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Paris 2009 – Day 2

Welcome to Day 2 of my return to Paris. Today we go up the Montmartre butte, which is the highest point in Paris and where the  Basilique du Sacré Cœur sits. The church is one of the most identifiable landmarks in the Paris landscape and easily seen from any unobstructed vantage point. Up there we’ll visit the Dali museum and check out the sights around the church.

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How to move in Paris #1How to move in Paris #2How to move in Paris #3

When I got up in the morning, I heard this constant whining noise. After some quick investigation out our bedroom windows, I noticed the lift truck parked down the street from us. This is how people move in Paris. Everyone lives above ground level as the ground level is normally dedicated to shops and cafes. The stairways and elevators in most buildings are too small to move furniture through and it would be a huge amount of labor to move stuff up and down five or more flights of stairs! The solution is to hire a lift truck and move the furniture in and out of a window. It was amusing to watch the lift truck operator at work. He’d bring the load down to just above street level, wait for traffic to clear, then bring it the rest of the way down and scramble to unload it before traffic picked up again.

The easy way upThe hard way upIMG_0743

After a nice breakfast of fruit and yogurt, we set out towards Montmartre. As we approached the hill, we were presented with a choice: walk up, or pay a metro ticket and ride the funicular (cable-railway). For the sake of photos, I opted for the stairs. My parents opted for the Funicular (you can see them in the right of the cab, waving). The second photo shows the majority of the 284 steps after I surmounted them. At the top, I spotted a “statue”. I’ve seen performers like this before in Rome and Paris. They arrange themselves like a statue and remain motionless… until you put a Euro in their tip-box – then they’ll smile and pose for photos. I opted to capture this one in his pre-pay pose.

We stopped for a mediocre lunch and visited the stalls of the local artists selling their paintings. I would’ve taken some photos of them, but they want to sell their art, not give it away for free.

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After lunch, we went and visited the small Dali museum around the corner. This museum was mostly dedicated to Dali’s sketches and sculptures. Most of the sculptures were produced post-humously from designs that Dali had created earlier in his career. My favorite was probably “The Woman Aflame” which is the naked woman with the drawers coming out of her. She would look very nice in my bedroom. I’d keep my socks in her boobs.

I thought most of the sculptures were pretty cool. Dali symbolism was on display everywhere. The melting clocks represent the relativity of time. Branches represent wisdom and insight. Ants represent the inevitable march of decay/death. And that loaf of bread on the woman’s head? I have no idea what that means.

Basilique du Sacré Cœur from downhillBasilique du Sacré Cœur close upA statue on Basilique du Sacré Cœur

Next we did some shopping at the local market and then went to check out the church itself. It is very pretty looking and very different from any other church we’ll see in Paris. It’s relatively new (1914) and built of tavertine stone so that it will remain white even after weathering and decay. To me, it suggests Arabic influences in its architecture. It is supposedly a free interpretation of Romano-Byzantine architectural style. Of course, photographs were not allowed inside. Pity.

Bubbles #1Bubbles #2

Outside the church, I caught one of the locals blowing giant bubbles for the amusement of passers-by. I was amused, so I snapped a couple pictures.

Dinner Party #2Dinner party #1

After a long day on Montmartre, we headed back to the apartment for a nice French-style eat and greet with our parents and our visiting friends, Jeff and Jen. That’s it for day 2! Tune in again when I post Day 3 – we’re heading out to the Eiffel Tower! Bonsoir!

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