sacre coeur

les étapes nombreuses

One of the nice things about having co-workers in a new city is the excuse to go out for social time. As promised by our Korean friends we went out to a restaurant of their recommendation. We managed to get a table, somehow and as the night went on the line out the door got longer and longer.

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jantchi

For good reason, too, the food was really nice. SO and I had a hard time picking what to order, on one hand since learning how to make bibimbap we wanted to know how it’s done at a nice restaurant, but on the other hand there were so many new things to try. We settled on bulgogi and it was amazing. It came to the table raw on a big cooker thing. We were scared. But after enquiring with our Korean guides as to how to eat it we were happy. The food also came with a selection of appetizers which were also really yummy. I don’t remember them all but included yangnyeom tongdak, japchae and of course, kimchi.

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out for a stroll aka. thinking about math

We also met up with our friends last weekend in Montmartre to enjoy what might be one of the last sunny and warm weekends of the year. We met up at Abesses, the main subway access and sort of central hub. There’s always something going on there and on that particular day it was a thrift market. I love Paris! Lots of tables set up with all sorts of strange and wonderful things to dig thru.. painted glasses, old lighters, books and prints, glass negatives, fur shawls, rollerskates and my favourite, a stuffed goat head riding in a soapbox car. I really should have got a picture of that.

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We climbed the 222 steps from Abesses to Sacré Coeur. It’s always a lovely thing to look at. We strolled thru the interior of the church. I checked out the murals more this time, and they were really nice. I also got to see a cool statue of St. Michael slaying the dragon. The Basillica explicitly states no photography, though I think I was the only one who obeyed.

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tiny streets, the way medieval paris was laid out before the war…s

We then strolled around the top of the hill checking out the tiny winery, various stores and goings-on. We got lunch at a busy restaurant and though it was pretty touristy I got the best croque madame I’ve ever had. Even the couple next to our table were like, ‘what’s that I want to eat that’. We also stopped and got candied peanuts, being made fresh by a street vendor. They were much like beer nuts from back home, one of my most loved snacks.

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pls ignore purse strap. it was crowded

We eventually decided no trip to Montmartre was complete without checking out the dome at the tip top of Sacré Coeur so we paid the € 8 for the privilege of climbing the two spiral staircases summing 300 steps total. Now, that sounds pretty cynical but it was really awesome. First of all, spiral staircases are inherently cool and there is a distinct lack of them back home, probably because they’re a slip-trip-and-fall hazard… OHES training ftw! Anyway, it goes straight up probably 200 steps, then you get out on to the roof of the main chapel and get to walk by the gargoyles and bird shit, across the roof to another spiral staircase (going counter-clockwise which is more difficult somehow) to reach the summit.

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om nom

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Paris has like.. 3 sky scrapers.

If you think the view from the top of the hill is grand, try standing on top of the largest building around. Holy shit. Not only can you see basically all of Paris proper but can pick out the various elevations changes and figure out the arrondisements accordingly. Plus due to what is probably a lot of smog and a little sfumato, the ends of the landscape take on a cool blue glow. Plus it makes the Eiffel tower look puny, which makes me feel good as I irrationally think the tower is lame.

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je t’aime

Then back down the 522 steps to get back to Abesses to check out le mur des je t’aime which has the phrase I Love You in over 250 languages. It’s really, really well done. Back home for more bibimbap and FTL.. and of course taking pictures of the view from my window late at night when I can’t sleep.

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mons martis

After spending the morning working on my two-row painting, I took a break to walk around my favourite neighbourhood and artist’s historical refuge, Montmartre. I grabbed a vélo and began my journey, stopping at Bassin de la Villette the along the way for a photo of the canal.

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Once in the 18th, I ditched my vélo in favour of breaking in my newly-cobbled heels. And break-in I did. If you don’t head for the funiculaire, or the grand stairway at the square Louise Michel at base of the Sacré Cœur, you can always take the stairs at the top of Rue Chappe.

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colourful!

All told, it’s over 200 steps up. Now, I used to live on the 14th floor of a university residence and had to go down and up the 15 flights of stairs every time the fire alarm went off. Let me tell you, I eventually decided that the slim chance there was actually a fire was a risk worth taking by staying in bed instead. This is how much I like stairs.That being said, It’s all worth it when you get to the top, because it doesn’t matter which way you turn, there is something beautiful to see.

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pretty sure I saw saw a post card with this photo on it

At the very tip top is the Basilica Sacré Cœur, built between 1875 and 1919, is Romano-Byzantine style architecture, and is made of “travertine stone, known as ‘Château-Landon’, [which] comes from the Souppes-sur-Loing quarry in Seine et Marne and is particular in that it is extremely hard with a fine grain and exudes calcite on contact with rainwater, making it white” 1. Montmartre, or mount-martyr is supposedly named after St. Denis, patron saint of France, who was martyred around 250ad.  Denis is said to have picked his head up after being decapitated, walked ten kilometres and preached a sermon the entire way. There was a small shrine and later Basilica in the location where he eventually died.

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wait, what did St. Denis do?!

Looking away from the Basilica there is a very nice and very famous view of the city. If you want to avoid the crowds I would suggest taking a little walk around the square Louise Michel because there are nice winding paths just off of the main staircase that offer very lovely views without the hassle of cameras on sticks waving in your face. Plus the shade of the greenery with the scent of roses on the gentle breeze, paired with the lovely pristine Basilica peeking around every tree is a really nice experience.

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Around the back of the Basilica is the lovely square Marcel Bleustein Blanchet. Here there is a gorgeous shaded walkway, a simple fountain and many shaded benches to sit and admire the equally lovely view from the rear. hehehe.

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daaamn, gurl

Moving on, I found Place du Tertre, which is a famous square in which artists come and set up their easels and sell paintings. I had moderately high hopes for this square, but unfortunately it was an unabashed ad hoc display of immoral commercialism and tourist-trapping. Seriously if these “artists” aren’t sell outs I don’t know anything. It was wholly consisting of cheap stylized eiffel-tower images done hastily and without care, and caricature or other while-u-wait drawings.

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oh look, honey! wild art! poor little guy looks hungry.
let’s give him some money for this shit-smear on canvas.

It’s a cash grab is what it is. And I hated it! My problem isn’t with artists making money, it’s anyone without talent learning a few tricks and churning out enough stuff in a popular enough place with enough tourists that they will make some money off of it. And people think they’re supporting the arts. Come on!

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pretty, though

http://www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com/english/history-and-visit/article/architecture

BONUS PICTURES!!!~

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