Friday, November 11, 2011

Monte là-dessus, tu verras Montmartre

That's an old joke, I think. It means that if you climb up, lean out, and look just the right way, you can see the church of Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre; an expression that pokes fun of people who brag about the view (or lack thereof) from their tiny Parisian apartments.

This is quite a long shot with the zoom lens. See all the tourists? It was a gorgeous day to be outside.

Maybe the joke was on me, because I lived in an apartment in Paris where, if you leaned out the window and looked to the right, you could just see the domes of the church between the buildings next door. And here's the proof, an actual photo that I took leaning out the window of the apartment I shared in 1982.

See what I mean? I also had a view of the Tour Montparnasse.

But the views of the basilica from the Pompidou Center are superb, and you don't have to climb up, lean out, or look just the right way. The church was built in 1873 at the top of the Montmartre hill, the highest point in Paris. The church and the surrounding neighborhood, a famous gathering spot for certain nineteenth century painters such as Pissarro, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, Modigliani, and Picasso, is a top tourist destination these days.

The views south across Paris from the terraces of the church are among the best to be had for free in the city. You can tour the church itself, or wander the neighborhood. There's a lot of kitsch around begging for your tourist euros, but that's not unusual.


  1. Splendid. Someday I must return to Paris. Yet the countryside (where you are) look more inviting.

  2. Since my ancestral heritage is from the part of Europe, I must get there. Whenever I see photos like this I feel 'pulled' to France!
    That neighbourhood of Pompidou sounds very inviting!

  3. Our friend Linda had a nice view of SC from her hotel room near the Pantheon.

    Lewis and I went up to Sacre Coeur the Saturday night we were in Paris. There was a carnival atmosphere, that was fun. A guy was selling tour Eiffel key chains- 13 for 4€ and I bought a batch. Also bought a Heineken from a vendor. Beer was great since it was a warm night.

    Montmartre is a fine place to watch the sun set.

  4. My view, from my bedroom window in 1982 was of black smoke coming from the furnace out of Bethlehem Steel. You win!
    Your Friend, m.

  5. There seems to have been something of an orgy of Second Empire big church building, many being architecturally eccentric, quite fascinating, and often if not always placed on a great height so as to dominate a city visually.

    On our last trip to France, Fritz and I visited the one in Marseilles and also spent a lot of time in the big one in Lyon. We were told it's referred to as "the upside-down elephant" but it has sculptures and ornamentation that look like art deco -- 60 years before the fact. I showed my pictures to an architect friend who was very interested, and thought them unique.

  6. Any view at all from an apartment is a benefit when you're just a young kid starting out!
    Leaning out is half of the fun - don't you think?

    Mary in Oregon

  7. Robb and I sometimes joke "it's everywhere, it's everywhere"

  8. What arrondissement did you live in, Walt? What Métro was it close to? I know you've said before, but, now that I'm seeing the neighborhood, I'm wondering. Those apartment buildings on the left side look like an HLM, or at least something modern, compared to other parts of Paris. :) It kind of reminds me of Aimée's neighborhood. She lived not too far from Place d'Italie.

  9. Hi Evelyn,

    Just like Sarah Palin, your friend Linda must have a 100/100 vision to be able to see South Carolina or even better SC in SoCal from her hotel in Paris! LOL

    Say hello to her from me, will you?

    The Sacré-Coeur Basilica is also known as "église du Voeu national."

  10. rick, each has its charms. :)

    jim, the 'hood around Pompidou can be a bit crazy with crowds, but it's a fun place.

    evelyn, sounds like great fun on a summer evening!

    mark, hehehehe.

    will, I've been to both of those churches, too. Very interesting.

    mary, as long as you don't lean out too far!

    starman, yup!

    judy, it was the 10th, right behind the Hôpital St.-Louis, métro Colonel Fabien.

    chm, I read about that in the wiki article.

  11. LOL chm, the meaning of "SC" is in the eye of the beholder;)

  12. Hi Walt !

    Do you know the all of the little "song" you quoted, lol ? If so, you censored the end :-) !!!



  13. mary07, I know there's a song, but I don't know the words. :(


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