we started the day slow, thanks to our extra comfy bed. the bed was too soft and the blanket was too warm, we had a hard time getting up from it. we kept hitting the snooze button and pulling up the blanket to our necks, over and over again.
but once we got up, we encountered a little shower problem. ari took a shower first, and when it was aina and my turn, there was no more hot water. oh no! usually, when this happens, we just wait for another 15-30 minutes, the hot water will pool up again. but we woke up late and got no more time to waste. so we ended up doing limited washing with hot water from the electric kettle. oops.
after posting a blog entry on this journal, we left the apartment at 10 and headed to the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur… and got sidetracked a few times along the way.
first, we stopped by the Fountain St. Michel. we wanted to take picture of it yesterday, but it was packed! morning was definitely a better bet for tourists who like to take pictures. the area was almost empty.
then, we took the metro, where we had to change train at Barbès-Rochechouart station. here, the metro was above the ground.
it reminded me to the Long Island City station in NYC, near PS-1. actually, the whole of Paris reminded me of NYC… the metro, the people and their attitudes, the way they dress. i think i’ve shed my New York State of Mind many years ago. but when i got to Paris, especially coming from friendly and warm Barcelona, it was much easier to deal with the people there if we imagined we were living in NYC again. so, we put the NYC cap back on and strolled… in a cleaner, prettier and more delicate version of NYC.
then, we stopped by Blanche Metro station to check out the Moulin-Rouge windmill. we wanted to go there at night, but seeing so many sex shops and adult entertainment stuff around, we decided against it… not with Aina around.
the Moulin Rouge was only two stops away from the Basilica. so we took the train back to Anvers and got off there. the area couldn’t get any more touristy than that, it was crazy.
everyone was selling something: snow globe, keychain, mini license plate magnet with your name on it… the worst kind was these bunch of black men carrying colorful threads. they would approach you and ask, “where you come from? china? vietnam?” and spout random countries while trying to shake your hand. at the same time, their hands would start to wrap the colorful threads around your arms and braid them into a bracelet. then when they’re done, they would ask you for 5 Euro. ari fell for it… while i, after putting my NYC cap back on, was as aggressive in rejecting as they were in pushing for the bracelet, could get away from them.
aina, once again, wanted to ride the carrousel. this one was pretty cool since it was a double-decker carrousel with a lot of gold decorations. and pink hourse.
we then climbed up the stairs towards the beautiful basilica. the space was just so picturesque and pretty, we couldn’t stop taking pictures. and the bright blue sky just enhanced everything around. it was full of people and tourists but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.
the view to Paris is amazing up from Montmartre.
aina told me that she likes this place because there was music everywhere. it made me realize that there were so many street musicians in Europe. it makes walking around and being outside so much more enjoyable. it is something that’s missing from Singapore.
we then walked to Place du Tertre to see all the painters selling their paintings to the tourists. when i went to Paris back in 1995, this was the one place i remember the most. i guess i liked it very much. and it seemed that everyone liked it as much as i did, judging from how crowded the place was.
there were tons of artists walking around with blank papers, asking tourists if they wanted to have their picture drawn/painted. back in ’95, i along with my whole family had our pictures drawn by different artists there. this time, it was also tempting, especially since we were approached non-stop by those artists. i guess, every artist looked for a family with kids and offer to draw their kids… but since both ari and i can draw, we decided to skip it (we can do that ourselves, right? plus we would probably be disappointed if the drawing doesn’t resemble aina). instead, we opted to buy a finished watercolor painting of one of the shops in Montmartre from a woman artist. i love the painting (haven’t framed it, but once i have, i’ll post it here).
it was getting late and we were getting hungry. so we picked one of the restaurants around the square, called La Boheme du Tertre…
after lunch we walked briefly around Montmartre, and stopped at another square where there was a musician playing the cello. once again, aina sat herself on top of the concrete barrier, started listening and didn’t want to move.
she even pretended that she’s playing a flute along with the cellist using the napkin she picked from the restaurant.
the rest of Montmartre was very pretty. we didn’t go to the famous Lapin Agile, though. maybe next time.
after that, we took the metro to Place de la Concorde to see Jardin des Tuileries and the Louvre.
the rest of today’s pictures are in the flickr’s 15 march 2012 archive archive.
Basilique du Sacré-Cœur
35 Rue du Chevalier de La Barre
La Boheme du Tertre
2 Place Tertre
75018 Paris, France