Day 1,581 of Traveling the World | Paris, France – Part 2 | June 1, 2022

“Wow!” we remarked – “if we are climbing this many steps just to get to the funicular to take us all the way up to Sacre Coeur Church, what is it like if you climbed all the way to the church??” Little did we know – that is just what we had just done! We followed our phone’s directions, and it always led to us another loooooong staircase, then another. We (well, Jan) huffed and puffed and rested and pulled out the bottle of water, absolutely winded, thirsty, and exhausted. So, we arrived at what looked like an Alpine village, very charming, and searched for the funicular to make our way up to the church. A curious thing happened. As we walked, a huge church loomed in front of us. We walked toward it, wondering if there was another church part way up the mountain? Nope. It was Sacre Coeur. We had climbed stairs (the back way) all the way up. 270 steps, to be exact. Excruciating.

To get to the funicular (which of course we never found), we started out on the subway, exiting at the Abbesses station, just three stops away from our hotel. We did not know that Abbesses metro station is the deepest in Paris (118 feet below ground), and we exited up the staircase, as usual. Every time we thought that – this is it, we’ll be at the top and outside, just around the next bend – there would be another staircase, and another, and another – 200 steps, in total. (When we returned to our hotel, we looked up the number of steps at that metro station. Climbing the stairs there is on a list of things never to do in Paris; wish we had known that before we went!) Soooo, with the metro station and church, we climbed 470 steps!! No gym for the next two days!

The Champs Elysees is beautiful to walk down. It is filled with both vehicles and pedestrians, as well as every designer store from around the world. Each restaurant has outdoor seating, as all other large cities do, but one in particular was just beautifully decorated. Look at the photos to see which one it was. Also, we have provided the requisite photo of the Arc de Triomphe, but these huge monuments that everyone knows aren’t very interesting, other than their fame and size – oh, and their place in history, of course!

We spent a bit of time in the Petit Palais, which is across the street from its big sister, the Grand Palais, both built for the Universal Exhibition in the year 1900. It is a free art museum, and its architecture, ornamentation, and art collection are quite wonderful. In turn, both of these wonderful buildings are just a few steps down from the Pont Alexandre III, one of the most beautiful bridges across the Seine.

As we have wandered the streets, just about every restaurant has a “fixed price” menu for lunch and often dinner, but lunch is the main meal here. Generally, for lunch, you can get an appetizer, main dish, and dessert for anywhere between 12-20 euros. All of them have available tables, particularly inside, as outside fills up first. The only lines we have seen? You won’t believe it – Burger King, Five Guys, and McDonald’s. Five Guys on the Champs Elysees had about 30 people in line, spilling out onto the sidewalk. We always remarked about how, on our honeymoon in 2003, driving around France for five days, every tiny medieval village that had two dozen houses always, also, had a McDonald’s! And so to see fast food so popular, still, in the City of Gastronomes, is just astonishing.

This is what Sacré Coeur looks like when you are climbing the steps toward it. However, our pictures were taken as we descended, turned around, and took photos.
The inside of Sacré Coeur is beautiful. Once again, in any other city, this would be the major draw as far as churches go. In Paris, it is just one of many.
So you can see how far we walked up, this is a photo of Sacré Coeur near the bottom, but not yet down at street level. Even we were impressed!
The view from the top of the hill is great.
We walked into Montmartre Village, which looks alpine, as it is at the top of the hill, and we wondered where we were!
This artist captured a great resemblance of this girl. After we took this picture, she looked at us questioningly. We gave her a thumbs up.
This pretty café is just behind the church, on the main drag through the village. Can you see the saxophone on the busker? He has a cup for donations attached to the saxophone.
We walked down the hill and all the way back to our hotel. To get there, we passed through the Red Light District and came upon the Moulin Rouge.
These inflatable polar bears were bouncing around just in front of the Moulin Rouge. Why they were there? We have no idea.
A pretty façade we passed in Montmartre.
This is the Place de La Concorde. We liked the juxtaposition of the up-close obelisk and the farther-away Eiffel Tower.
This is the detail on one of the columns in the Place de La Concorde. Isn’t all of that gold work so beautiful?
The Pont Alexandre III, a bridge whose construction started in 1896.
Looking across the bridge toward the golden dome of the Invalides, a historical landmark.
The Grand Palais, which is currently closed.
We liked this corner of the Grand Palais, as it looks like this green statuary is sliding down the roof for fun!
The very impressive entrance to the Petit Palais.
This statue dates to 1882, and is titled “Monkey Money.” This expression refers to a tax that Parisians had to pay to cross a bridge near Notre Dame; to avoid it, street performers would make a monkey dance as a form of payment for crossing the bridge.
La Danseuse Sasha-Lyo, 1933. What an incredible work of art!
This is titled Bacchantes. It caused a scandal at the 1886 art show, as it depicted two naked women engaged in a vulgar cat-fight.
The garden arcade at the Petit Palais has both a decorated floor and ceiling, along with its pretty display of columns.
This is the back of the Petit Palais, facing the garden.
A most unusual fountain, found on the Champs Elysees.
We loved this Dior building, decked out all in white.
Even though we have been here at the Arc de Triomphe before, it is still stunning to see its enormity when you compare it to the size of ordinary people standing next to it.
Yep, decorated with flowers and lights, McDonald’s takes the prize for the prettiest outdoor seating area of all of the restaurants on the Champs Elysees.
Guerlain also looked pretty with its honeycomb, bee, and flowers.
It’s hard to believe, but this is the famous Church of the Madeleine. In the bottom photo, it looks like a Greek temple. On the opposite side to this front, as shown in the top photo, it becomes a giant billboard. We admit, it is a little jarring to see, but we suppose the church appreciates the revenue.
The magnificent interior of the Madeleine.
The brand: The Chicken Farmer. The notes: Raised in Freedom, finished with dairy products. The price: 13.95 euros per kg (about $7/lb). What we thought was interesting is selling a chicken with its claws intact.