Monday, 29 October 2012

Sacre Coeur & Eiffel Tower

For our penultimate day in Paris, we decided to check out the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur (or Basilica of the Sacred Heart) de Montmartre. The church is built on the highest point in Paris and after walking up over 200 stairs, my friend Melanie and I attended a mass service slightly winded.
The inside of the church was gorgeous and the surrounding area  is bustling with shops, cafes, and vendors. Tourists visiting Montmartre should be weary of 'string men'. These men lure tourists (usually young women) into conversation and then quickly tie a bracelet around their fingers or hands. Then they demand payment for the bracelet. They're harmless if you ignore them, but it was entertaining to watch them circle people like sharks.   

We looked around the local shops and ate at a random cafe where Melanie kindly shared her cheese plate that had different delicious cheeses. From there we decided to see the Eiffel Tower. We took the metro to the Louvre and decided to walk to the tower so we could see more of Paris by foot. The walk was nice, but we grossly underestimated the distance because the tower looming in the distance always appeared to be a block away.
We finally arrived to the base of the tower and realized that the tower is huge! The first tier of the tower can be reached via elevator or by climbing 300 stairs. Reaching the second level requires climbing another 300 stairs or taking the elevator. We opted for the elevator for both levels. After waiting in an eternity of lines and listening to a large group of teenage Indian girls chattering, we reached the second level and took some photos of the surrounding city. 

After chatting with some Americans we proceeded to the third level. There are extremely long lines before getting on either of the lifts, but I suppose that can be expected at most-visited paid monument in the world.
Me & Melanie at the top of the tower.
Every hour at night the tower sparkles.

The Eiffel Tower is definitely beautiful and worth a visit, but I failed to see now it was romantic. Perhaps it was a combination of fatigue and the long lines...

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