish vendors in Montmartre. Make sure to bring your appetite because you will be persuaded to try a little bit of everything as you wander the narrow, village streets.

My first stop was Les Deux Moulins, the café where one of my favourite films—Amélie—was filmed. The café was not difficult to find. The place was quaint, and the interior has been kept the way it was in the film. It wasn’t quite as I imagined it to be, but I sat for a drink anyway as I’d been looking forward to that moment for years. I had an iced vanilla espresso which was tasty, but definitely overpriced.

After the café, I made the short walk from Les Deux Moulins to Le Moulin Rouge. Yes the famous Moulin Rouge—I had such high hopes… but I was underwhelmed. Le Moulin Rouge is simply a big, red windmill perched atop a nondescript building. Oh well, I’m glad I got to see it.

Next, I made my way toward one of the things that I was most looking forward to throughout my entire trip—Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Paris, commonly known as Sacré-Cœur Basilica. Just when I thought that Paris could present me with no more steps–there they were. Perhaps more steps than I’ve ever seen!

I wandered through the maze of tiny streets leading to the Basilica. I ascended flight after flight of stairs. Up & up I went, seemingly toward the top of the world. My legs and lungs were ready to pop like over-inflated balloons; but I pressed on, certain that heaven was just a flight away.

Graffiti/art on a building in Montmartre

At the top of the hill, hordes of artists sat & cooed, drawing portraits and soliciting patrons. I weaved my way in and around them, ducking into tourist shops all the while. I acquired various trinkets for my friends & family—best of all gorgeous scarves for the beautiful women in my life. I also picked out a charming pocket watch for my father.

The beautiful Sacré Coeur

The Paris skyline with rain clouds rolling in

Sacré-Cœur was lovely, like a giant cloud palace atop the hill. Unfortunately my photographs are dim as clouds were pushing across the sun. For the first time during my trip, a dark shadow was cast over Paris.

Perhaps the loveliest part of Sacré-Cœur are the stairs in front of it. Here performers of all shades & talents gather—men on drums, a puppeteer performing the creation story, a guitarist, a man handling a soccer ball with legs & feet. And from up there you really do get the ultimate view of Paris.

When I’d have my share of curious observation, I made my way down the stairs. From there, I had a spectacular view of the Basilica and snapped a few more photographs before moving onto the gorgeous carousel.

Afterward, I wandered back into the village. This must have been the garment district of Montmartre, where all manners of fabric spilled from the store fronts—silks, velvets, golds, reds, stripes, sequins, tulle—fabric like jungles, rainbows, diverse & colorful as a rainforest. Just then, it started to rain and I felt dizzy. So for the first time in Paris, I waved a cab and got a lift back to my hotel.

Back in my room, I collapsed on the bed & searched the Web for the best local restaurant I could find. I relaxed, cleaned up, and later headed to Bohéme—a beautiful bistro just up the street from my hotel—for dinner. I enjoyed a lobster ravioli dish with a glass of Bordeux. It was absolute divinity, one of the best meals of my entire life. Although I was stuffed by the end of my meal, it was my last night in Paris, so I splurged and ordered a slice of Croquant Chocolat surrounded by liquid chocolate & vanilla.

Beyond full, I headed back to my room. I prepared everything for my early morning departure and then laid down in bed to read, write, and finally sleep.

So, that’s all folks! My final day in Paris. I will make a few more posts about the trip (Things I Learned in Paris, etc.) but in the meantime make sure to check out all of my Paris posts:

This is Paris
Dining in Paris
Paris Day 1
Paris Day 2
Paris Day 3
The Catacombs of Paris
Paris Day 4

Comments (4)

  • Dena Botbyl

    November 24, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    evolution you | My 5th & {FINAL} Day in Paris :

  • Dena Botbyl

    November 24, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    I can't believe it's over! Read all about my 5th {and final} day in Paris ::

  • Andrew

    August 3, 2011 at 12:48 am

    This was a great wrap up Dena!

    Upon arrival in Montmartre I bumped right into Dominique Pinon (who plays Joseph, the angry guy in the cafe in Amelie).. For the life of me I couldn’t remember his name on the spot but had a stupid look on my face anyway. Then for the next few days I kept bumping into him/seeing him around the place, it made the visit very surreal!

    1. Dena

      August 3, 2011 at 3:53 pm

      WHAT!? You bumped right into him? That is friggin’ surreal to say the least. I would’ve died! I still can’t get over how beautiful Montmarte is. Looking at these pictures gives me goosebumps.

      Travel does that to me. I can’t help but get this feeling like– “I WAS THERE??” It’s a cool experience for sure.

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