Oh, the shame. The image of Sacré Coeur is a stock image I found on the web. Yes, it is true, your humble correspondent is a terrible picture taker. He takes a guided walk of Montmartre ending at Sacré Coeur and does not take a single picture. All you need is a single glance to tell it is a stock image – nobody will ever find the Sacré Coeur without huge crowds during daylight.
The tour gathered at the Abbesses Metro station. Everything written says it is a good station to use as it is not crowded. And everything says to use the elevator and not the 90+ steps; it is the Metro’s deepest station. Of course, the elevator is being renovated and will not be available until late summer. So, the stairs it is.
Lots of wandering in the smaller streets of Montmartre hearing stories of the artists, singers, etc., who made the area famous, from Van Gogh’s era to the 1970s (Dalida – look her up!).
For example, there was a cabaret that the locals enjoyed – Le Lapin Agile. One financially struggling artist wanted to host a dinner and party there. The owner said he could pay with a painting. So, the dinner and party happened and Picasso left the owner with Au Lapin Agile. The harlequin is Picasso himself, the woman is his lover, and the guitar player in the background was the generous owner.
The stories went on and on as they do on these walking tours. It is great fun.
The tour ends at the Sacré Coeur. The view is quite magnificent. Most of Paris can be seen. I could easily pick out Notre Dame, etc. And, we had gone from smaller and picturesque streets to teaming crowds. The number of vendors and hustlers is incredible.
The took the funiculaire down. I have been to Sacré Coeur, but had not done that, either up or down. It turns out my monthly Metro pass covers its cost as well.