Monday, September 29, 2008


After the Arc de Triomphe, we took the subway over to Montmartre hill. We were starving, so we stopped and had a bite at one of the many Tunisian restaurants and then started up the hill. Pelagia was thrilled to learn that this was also the location of the city's fabric market. We slowly made our way up the hill to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart (see second photo), with periodic stops in discount fabric stores along the way. While waiting for Pelagia at one of these stores, I became fascinated by a game/scam that was going on in the middle of the tourist area (see top photo). Here, the man in the pinkish shirt is being conned. He first bet 20 euro on a guess as to which of the three disks had the white mark underneath. Of course, he lost, and the guy (and his crew which were posing as by-standers) realized they had a live one. They encouraged him to try to win his money back. One helpful "bystander" even suggested some foolproof scheme that involved him going to an ATM and withdrawing 500 euro, which he would then somehow magically double. The guy pulled out his wallet and showed them his ATM card and said he was going to get the money. I seriously considered following the poor guy to warn him that he was being scammed, but fortunately he came to his senses at the last minute and said he was out. They then asked if I was interested.

Anyway, eventually we made our way up the hill to the church, past the green grass and stairs with lots of people laying out in the sun or listening to street musicians. We explored the inside of the church, and then climbed the 300+ stairs to the top of the church for the second highest view in Paris (after the Eiffel Tower). It was quite a workout! In the third photo, you can see me and the Eiffel Tower in the background.

The fourth photo was taken on our way down and shows a top view of some of the gargoyles you always seen on these gothic-style churches. It turns out that they're actually water spouts, designed to keep water away from the sides of the building. There's also supposedly a mythical element which says that their hideous figure keeps evil spirits at bay.

After the view from the top, we also went down into the crypt underneath the church, which contains more chapels. Finally, we headed back down the hill, where I had a coffee and rested and Pelagia explored the fabric stores more. She says it's worth a trip to Paris just for the great deals on fabric!

More tomorrow...

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