It’s hard to top the top of the Eiffel Tower. Fortunately, Mark has a goal in mind for our second day in Paris—what he called the “French Taj Mahal,” i.e. the Sacré-Coeur.
“No problem. However, we literally have to cross Paris,” I warned him.
“I can walk, don’t worry mommy.”
I mean, we could have taken the subway, but since Mark offered to walk, I jumped on the chance. It’s fun to go through colourful neighbourhoods and see different sides of the city.
We walked down boulevard de l’Hôpital—“What’s this building?” “A hospital.”—then we followed the Canal Saint Martin. We reached place de la Bastille—“Don’t look for the prison, Mark, it burned down and was demolished a long time ago”—then we crossed the 3rd and 2nd arrondissement, Saint-Georges and finally started climbing the steep streets of Montmartre.
This is Amélie Poulain’s Paris, a whimsical, charming neighbourhood … full of tourists and stairs.
Oh, yeah. There are about a million of stairs to climb to reach the Sacré-Coeur. Well, 300 according to Google but I swear it’s more.
The basilica was open, lucky us. Still, Mark looked slightly disappointed.
“It’s … just a church?”
“Well, yeah. What did you think it was?”
“A palace? Like the Taj Mahal in India?”
Silly me! It goes without saying that the Sacré-Coeur is a church but it’s not obvious to a Canadian kid! He still liked it, though, once he got over the fact it wasn’t as fancy as expected.
We took the subway back—even I wasn’t going to cross Paris on foot a second time—and hung out with my little brother for a while. I picked a hotel within walking distance from his place in the 13th arrondissement, plus plenty of great takeout options nearby.
At night, we took the subway to the Arc de Triomphe and walked down posh Avenue Kléber to the Trocadéro to check out the Eiffel Tower again.