Paris – Montmartre & Sacre Coeur

Hi friends, welcome back to my Paris and London Anniversary series 🙂 This day of our trip was extra special because it was our one-year wedding anniversary! After so many change of plans the prior two years, it felt a bit surreal to be spending our anniversary in Paris as planned. I had originally scheduled us to view the Musee d’Orsay first and spend the rest of the day in Montmartre, but the forecast showed a very hot afternoon with potential storms, so we reversed the order. The forecast was very wrong, so we should’ve stuck to the original plan, but we had an amazing anniversary nonetheless.

We grabbed coffee from Saint Pearl and set out on the 2.5 mile walk to Montmartre from Saint Germaine. It took about an hour to get there, but we tried to avoid the metro and pick pocketers as much as we could. I think I was just being paranoid, but we enjoyed walking everywhere and taking in the scenery.

The streets started getting a bit steep so I knew we were getting closer to Sacre Coeur, Paris’ highest natural point. It’s hard to miss this majestic church sitting atop the neighborhood. We started walking up the path and avoided the bracelet scammers. They were quite aggressive and would grab people’s wrists, so be prepared to firmly tell them no. Later when we were leaving they grabbed Jon’s wrist, but I was left unbothered.

Jon and I sat on a bench for a bit people watching and then headed up the stairs and got in line to see the church. We went on a Sunday during a service so I wasn’t sure what it would be like. There were no lines for tickets to climb the dome, and it was neat to hear the organ while we climbed the 300 stairs to the top. There were barely any people in the dome so maybe Sunday morning is the time to go! Jon and I were able to get all the views and pictures we needed without having to wait or jockey for a spot like at the Arc de Triomphe.

The views from the dome were spectacular and I loved being able to recognize places we had been the previous days. We saw the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, and Musee d’Orsay.  The arch is very tough to see, but in the center of the second photo it is just barely peaking up above the buildings.

The church took forty-four years to build and construction began in 1875. Compared to many other sites in Paris, this is relatively new. We went inside Sacre Coeur after the service let out and took a seat in the pews. We admired all the beauty but I didn’t take any pictures of the interior. The church felt very peaceful and somber from the service so it didn’t feel right to take pictures, but plenty of people did. We found it extremely calming in here, especially with all the busyness and hustlers on the steps outside.

After leaving Sacre Coeur, we grabbed baguettes and a chocolate au pain from Le Grenier a Pain. This was the best baguette we had on the trip!

Jon and I strolled the streets of this charming neighborhood known for being home to artists, writers, nonconformists, and bohemians/hipsters. Artists Van Gogh, Renoir, Dali, and Picasso all frequented or lived in this neighborhood.

We found the mur des je t’aime or the I Love You Wall, very fitting to see on our anniversary.

These streets were so cute! If we didn’t have plans to visit the Musee d’Orsay I could’ve wandered the neighborhood taking pictures for hours.

Last stop in Montmartre, the famous Moulin Rouge.

Next time we are in Paris, we will definitely spend more time exploring this unique neighborhood! We’re heading the the Musee d’Orsay next…


Posts in my Paris and London Anniversary series:

28 thoughts on “Paris – Montmartre & Sacre Coeur

  1. A great area to explore. Our hotel was in Montmartre on our 30th wedding anniversary in 2007. It was a great place to be based out of. Glad you made it up to the dome. I loved your comment on the pickpockets. Our recent experience has found they hang out around the main tourist attractions. As we climbed the steps to Sacre Coeur in 2017, someone grabbed my wrist and began tying a woven bracelet on me. I knew the next step was to ask for money, so I pulled my arm away and we continued to eye the scammers all the way up the stairs. Hard to beat the fresh baguette and pain au chocolate in Paris. We are lucky to have several good French bakeries in nearby Edmonton. Thanks for sharing Lyssy. Allan

    1. Such a great area to spend an anniversary! I couldn’t believe how many people I saw fall for the bracelet scam while we were sitting on the bench. We had prime people watching and I wanted to go rescue the people before they started pulling out their wallets. Baguettes were my favorite lunch! I will have to explore some French bakeries in NYC, I’m sure there are some good ones!

