Well, we slept in again. No surprise really after yesterday’s effort. Anyway, holidays are for relaxation too. One doesn’t have to charge all over the country-side all of the time.
Emily had some homework to do so Kerry and I headed for the Champs-Élysées just to walk it once again. Along the way we visited a couple of shops, no, not Louis Vuitton or Chanel, just H & M and a souvenir store. Crossing at the Arc de Triomphe we walked back down the other side past a score of equally famous stores and restaurants. Just to paint the picture, the side we had walked up on was very unattractive as there was much building renovation going on all the way along the street. Anyway, in this case the grass was definitely greener on the bank we were now on.
The jewel in the crown was, of course, the Renault showroom! Their merchandise section is significantly improved over the 2013 effort. Quite extensive actually. I bought a Renault yellow tee-shirt, and a couple of other odds and ends including a Renault 17 fridge magnet! The showroom had three F1 machines on display. The front window sported the glorious RE40 machine which Alain Prost drove during the 1983 F1 season. Next to that was a current RS17 machine and then one for tourists to sit in, so of course I did. It was awesome! A chap about my age was almost giggling with delight while Kerry took my picture. He just couldn’t wait to jump (squeeze) in after me. (Old) boys and their toys!
By now Emily had arrived so we left the Renault showroom and found a street-side cafe for a coffee and a small bite to eat. We shared a pizza and enjoyed the lovely sunny early afternoon. Our next target was to visit Montmartre. Montmartre sits towards the highest point of Paris. Because of this the Metro station at Abbesses is a long way underground. The lifts were out if order so we climbed the 99 step circular staircase to the top. At least the art on the starcase walls was interesting. Montmartre's streets are small and in places quite steep as it crawls up the hill towards the magnificent Sacre-Coeur basilica. The area is still renowned as a place for artists to gather, live and work. It’s where many, if not all, of the late 19th-early 20th century artists I mentioned earlier lived at some stage. It’s quite a charming part of Paris. Montmartre is also famous as the seedy part Paris, home the sex shops, peep shows and bawdy theatres and music halls, not the least of which is the famous Moulin Rouge.
Emily had a class at 4:00pm so she scooted off to the Metro leaving Kerry and me to wander some more. Since we were not far from Sacre-Coeur we thought we’d pay another visit, even though it was uphill which didn’t excite Kerry much at all. After a climb up a steep street and along others running along the hill-side we found a funicular railway that led to the base of the basilica, bypassing a steep and long staircase. Kerry was happy. I was happy too because the service was part of the public transport system so our tickets let us through the gate!
Well the view from the top hasn’t got any worse over the last four years. It’s still stunning. We went into the church which is as spectacular as I remember. I think it rates a second place to La Sagrada Familia in Barceona. Kerry took a seat on the steps of the church to admire the view while I headed off to climb up to the dome. For just EUR 6.00 I had the pleasure of 300 agonising steps to the top. The lungs could hack it no worries but the knees started complaining after the first 20 steps! Two lovely little American girls were behind me and kept me honest for the first 100 steps when I just had to have a breather to let the lactic acid build-up subside at little. It was all worth it, of course, with undeniably the best view over Paris in every direction.
I caught up with Kerry down on the steps of the church. She had befriended a family from Melbourne and they were chatting away happily when I arrived We took the funicular back down off “the mount” and strolled down the lanes through countless souvenir shops until be reached Boulevard de Clichy where we took the Metro back to Porte Doree.
Once back on home turf we had a drink at a local bar and watched the world go by for 30 minutes. Kerry bought some yummy pastries for dinner(straight to desert!), I bought a kebab and we retired to our room to eat and pack our bags. No, we’re not leaving Paris just yet but tomorrow will be a long, busy and a little late so we’re just getting prepared for that.