Day Two in Paris: Montmartre & Basilica of the Sacré Cœur

Moulin Rouge was my favourite movie since its theatres premiere until Inception came out... which means that for nearly a decade, it rests uncontested on my list. And I watched it approximately three times from start till end. That's why it was such an amazing feeling to see the movie setting for Moulin Rouge itself! Right after a very comfortable time at Havre Caumartin's shopping district, we found ourselves at the Montmartre Quarter of Paris. No prizes if you spot that I dressed to be matchy-matchy with this place. Whoops, fan girl.
Itinerary for Day Two in Paris
1. Havre Caumartin
2. Montmartre & Basilica of the Sacré Cœur
3. Eiffel Tower

Want an alternative one day itinerary in Paris?
>>> Itinerary for Day One in Paris
>>> Itinerary for Day Three in Paris

Very bad hair and makeup day but nothing's going to ruin my excitement for being right next to the Moulin Rouge! It's actually fairly empty and I was the only obvious tourist there. It should be busier and more happening at night with the flickering lights and all, but well we've got other things to see that require daylight so... moving on...
Important notes for the travelers
- Metro directions for Havre Caumartin to Montmarte: Saint-Lazare > Abbesses

I spot another movie reference - Cafe des 2 Moulins Brasserie - from Amelie! This is a true blue stumbled upon sort of thing... I haven't watched the movie yet (yes, I promise to do so soon). Montmartre is turning out to be an amazing place for movie buffs too.
The Little Train of Montmartre

The Little Train of Montmartre is very helpful for those who need an extra energy saver boost. The climb from Moulin Rouge to the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur at the top of the hill is slightly strenuous though for me (I don't exercise much), it's quite manageable. We sent the parents onto this little train so that they can enjoy more sights whilst not depleting too much leg power. The downside is that they can't stop and look at the street shops though, and it sends them to the hilltop straight without any stops.
Important notes for the travelers
- Costs for The Little Train of Montmartre: 6 Euros for Adults, 3.50 Euros for Children under 12
- There are different train operators with similar pricing and similar (not entirely the same) routes. Don't waste too much time finding the differences which are almost negligible. 
- Take note of the colour and/or name of the train for your return trip.
They do not check the tickets; it is based on trust. ;)

On the way up, it was so sweltering hot even a native Equator-dweller in summer clothing could not stand it. This gelato from Amorino is 100% necessary and God-sent, deliciously creamy and irresistible. Not too sweet. If my memory does not fail me, we chose Mango Sorbet, Stracciatella and Pistachio. Oh, it was over five months ago, so... but one very important thing I do remember: Amorino charges by the size of the cup and you can choose any number of flavours! This also means if you choose more flavours, you get lesser of each but more variety and vice versa. I love this intelligent flexibility and Singapore ice-cream parlors should totally learn from them. It is also reasonably priced even by my standards so yes, go ahead and get this.

This was what awaits us at the top of the hill! I just want to break into song and dance at the moment and sing I'm on the - top of the world - looking down on creation~ Yes Paris, this is one of the reasons why I am in love with you. The entire city of Paris is visible from the forecourt. From the dome, over 200 metres above the River Seine, you can see the surrounding countryside for 50 kilometres. It is the highest point in Paris after the Eiffel Tower. If you squint hard enough or have very good eyesight, you can see the Eiffel Tower in the distance away (technically, almost 5km). They have a little map at the far-end that points out all the attractions. Therefore, it will be more meaningful for you to follow my day one itinerary (and squeeze in more attractions) so that you can look out for them when you reach the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur.

Here is some background history on the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur which was erected at the end of the 19th century.

Montmartre has always been a place of worship: from the Druids of ancient Gaul, through the Romans with their temples dedicated to Mars and Mercury, to the Church of Saint Peter, the oldest in Paris, rebuilt in the 12th century next to the Royal Abbey of Montmartre. The original chapel of the Sacré Cœur was built on the mound in honour of St Denis that fell into ruins in the 9th century. It was rebuilt as the hill of Montmartre was a popular place of pilgrimage. Apart from St Denis, the remains of a large number of Christians martyred during the persecutions were venerated, thus the hill was hailed the Mount of Martyrs.
In 1559, a fire destroyed part of the abbey of the Benedictines of Montmartre located at the summit. Subsequently, misfortunes increased, until 1611 when Marie de Beauvilliers, who had governed the abbey, undertook the restoration of the Martyrium on hillside. During construction, a staircase that led to an ancient crypt was discovered, causing a sensation. It was said to have been sanctified by St Denis. Marie de Médicis and over sixty thousand people came, setting off a new wave of devotion.
At the end of the 14th century the French King Charles VI, after being cured of an attack of madness and after miraculously escaping the flames of a fire, made a pilgrimage of thanksgiving to the Martyrium of Montmartre. Thereafter, Paris was the scene of the bloody struggle between the Armagnacs and Burgundians, this violence incited the parishes of the city to Montmartre to ask St Denis to save the capital. In 1525, when François Ist was taken prisoner by the Spanish at the battle of Pavia, the people of Paris thronged to Montmartre to pray to the patron saint of the kingdom to end the great desolation. 
For centuries the Abbey of Montmartre was a centre of intense religious life and a place of pilgrimage. In 1792 the Benedictines were dispersed by the French revolutionaries and the monastery was razed. The last Abbess, Marie-Louise de Montmorency-Laval, mounted the scaffold in 1794 and her blood gave rise to the miraculous resurrection of religious life that took place 80 years later on the sacred mound. The only surviving part of the abbey of the Ladies of Montmartre is St Peter’s church, whose choir served as a chapel for the nuns.
Information credit (and edited by me): Basilica of the Sacré Cœur official website

In contrast to the Gothic churches of the Middle Ages like Notre Dame Cathedral, the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur is inspired by churches such as St Sofia in Constantinople and San Marco of Venice. The interior architecture is dressed in the Romano-Byzantine style; it imbues a harmonious aura of peace in this house of God. The light and architectural details prioritizes on the apse, the place of liturgical celebration and adoration of the Holy Sacrament.
Information credit (and edited by me): Basilica of the Sacré Cœur official website

Important notes for the travelers
- Entrance fees to Basilica of the Sacré Cœur: Free
- Opening hours: 6am - 10.30pm daily
- After 11pm, only registered people for night adoration can remain in the Basilica
- For more information on service times, click here.

As you can probably tell, I'm on the little train. And you would know if you've read my post (instead of glimpsing through photos), I climbed my way up. You can guess what happened in between. I'm not insinuating anything nor am I implying you can do the same without getting caught. But I love the train ride!

I snapped a lot of photos along the way as the train was rumbling along merrily at a comfortable pace.  It took about 15 minutes from the hilltop down, and gave us a (de)tour around the Montmartre neighbourhood including the residential buildings. I found that it was a good wrap-up of that area, albeit a little touristy, but good if you're rushing for time and low on energy. If you were to walk the shorter route down, you would have missed quite a bit of the quieter, less commercialized part of Montmartre but then again, this is up to your self-preference. The train stops at Blanche metro station rather than Abbesses which we alighted from.

You wouldn't want to miss the next post on Eiffel Tower when we suddenly recalled the existence of something called... the jumpshots. Thereafter the number of photos on my camera shot up exponentially. Till the next time!
Itinerary for Day Two in Paris
1. Havre Caumartin
2. Montmartre & Basilica of the Sacré Cœur
3. Eiffel Tower

Want an alternative one day itinerary in Paris?
>>> Itinerary for Day One in Paris

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a travel and food blogger with a constant longing to be somewhere to makes her feel alive ☆ life's an adventure

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