It was Friday afternoon. Quiet hilly paths across Montmartre were filled with sunlight but rather cold. I was packed up with hat and gloves, but no city map and phone data and very little French.
I got off at a metro station in the Montmartre area. I read in a guide that it was a nice area with something nice on the top of the hill. So I started to crawling up slopes slowly.
Beautiful houses sprawled all over steep edges. More art galleries appeared each time I turned a corner. I found one window full of art objects inspired by cats. What a heaven on earth!
It was strange how climbing up Montmartre reminds me of Edinburgh as well as a small town near Hannover in Germany. Sometimes the experience of travel lies inside the self – the sensation you have there and then, rather than physical forms. To be fair, all three places are hilly. Maybe it was the dizziness I felt going up, again and again.
Once I reached the top, things changed. Quiet alleys were replaced with a big square packed with artists who tried to show off their talents in more obvious ways. Some offered to do me a portrait. At least that is what I got from my broken French. Out of no where, there were eateries after eateries. Also, delicacies, gift shops and a lot of tourists.
It is not that I wasn’t a tourist myself. It is that I didn’t see so many climbing up the hill with me. Suddenly, they filled up every inches outside and inside Sacré-Coeur. The click-click of their cameras joined the service’s choir in a rather distasteful way. Their selfie sticks did not look the part of the surrounding of this solemn place. I might sound too judgemental, I know. But I always think there is much more to a place than a chance to have nice photos.
Sacre-Coueur itself stands impressively over looking the metropolitan Paris. But I enjoyed the stroll up the hill more than the architecture prize for those who reach the submit. I did not much like the easy steps that lead straight down to tourist traps with more gift shops (and few con men and women). I saw people pretended to bet 50 euros, one after another, on quick-eye tricks in the pavement. Either Paris was full of very rich people, or its street scammers should really try to keep the show real.
I got down to another metro station to go pick up my man at some conference that kept him from exploring Paris with me. I would probably go back to Montmartre with him the next time we pass by Paris. I hope it will still be sunny.