After our daily heavy doses of pain au chocolat, croissants, and quiche from our local patisserie, we did the last part of our bus tour to the Montmarte area of the city.
This is Sacre Coeur, the basilica at the top of the hill. It overlooks all of Paris and has a fascinating history dating to the time of the Paris Commune when people were starving in the streets and hunting rats for food. Yum! These are the steps where Amelie courts Nino.
The view from above. The hideous black tower in the upper right is the Montparnasse Tower and is a blight on the city. I snarled every time I saw it. Anyway, it was lovely to be in this neighborhood, which is considered the bohemian area. I would have liked to have spent much more time here, especially for the shopping, but David was really struggling with the sick and it was cold and rainyish. I did get an amazing ring and earrings from a local designer here. It is sort of the Los Feliz of Paris but about 10,000 times cooler because it is in Paris. We also got to witness the very aggressive Nigerian string bracelet scammers here.
We then made our way back to the Paris Catacombs. This was just so amazing and I highly recommend making a special trip to see this. It starts by what feels like a never-ending staircase going down, down, down to what feels like the core of the Earth. The journey begins with these carvings of buildings from memory that were done by the makers of the ossuary in the late 18th century.
You then walk for what feels like miles and miles through corridors and passageways under the city. There are vast networks of these corridors that can't be seen by the typical tourist that span the length of the whole city. Some day I hope to meet someone who will show them to me.
The black line on the ceiling dates to Victorian times when tourists would come down to see the ossuary. They'd follow the line through the tunnels. The line would bring you here...
The portal says, "Stop! Here Is The Empire Of The Dead."
Crossing past that portal took a bit of courage, I must admit.
Everything down there was so beautiful and still.
Bones. Thousands and thousands and thousands of bones for miles.
In the late 18th Century, the cemeteries were overflowing, so the dead of Paris were brought here and arranged elaborately, forever interred as a nameless, faceless collective of beauty and wonder.
The camera DID NOT want to take pictures down here! We got very few. We were also being quickly shepherded along by some dark and strange gentlemen who were trying to close the place and wouldn't let us linger. We had to go quickly through the entire bone section. Looking back on it, this was probably a small blessing, as the enormity of what was taking place was somewhat overwhelming.
It's just walls of this for miles. I got some video that I hope came out.
People must leave their own marks.
Then, as suddenly as it began, you climb up, up, up, and out into the ordinary outside world. The only evidence of the place is this non-descript door on a side street marking your exit.
We decided to end the day at La Tour Eiffel.
We had dinner at Altitude 95, the restaurant on the first level of the tower.
This was the view of the Trocadero from our window.
The food was pretty, and we were glad of a chance to relax and just sit and enjoy the evening.
And then, of course, we made our way up to see the view.
Breathtaking. Beautiful. Amazing.
An Italian man took this for us.
What can you even say? It's Paris! From above! On a beautiful, misty night!
Coming home to our little private gated street where we stayed.