Thursday, March 10, 2011

Paris - day 6 Montmarte - Sacre Coeur!!

Yesterday we went to an area of Paris called "Montmarte".  A very hilly area to walk around with cool shops and unique churches.  We wandered through alleyways that continued up hillsides with many, many stairs.  They even have a mode of transport called a "funiculaire", which is similar to a tram up and down a hill, for people who may struggle with the stairs.  I found out about this area in a stack of "Paris City Walks with Kids" cards that my friends gave me for Christmas.  We wanted to check it out to see if our kids would enjoy it this summer.  We think they'll absolutely love it. Although Evan could imagine our son whining to be carried, which he's gotten WAY too big to do, around halfway up to the top of the hill.
 So there were big winding hills (think San Francisco), stairs, parks, shops, cafes, artists, and a lot of street musicians.  We stopped in to check out the largest collection of Salvador Dali's work.  It was really amazing,  humorous and entertaining.  He was definitely a character!  I got so inspired by a set of sketches he did about the tragic love story of Tristan and Isolde that I bought the book on Amazon.  I am not familiar with the story so I'm looking forward to reading it after seeing Dali's inspired work. 

After the exhibit, we walked up and around to the Sacre Coeur or "Sacred Heart" basilica.  Wow!

We weren't able to take pictures inside which is a bummer because it's spectacular.  The building is known not only for it's location and architectural style but also for its incredible tile work.

One of the many alters that caught my eye had this beautiful lily pad strand running all along the top of the mantel.  The greens were so vivid and realistic.  As I walked up closer, I couldn't believe the artisan had used 12 mini tiles in varying shades of green to create each lily pad.  The lily pads were about 1" across, maybe a little smaller.  I've taken classes in mosaic and have a full appreciation for the work it takes to cut those tiles.  I counted at least 50 lily pads just on this alter.  I'm telling you, it's like nothing I've ever seen.
We made our way back down the stairs to grab some much needed lunch and do some shopping.  Pricing is much more favorable in this area as compared to near our hotel (the only drawback of staying in Saint-Germain area!).  We thought our son would have a blast making his way down these stairs.  Be careful of the bracelet sellers though!  There were a few men gathered near the exit who were trying to put some colored string around my wrist, wanting me to buy a bracelet they make while you wait.  I kept saying no but got really hounded by one in particular who wouldn't take no for an answer.
I won't go into shopping detail on this posting because that requires a part deux (part 2)!  There's so much to show and tell about the shopping in this area.  Even if you're not planning to spend any money the window shopping is spectacular!  Super fun!

I'll wrap up today's post with what we had for lunch.  We found this adorable place called Le Progres.  The place was bustling and we now know why.  They have a fairly simple menu.  We opted for the "Formulaire" or their prix fixe menu for lunch. 

I got the white fish fillet served with red rice and a delicious white wine sauce. 

Evan chose the leg of lamb marinated in what they called an "american sauce" that he described as tasting like a rich french gravy made from stock.  This "bone-in" piece of meat was served over a creamed polenta.  It was delicious!!! 

We indulged in a 50mL (well maybe it was 75mL :)) carafe of yummy Cote du Rhone Rose.
and since I had ordered the "plat + dessert" (Evan got the "entree + plat") we also got to split our first french creme brulee.  Well, after Evan took his first bite, he quickly cracked a line down the middle to make sure it would get evenly split.  It was outstanding.  They had warmed it in a hot water bath and had scorched the sugar just before serving.  It was soooo good!  Here is the line he drew and his reaction to "our" dessert.
Oh and finally, I had to share this picture.  I took this without the woman's permission.  Hopefully she never reads my blog.  If not, "je regrette infiniment!"  I just love how parisian women are bold in their fashion choices.  This particular outfit (black furry beret, tight sweater with a cherry-printed corset, a glen plaid pencil skirt, fish net stockings and black pumps that had red bows around the ankles!) is somewhat of a parisian cliche but in a way she complete pulls it off!  So I say, "allez!"

That is all from Paris for today.  We're off to our last dinner before we leave tomorrow.  I'm happy to be heading home but will fondly remember this trip as one of our best.  We are looking forward to coming back with the whole family this summer!  Bon soir, mes amis!

1 comment:

Kim Kelly said...

Nicely done!! Sounds simply amazing!