Montmartre

Sacre Coeur

Today we head for the hills. Montmartre is the hilltop district on the Right Bank capped by the Sacré Cœur basilica. Back in the day, wheat was grown here and milled into flour in the many mills, or moulins. Only a couple windmills survive today.

We walked here from our hotel, but first we will pass through the Pigalle section, which is where the famed Moulin Rouge nightclub is located. Of course, its heyday was during the Belle Époque, those peaceful times before World War I. Today, it is only a tourist attraction.

Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge Art

Moulin Rouge Art

Chimneys

Chimneys

From here, it's up the hill along the scalloped streets. We passed by Van Gogh's residence in the 1880s, and before we knew it we were atop the hill. Once on top of the plateau, we encountered the Moulin de la Galette made famous by Renoir. There was also a small park filled with French boy scouts and a decapitated bishop.

Scalloped Street

Scalloped Street

Moulin de la Galette

Moulin de la Galette

Parisian Boy Scouts

Parisian Boy Scouts

Saint Denis

Saint Denis

This is a charming neighborhood with a distinct feel—its narrow streets survived Haussmann's rebuilding of Paris in the 18th century. During the Belle Époque, the area became a Bohemian district and drew Dalí, Monet, Mondrian, Picasso, and many others. Today, it is mainly for the tourists.

Montmartre Street

Montmartre Street

Montmartre Cafe

Montmartre Cafe

Montmartre's Rue Cortot

Montmartre's Rue Cortot

Table for Two

Table for Two

Sacré Cœur View

Sacré Cœur View

Rowboat

Rowboat

Perched atop the great hill like a hood ornament is the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, or the Sacré Cœur. Construction began in 1875, but the basilica was not consecrated until after World War I. Because the sun is out today, the steps in front of the basilica are mobbed with people taking in the view of Paris below. We ventured inside, but they were in the midst of a service. So, we, and the other tourists, were quietly prodded along the interior's perimeter.

Sacré Cœur Basilica

Sacré Cœur Basilica

Montmartre View

Montmartre View

Scaré Cœur Stairs

Scaré Cœur Stairs

After we had our fill of the hazy view, we ventured down the long staircase called Rue Foyatier, which is beside the funicular. There was a lot of street art, and a lot of people huffing their way up. Once we reached the bottom, we explored the park directly below the basilica, but we were accosted by people offering us a free bracelet. Hard to shake these guys, but we had a decent conversation.

Staircase View

Staircase View

Weepy Street Art

Weepy Street Art

Stairs to Sacré Cœur

Stairs to Sacré Cœur

Below the Sacré Cœur

Below the Sacré Cœur

Next, we're headed for another high point in Paris.