Monday, October 11, 2010

Paris Part III – I Couldn’t Stop Smiling!

On my first trip to Paris our group visited Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, located at the summit of Montmartre. Of all the amazing sights I saw on my first trip to Europe, this spot definitely stuck in mind. It has got to be the most amazing European basilica I’ve ever seen. It sits atop the mountain and practically glows in the sunlight, offering breathtaking views of the city below, and an overwhelming feeling of magic and wonder.

Being over 10 years ago and seriously brief, as our teachers quickly redirected us to our next educational experience, I’ve always felt my first visit was somewhat lacking. So I really wanted to go back, see the cathedral again and explore the area properly.

After a morning filled with light and beauty at the Musee D’Orsay I was more then ready for an encore. So we jumped on the nearest Metro line and made our way to the base of Montmartre.

Miracle of miracles, we even managed not to get lost this time!

Exiting our train we found a stairway on our left and an elevator on our right. Now, although we had Madeline in her stroller, we had gotten really good at hefting her up and down the steep stairs, stroller and all, on our many trips through the Metro system (FYI to all my readers with small children, the Paris Metro system is NOT stroller friendly!)

So when faced with a choice between the stairs or having to wait in line for the elevator, we thought, “Ah, no problem, we’ve got this!” I guess more accurately I should say my parents took on the challenge, or at least that is what it turned into. With my Dad carrying the front and Michelle carrying the back we began to climb.

And climb and climb and climb…

This was one SERIOUS set of stairs. It just kept going and going in a never ending spiral. My Dad just kept saying, “One more flight… Ooops, okay… this is the last one… Or maybe not… We’re almost there… Errrrr, or… OKAY THIS IS THE LAST ONE…. oops….”

YIKES! Poor Michelle, she really had the hard part as she had to hold approximately 40 pounds slightly above her head for the entire climb. Good thing she is one fit lady!

FINALLY, we could hear the sounds of the street and see daylight and so with a sign of relief my parents finally put Miss M down and we made our way to the funicular (think cable car/mini railway up the mountain). I mean after climbing from the subway hauling the Munchkin and all her stuff, we had absolutely ZERO intention of climbing up the hundreds of steps to Sacré-Cœur.

Here are Madeline and I in the Funicular car,

She had a lot to “tell” me and point at as our car moved up the hill.

We exited the funicular, walked about 50 steps and TA DA!!

Was I right, or was I right? Every time I look at this picture I get goose bumps and it instantly takes my breath away. It’s just so darn beautiful!

We enjoyed the sights and sounds on the steps of the basilica, including getting a picture of Madeline and I in front of the beautiful view,

and then made our way around behind the church where the Artist’s market was. This is what I was REALLY looking forward to.

As I walked into the square, I wanted to jump up and down like a little kid on Christmas morning. Stationed around the square were about 50 artists displaying their original works. All different styles and colours schemes I felt like a kid in a candy store. I knew I wanted to buy something, but the prices were a bit scary, and there were so many choices it was overwhelming. I wasn’t expecting things to be cheap, after all these are pieces of art lovingly completed by passionate artists, but YIKES! I must have walked around the square three times before I sat down at one of the surrounding cafes to think things over.

While I pondered what I wanted to do I enjoyed a delicious glass of red wine. Here’s the whole fam, soaking up the ambiance.

Ready to get out there again, I got up and made a few more circuits. When I was finished this time I had narrowed it down to three choices, but I still felt undecided and unsure I could afford what I really wanted. Returning again to where Michelle, Dad and Madeline were camped out I sat down with a sigh. Michelle leaned over and asked me what I was thinking. I told her I still wasn’t sure. The paintings were more then I really wanted to spend, and I just couldn’t make up my mind as to which one I was willing to make that kind of investment on.

That’s when my parents dropped the biggest surprise of the whole weekend on me. An announcement that left me smiling for hours and days afterwards.

Michelle told me that she and my Dad had a choice for me. They could either give me some money for my birthday to spend however I wanted, or they would buy me a painting.

Ummm, hard decision right?!?!

So to commemorate the big 3-0 I have coming up Michelle helped me choose the most absolutely gorgeous painting ever.

Here is the man who painted it. His name is George.

Could he look any more like the stereotypical Parisian Artist? He was so sweet I just wanted to squeeze him. I felt shy about taking his picture, so Michelle came with me to ask :)

Here I am holding my treasure. All I wanted to do was sit there and stare at it, but I really had to keep it wrapped up to protect it til I got it home.

But, of course, I wouldn’t dream of closing this post without a picture so you can all enjoy its beauty to. So here it is,

My AWESOME painting of Montmartre.


I can hardly wait to get home and have it framed.

Feeling seriously spoiled!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

BEAUTIFULLLLL!!!!! I love it!!!
glad you had an amazing trip!

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