Friday, September 14, 2012

Paris - Day 4

On our fourth day in Paris, we slept in a bit and then went for a run through the Luxembourg Gardens, where there were other runners, some odd guy doing something with his hips that looked like hula-hooping minus the hula-hoop, picnic-ers, kids playing with small sailboats in the pond, and people sitting around playing chess and cards.  Nothing makes you feel (or look) more like a local than a run through the town. The weather was perfect, nice and cool, and it felt nice to breathe in the fresh air, especially after running in the Madrid heat.  After running, grabbing a light lunch, and showering up, we headed out to Montmartre neighborhood where the highlight was the Sacre-Coeur (Sacred Heart) Basilica.  This church was up on a hill with a bunch of stairs that you had to climb to reach it. On the stairs and all over the lawn leading up to the church, there were tons of people sitting around with little picnics and a bunch of people selling souvenirs. As we were just reaching the top of the stairs, some sort of commotion broke out and several of the guys selling stuff took off running with another couple of guys chasing them and throwing glass beer bottles at them.  It was pretty scary and someone could have been extremely hurt. Luckily, though, the police showed up very quickly, and it didn't appear that anyone was injured.




Once we safely made it to the top, there was an amazing view of Paris and the Eiffel Tower, both during the day and at night. We even caught the twinkling Eiffel tower on camera. We enjoyed the view and walked through the church.  The most interesting thing that I remember reading about this church is that at least one person is always in the church praying for Christ to be understanding of the world's sins, a tradition that has been carried out 24/7 since the completion of the Basilica in 1919. Another interesting fact we learned is that 13 WWII bombs landed near the Basilica knocking out all of the glass windows, which have since been replaced, yet no one was killed.  This fueled local devotion to the Sacred Heart and to the church.

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The view before sunset.

The sparkling Eiffel Tower.

The dome of the Sacred Heart Basilica from a distance.

The Basilica at night.


The interior. 


After visiting the church, Luke ran ahead to see if he could make it through the Dali museum before they closed, and I stopped to read at a local cafe since I wasn't too interested in the museum and entrance cost $10. He made it in time for a quick walk through, and they gave him a discounted admission.  After that, we walked through the neighborhood before stopping for dinner and heading back to our hotel. Only two more days left in Paris!

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