Walk about in Paris
20.10.2010 - 20.10.2010 7 °C
After a late start I a caught the metro and headed to the Sacre Coeur. I arrived and walked up the hill Montmartre hill. As I reached the bottom of the steps leading up to the Sacre Coeur hill I saw the beginning of the hawkers and con artists. At the main entrance was the customary guy selling Eiffel tower figures, then as I reached the second set of stairs came a bunch of guys trying to give you a free bracelet, which normally once they have tied onto your wrist turns out to be attached to their wrist. They generally then ask for cash and if you refuse pull out a knife. From my understanding most people then pay even though the knife is to cut the bracelet off. Needless to say I wasn't having a bar of that one! I continued past as they called after me saying it was gratis and moved to the next stage in the gauntlet. I began to climb the third set of stairs to meet gypsie looking people who are faking being mute and try to get you to sign a petition. Once signed they then want some money as a donation. I walked on by and arrived at a viewing area from which you can see a lot of Paris.
I wandered up the last part of the way past more hawkers and beggars and entered the Sacre Coeur which turned out to be smack dab in the middle of a service. Tourists were walking in and out but were asked to be quiet. Nuns were singing in harmony and the priests were getting ready for mass. After watching for a bit and wandering around I headed back out to find entrance to climb the tower. After waiting in line for a long time, with only a few people in front of me I reached the front of the queue. I had my 10 euros ready and fed the notes into the automatic machine which continued to reject each note that i pulled from my wallet one by on. After five minutes of solid trying I had pretty much given up when suddenly the machine accepted my notes and pumped out the ticket. Unfortunately there was no other option for buying a ticket. I inserted my ticket into the turs style and headed up. As I was heading up it occured to me that the machine might be programmed to let people in with a time delay between each so that the single file width staircase didn`t get to crowded. The views from the top were pretty amazing but flipping freezing. Heres a pic of me at the top. Unfortunately there was no one there to take my picture so I set it on auto timer in the only safe spot.
By the time i couldn`t feel my fingers any more i decided it was time to head back down. I jogged down most of the stairs to attempt to defrost again. When I reached the bottom I decided that the Notre Dame was my next place to check out. I headed back down the hill and stopped to watch a few people playing a game. Its where the have a ball under one of 3 small caps and move the caps around moving the ball from one to another. The same two people stand on each side of the guy with the game dropping in 50 and 100 Euro bets and winning double the money. Then a unwise tourist gets sucked in and places a 50 Euro bet and while he`s obliviously passing over the money the main guy moves the ball from the centre spot to the outside and makes himself 50 euros. Both people on either side of the guy, one being a woman, looked like you wouldn`t want to mess with them. I continued on down to the train station and headed to the next train station. Before I even got there everyone was kicked off the train and then another train came and every one was kicked off that one as well. People were talking in french and most of the people headed off so I left the station and walked the last part of the way to the Notre Dame. I found that the Notre Dame was actually free to enter. Here are a few pictures from the outside and inside.
I then continued my wanderings and managed to find the Pantheon and a cool church. As there was a charge to enter the Pantheon I decided that it wasn`t worth the money and continued wandering. I found this epic church which had a really cool internal staircase.
I got back to hostel and had dinner with the Aussie guys again before heading to Montparnasse to catch the view of the Eiffel tower lighting up on the hour for a couple of minutes. We arrived a bit later then we thought we would, eventually found the entrance, paid our money and headed up to the 56th floor. We then took the steps to the roof and enjoyed the view of Paris by night. This was like a dream come true. It was made even better when some Chinese tourists arrived and were running from one side of the roof to the other yelling with sheer delight! At 10pm on the dot the Eiffel tower lit up wit flickering lights that were beautiful to watch. My camera couldn`t catch the beauty of the moment but heres a picture or two from the roof top of the Montparnasse.
I was still getting over my joy of being on the roof top when someone came up and advised us that we had to head down as it was closing down for the evening. We headed in and spent quit some time taking pictures on the 56th floor. As we headed to the other side to take some pictures we realised that everyone was gone and the staff were packed up and heading out so we headed to the escalators and dropped down to the 1st floor.