Big sleep in this morning. Around 10 am before we got going. Headed to Montmartre
to visit shops and the Sacre Coeur
. The basilica was beautiful inside, but modern, so not a classic beauty. No photos allowed inside but that didn't stop too many people so I thought I'd take one myself. Heaps of souvenir shops and the crepes were pretty crap too. Settled on one souvenir shop with good prices and made our purchase. Going down the hill we found Pain Pain which won milleau of 2012 in Paris - must be an award for best baker. Bought a prize-winning baguette, a chocolate eclair and a croissant aux amondes. Lovely food. Then we found some cheaper souvenir shops - dammit. Lots of shops are run by Indians so English was no problem.
|Steps leading up to Sacre Coeur at Montmartre|
|Love this gargoyle|
|Difficult time of day to take a shot of the basilica|
|Streets of Montmartre|
Took the metro to Saint Denis to visit the Basilica of Saint Denis
. As it was under reconstructino there was a discounted entry to the royal burial chamber and crypt. The tombs of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were spectacular.
Ventured to some street markets. Fruit and veg were so much cheaper than our local greengrocer. We felt safer in a crowd of Negros and Arabs than at the tourist attractions where we'd always been very mindful of our belongings. It was obvious that we were tourists as every time we passed a fake La Coste shirt seller they approached me. So busy too. Long trip back by metro to Cluny La Sorbonne and the five minute walk home. Miky cooked gnocci and some meat we'd purchased. Such delicious food. After dinner she went out for a coffee.
|Dirty streets around St Denis|
|The dirty streets are cleaned up quite quickly|
|Inside the basilica at Saint Denis|
|Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette|
|The missus and Marie Antoinette|
At 9 pm I journeyed to the Champ de Mars to view the Bastille Day fireworks at the Eiffel Tower. Arrived at 9;35 with no hassles but no grass left to sit on that had a full view of the tower. Settled for the top half view in a standing spot as thought that the wait would only be for 15 minutes. Beautiful symphony orchestra playing classical composers' music to the masses.
|Crowd building for Bastille Day fireworks at Champ de Mars|
Fireworks started at 11 pm - when it was actually quite dark. I must say that the French do an extremely nice fireworks display. No cringeworthy songs playing during the show. After 37 minutes of fireworks it was time to brave the crowds using the metro to go home. The streets outside were mad with pedestrians mixing with impatient motorbike riders and car drivers. If ever there was an evacuation of Paris required they'd never manage it.
|Fireworks on the Eiffel Tower|
|Yet more fireworks|
Stood outside the train station for nearly 50 minutes before being able to get inside. The crowd was crushing at times and people were yelling out to stop pushing and that infants were being crushed. Bit stupid that the metro wasn't free.
Missed the first train as it was full. Got the next one OK. When we reached a full station there was a groan from the passengers but a cheer at a practically empty station.
Reached my train station at 12:54 am only to find that the last train had run. Thank goodness I had a street map with me or I'd never have made it home the two stations that I needed to walked (went in opposite direction to home initially). Arrived home at 1:30 am. Great experience.
|The crowd waiting to use the metro. Forty minutes wait from here just to enter the station.|
|Packed in like sardines|
Labels: basilica, Bastille Day, Eiffel Tower, fireworks, holiday, metro, Montmartre, Paris, Sacre Coeur, Sacré-Cœur, Saint Denis, St-Denis