Saturday, August 25, 2018

Montmartre, Paris: Sacre Coeur and Place du Tetre

The Montmartre hilly boho village in the 18th arrondissement is always a great place to check out and hang out in Paris, whether during the daytime or at night. The village has different vibes though, depending on which time of the day you visit.

Place du Tetre at night.

Basicila du Sacre Coeur.

The mornings are less crowded of course, still fresh from the morning glow and no tourist invasions yet which happens slightly after 09:00+. Mid to late afternoons will be very busy already, and although it is crowded, it is a "nicely crowded" kind of way somehow, perhaps because of the village's low-key bohemian setting and the spectacular city views. There is the feeling of space.

The transition to evening in Montmartre is another existence on its own. It is a must to see and experience in my book because the ambiance is just one of a kind and the lights are simply amazing. Especially when you stand on the steps of the Basilica du Sacre Coeur, you can enjoy sweeping views of Paris at your feet! And the Place du Tetre becomes lively with artists and bistro-cafe-goers.

The evening does give a touch of sophistication to the whole boho ambiance of the place. I told girlfriend Pinpin that she cannot leave Paris without having step foot in Montmartre.

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We came with the metro in the early evening, stepping out of the Abbesses station. This station, by the way, is pretty cool because it is located several levels underground. It is the deepest metro in Paris at 36 meters.

Climbing the flight of stairs to get out of the Abbesses metro station.

The area around Abbesses.

In order to exit this metro stop, you either have to go with the fast lift or take the tunnel stairs which have been painted with a variety of cheerful daily scenes of Montmartre. There was some queue going on to the lift so it was pretty easy to decide to take the stairs. This isn't a good idea though for people with a not-so-good physical condition. But I really loved the festive scenery paintings on the stairway walls. For first-timers to Montmartre, coming via this station and using the stairs will be somehow like a teaser.

When we finally exited on Place de Abbesses, we were welcomed by delicious smells and carnivalesque energy. Oh, there is a local open-air food market going on! As someone who loves food, that was quite nice.

Busy Rue de Abbesses.

Girlfriend Pinpin was really feeling the cool and nice vibes of Montmartre, and although I have been to Paris many times, this part of the city always never fails to give me that sudden rush of excitement. You know, that holiday feeling that never wears off.

It was also December, just after Christmas, so the holiday season feel was also in the air.

There are many metro stops to get to Montmartre.

We then searched our way to the main road where we can go to the top of the hill using the funicular or the stairs.

The Abbesses station is at the base of the hill so we still have to go up to see the church and the rest of the village, but I wanted to show Pinpin the area so we walked around a bit admiring the daily scene, the bistros, the lights, the street markets. Pretty much enjoying the ambiance of the village.

Your typical French butcher shop. He pretty much wanted to be in the picture.

One of the many traditional Parisian cafes in Montmartre.

We managed to reach the base of the hill where the well-lighted Basilica Sacre Couer sits on top. She looked so gorgeous right up there. So elegant and regal, beckoning us to go up and meet her.

I guess for a dramatic entrance, and this is really the most popular way to get to Montmartre, ergo super touristy, is to take the metro and get off at Anvers station on Boulevard du Rochechourt. After which you would have to take the narrow Rue de Steinkerque pedestrian street which is brimming left and right with endless souvenir shops, cafes, and stores of all sorts. At the end of the street, the imposing church building comes to view. Yes, it's quite dramatic.

For convenience, we took the funicular at the base of the church. Pinpin and I have metro passes so the funicular ride was free of charge (well it's part of the metro pass).

Basilica du Sacre Couer.

When we arrived at the top, Pinpin totally went gaga over the Paris night skyline, haha. It is very impressive though and definitely a must see and experience when in Paris. She loved it to bits so we had to make several photo sessions here for her. I also managed to do a few selfie pictures of us with the church in the background.

The steps of the church are also always busy in the evening. There were so many young people hanging out, some even bringing their own music. I have to wonder if they were Parisians or local French tourists because many speak French.

Our selfie together with the basilica.

The beautiful dome inside the church.

We spent some time inside the church before we moved on to Place du Tetre and then further exploring the village.

This area of Paris is steeped in art history. At the end of the 19th century, during the Belle Epoque era, creative people used to live and gather here in the past. You've got Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso, Matisse, Mondrian and more who have helped make the boho vibe possible.

The literary odd duo, Hemingway and Fitzgerald were also said to have trudged the streets of Montmartre. Creative spirits are at home in this piece of Paris.

This restaurant sits on a corner of a turn. It's very picturesque.

The corners of Place du Tetre are filled with cafe terraces.

Artists for hire on Place du Tetre.

Getting a charcoal portrait done in Place du Tetre, Montmartre.

After walking around, Pinpin and I settled at a corner cafe on Place du Tetre. It took us some time to find an available spot because it was just too busy. I also do not want to take anything less you know, so it must be a spot well worth waiting for.

Because we have planned to eat somewhere else for the evening, we just had some drinks here while watching the goings-on on the square. Painters doing self-portraits to tourists. Other artists were selling paintings. Cafe goers on the other side of the square. Lots of people walking around =)

I do have a creative side of me. When I was little I remembered loving to draw and paint. One time my parents came home shocked to see the walls of the house covered in chalk drawings, lol. Luckily, they were just chalks and you can wash them away with water. My childhood was all about art classes every summer, being the artist of the class and doing creative things. Eventually, I graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts (major in Interior Design).

Well, I should have taken up a degree in business because it is what I do now. Life is full of surprises, you can never plan it.

Drinks while people and artist watching on Place du Tetre.

Pinpin and her social media. 

We left Montmartre via the Anvers station.

Travel Period:December 2017
Destination: Montmartre, Paris, France

Keep in touch and follow me on Facebook: Travel & Lifestyle Diaries by Dutched Pinay Travels
Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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