PARIS ON FOOT

SACRE COEUR, PARIS
Paris is always beautiful. One can walk along its streets, stare at all the amazing sights, and probably think that one has already seen it all. And then there is this sunny day in November. Have you ever wondered about those picture post cards, which look so sunny, so unblemished, so attractive? Is it possible that a place, a building, or a well-known place really looks like this, with the prettiest blue skies, the whitest little clouds, the lush greenery, or is it all Photoshop? I never knew one could walk to the lovely Basilica Sacre Coeur from Gare Du Nord in about ten minutes. All you have to do is emerge on Rue De Dunkerque, turn right and follow the street, glancing into every side-street on your right. In a few minutes, you will see the famous sparkling white church which proudly rises high above the city, and simply walk towards it. As is usual today, you will have to pass along little islands of odd street markets where they seem to cell rags and disintegrating shoes. Parallel to them you will find the usual tourist’s haven, the streets with numerous souvenir shops, and Monmartre itself, with shops and streets artists all along it. You may use the “funiculaire”, the funicular, to get to the top, or just climb along the wide winding steps to the top of the hill. Be sure to take pictures of the Basilica from down below, then go inside, enjoy the surroundings, put up a candle, and leave a little money for the church maintenance as you exit. On a nice day, there seem to be thousands of people who climb up to the hill, then sit on the steps, look at the spreading city down below, take pictures, munch on their sandwiches and visit the toilets nearby. The views are magnificent, and it seems that on a clear day, one can see forever.
Walking back, it is easy to get to the well-known Rue La Fayette. If you simply follow it, checking the names on the buildings so as not to be side-tracked, you will get to the huge Gallerie La Fayette shops. From there, you can see Grand Opera. Turn your back to it, walk along Avenue De L’Opera, pass the lovely fountains near Comedie Francaise, and you will find yourself in front of Le Louvre. You may either visit the museum, or just walk around in the yard, taking pictures of the various statues and the small pyramid in the center. Turn right, either walk through the Tuileries Gardens, with their lush green lawns, pretty trees, amazing statues, or cross the road and walk along Rue Rivoli. One of the tourist’s favourite streets, it has a zillion souvenir shops interspersed with the regular stores, including Galignani’s, the first British Books store opened in Paris in 1903. There is a big MacDonald’s on the corner directly opposite Le Louvre; you may not be hungry, but you may wish to visit it if you need the toilet!
As they say, Paris is the City of Light, and the City of Love. There are no seasons. Come there any time, you will find plenty to do, to see and to enjoy.
©gretag2013

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