    1. It is such a charming neighborhood! The streets and so picturesque. Luckily we had no incidents with pickpockets on our trip. I even bought a little lock to put on my purse zipper, but didn’t end up using it.

      1. Yes, it is sad that’s what they have to do to survive. NYC has a lot of similar scams so I was prepared, but these guys seemed extra aggressive.

  2. Despite its touristy side, I also enjoy walking through the streets of Montmartre, where many of the old two- and three-storey houses have been preserved, which is rare in Paris. There are even more on the other side, beyond the basilica. You were lucky enough to be able to go up into the dome, this part was closed last year when I went to Montmartre several times. Thanks for the stroll!

    1. So glad you enjoyed and hope you make it up to the dome soon! I am so happy the houses have been preserved, they are so charming and beautiful! I’ll have to venture past the basilica next time I’m in Paris.

  3. What a fabulous way to spend your anniversary! We did take the metro when we were there without problems but one of my classmates/girlfriend did get her butt pinched on the way up the stairs to the church. We giggled over that for the rest of the week (once we arrived safely back at our hotel).

    1. We took the metro to the train station our last day and it seemed very clean and safe, but you just never know! I am guessing people probably have the same assumption of pickpockets on the subway, but I have never seen any. Thankfully it was just a butt pinch!

    1. I’m so happy you’re enjoying the trip! I believe there was a little break about halfway up the stairs where it flattened a bit.

    1. Thank you! I hope you make it up the dome soon, the views sure are spectacular!

  4. I’m glad you had a wonderful anniversary. The views from Sacre Coeur are amazing. I’ve been to Paris several times and have yet to get there. I’ll correct that next time.

    1. Thank you! The views are incredible! The church and neighborhood are a great spot to spend half a day.

    1. The buildings in Paris are all so elegant and beautiful! So much to see and take pictures of 🙂

  5. Our son “survived” Paris’s bracelet scammers many years ago. I’d never heard of such a thing and it seems you only hear about it in Paris. Do you remember the name of the quaint neighborhood where the artists used to live? Another blogger covered that same area when she did a piece on Van Gogh. BTW, I’m enjoying the French words you include in your posts. Such a beautiful language. I learned Italian in college (came in handy during a year abroad) but in hindsight I would’ve preferred French.

    1. NYC has similar scams with roses, CDs (although maybe that has phased out), and monk’s beads. They guys in Paris seemed way more aggressive than any I’ve seen in NYC. I was thinking I was missing something when you asked about the name of the neighborhood. I know sometimes there are neighborhood names within neighborhoods. I’m glad you’re enjoying the French words. I took French in elementary school, but remember my middle/high school Spanish a lot more. I remember the silly insult we learned most ” (insert kids name) a coupé le fromage” which means they cut the cheese – bathroom type humor is something else for elementary school kids haha. French words do sound pretty!

      1. Language classes in elementary school! Not an option when I was that age but I’m glad to hear it. The younger the better when it comes to learning a language.

  6. Alright! I had to catch up on your articles about my hometown, Paris 😊
    I’m, of course, commenting on the Montmartre article since it’s my favorite neighborhood! I used to hang out a lot there with friends and reminds me of my childhood! I’m glad you enjoyed it too 😊
    Your pictures are very beautiful! 👌🏼✨

    1. Hope you are enjoying this series!! Montmartre is such a charming town, I wish we could’ve spent more time here strolling around. Next time! 🙂 I’m jealous you could hang out and grow up in such a beautiful place!

  7. What an iconic place Montmartre is! I would love to spend hours just walking, taking photos, drinking coffee and just breathing it all in. Shame you didn’t have more time, however, first time visits, especially in cities like Paris, are always a fine balancing act. Lovely views and photos throughout the post. I must say, paranoid or not, avoiding the metro in Paris sounds like a good idea.

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