Friday, February 5, 2010


Sacre Coeur

Our friends and we had heard about Montmartre, and had decided that we would visit this unique part of Paris. The reputation of the area is quite common, and its history as a resident of many famous artists is well known. By even the very name conjures up images of penniless artists and steep winding streets, weather-beaten windmills and timeless cafes, and... they are still there!
We learn that it is quite a walk from the Seine and Louvre, where most of the nice hotels are, so a cab is recommended.
After visiting in the area of the Montmartre, my wife and friends, decided to stop for a snack on the square. From one of the bordering restaurants, it was exciting watching the activity of tourists, and the many artists they were visiting in the square. Artists were everywhere painting pictures of various people who wanted a souvenir to take back to where they were from. (Also, there were a lot of shops around the hill at the base and the streets leading up to the top. Many of these shops had a good selection of affordable and unique gifts).
After our meal, we started to view the displays of many artists looking for something they had previously painted or drawn.
A very friendly and nice young lady approached us and asked if we would like to have our picture drawn. I looked at my wife, and she looked at me, and we both decided that this would be a unique item to take home. We still have this picture of us.
From this area, you can look up the hill and see the famous basilica of Sacre Coeur, which is one of Paris’s most visited monuments. This Romano-Byzantine inspired church is really beautiful.
This church was built on the highest hill in Paris, where you have a beautiful view of the city. Getting up to the church is quite a walk or you can take a rail cog wheel at the bottom.
On our way in the car we saw a number of local teen boys get into the car with us. Another man in the car, who I later learned was a policeman, suggested that we stand with our backs to the wall. He was a rather large man and looked at the boys and said, “I know why you’re on this car with us. But you will not pick the pocket of any of us as long as I am here. I know you understand English so you better listen to me”. And they did.
Arriving at the top, I found a brochure that gave a history of this old church. It appears that two catholic businessmen made a private religious promise to build a church dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Christ, if Paris was saved by the threatening Prussian invasion during 1870. The two men were Alexandre Legentil and Hubert Rohault de Fleury. The building was begun in 1875 from the drawings of the architect Paul Abadie.
After visiting the beautiful church, I stood near the fence that surrounded the area had looked over the city of Paris, and the area down to heal we had just visited and was reminded of when Jesus Christ looked over the city of Jerusalem and wept . The following verse from the Bible that he spoke was the same feeling that I had looking over Paris.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!” -- Luke 13:34

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