London & Paris Day 6: Sacre Couer, Monmartre & Notre Dame

For the earlier parts in this travelogue, check it out here:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

So Day 6 is our second day in Paris. Frankly, this was the only day of our entire holiday we slept in, waking up relatively late at about 7.30am. Probably due to the tiring earlier few days. I told Pat I’d met them before 9am for breakfast, and we went down at exactly 9am.

Breakfast for this 3-star hotel was surprisingly good, they had complimentary buffet breakfast with chocolate croissants, ham slices, cereal, milk, juice and yoghurt. They had bread, too, but it almost tasted stale (which didn’t give us a good impression of fresh bread!). But all in all we ate quite a lot, in preparation for a long day ahead.

(didn’t take long for me to figure out ‘sucre’ means ‘sugar’)


After a leisurely breakfast, we went on to the train station again. Back when i was planning for this trip, i asked around my friends on what’s the best place to visit in or near Paris other than the usual top attractions. Almost all the replies (including a pal of mine who’s from Paris) told me to go to Montmartre and the Sacre-Couer.

We took the train (had to change lines 3 times) to get to this place just outside Paris.


Monmartre was once artist enclave, now its become quite a huge tourist attraction and commands on of the best hilltop view of Paris and the surroundings. And sitting majestically atop the hill is none other than the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus), or Sacre Coeur in short.


On a clear day, you can see very far.



This white church is really a sight to behold. When we went inside, there was a service going on but tourist can still walk around and snap pics. Unfortunately due to low lights you can’t really get good shots in there (no flash photography). One notable sight is the huge stain-glassed window on each side of the centre dome.


Under the shade of a tree in the cool air, the 4 of us sat down on the kerb and ate our lunch of sandwiches, snack bars and yoghurt.

Walking down from the basilica, Monmartre is a small little town with painters and musicians displaying their crafts, and lots of small shops selling the usual touristy stuff. We got some souveniers and T-shirts here.


After Montmartre, we took a short train ride to the next stop in our itinerary, none other than the most famous cathedral in all of Paris – Notre Dame.


The place was full of tourists, but the line entering the cathedral was pretty fast since it was free. While lining up, i happened to be standing to a French tourguide explaining to a small group of tourists in English about the significance of the statues you see on the facade below. Very interesting to say the least!


Inside Notre Dame was beautiful, comparable to the Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral. But as usual, no photography allowed.

After Notre Dame we took a walk around the island (Notre Dame is located on one of two very, very small islands in the centre of the Seine River).


There’s also a park behind the cathedral with blooming flowers and live summer band performing.




We tried the crepe with Nutella and ice-cream from this stall. The crepe was just ok, but on a sunny day, the ice-cream was really refreshing.


After walking around some more, we decided to do something what Parisiens seem to love doing – sit at a roadside cafe, drink beer and watch people go by…

Anyway, at about 5.30pm it was time to get back to Paris centre. We looked around for some time to find a place for dinner near our hotel. Most restaurants didn’t have English on their menus, a pizza place did, but dinner wasn’t served until 7pm (apparently Parisiens don’t have dinner so early). Finally we settled on this quiet restaurant, that serve a 3-course meal for just 12.50 Euros.


For starters i had the tuna salad,


beef kebab and rice for the main dish (the rice was a little bland),


And cream caramel for desserts (everyone else had ice-cream).


Then it was a mad rush back to the hotel to get our bags, get to Gare du Nord, get through customs checkpoint and onto the Eurostar. We made it with only 4 mins to spare (!). And then after 2hrs 20mins, we were back in London.

Next – final day in London.


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