Well – it looks like life got in the way of my blog for quite a while, feeling very guilty that my last post was way back, a week before Christmas. I do want to keep writing about my travels, but things may go slowly at times as I get back into a normal life. Just a little one to get back into the swing of things!
14th July 2013 – Bastille Day
La Fete Nationale or le 14 Juillet in Paris and I slept half the morning away! I’d seen helicopters practicing their low fly pasts last week, but today in my area everything was quiet and just like any other Sunday. Thought it would be best to stay away from Champs-Élysées where all the festivities are held so I made my way to Montmartre on the metro to visit the Sacré-Cœur. Every time I navigate my way to a different part of the city on the metro, I feel so very chuffed with myself, it gives me a real boost – probably ill deserved, because I really think it’s very easy! Finding my way from the metro to where I’m going is sometimes a bit hit and miss, but I guess I see plenty of extras on the way, so that’s always a bonus.
The streets leading towards the hill where Sacré-Cœur sits were crowded with tourists and hawkers, lots of little stalls selling all sorts of cheap, and probably nasty, souvenirs, although I wish I could draw and paint even a tenth as well as the people who do the sketches and paintings I see everywhere. As well as the ones with the cups and ball taking money off the gullible among us there were plenty of guys around with their trinkets for sale, spread out on a large piece of circular cloth with a drawstring around the edge – so they could quickly pull the drawstring to close the sack, throw it over their shoulder and run like the wind when they needed to. I’m guessing they’re either illegal immigrants or have no permit to be selling – either way, rather them than me.
Just because it was something a bit different, I caught the funicular to the top and joined the hordes wandering around taking photos and generally just enjoying being there on a beautiful day.I have to admit, I didn’t go inside the church, I was just happy to sit and try my hand at drawing for a while, people watch and remind myself – oh yeah, you’re really in Paris, on Bastille Day, at Sacré-Cœur – WOW!!
Streets of Montmarte, Paris
View from Sacré Cœur
Sacré Cœur, Paris
Recording their Sacré Cœur moment! – he was not happy about posing!
Unfinished Sacré Cœursketch
13th July 2013
Eiffel Tower from apartment
I just love my little apartment; it has two sets of french doors leading out to a tiny balcony with a weeny cute table and chairs – and a view of the Eiffel Tower!!! I guess it’s quite a distance away, but still, it’s right there, and I feel like I just want to sit there all week looking at it. And…. I didn’t get lost on the way either – pretty good I’d say. Booked through airbnb for the first time, and haven’t had any problems, everything is as advertised and the owner seems nice. Booking.com will wonder what has happened to me the last couple of weeks, it’s the longest I haven’t used them since I left home!
First thing was to buy a few supplies, easier said than done, I’ve found, sometimes. I’m pretty sure the person I asked about a supermarket told me there was one just up a side street. I didn’t find it, but there’s a little fruit and veg shop, a boulangerie and a couple of bars really close by, so in the end the essentials were fairly easy to come by. My building has a café on the ground floor too so it was all looking good enough to go exploring for the rest of my first afternoon in the 19th.
Paris from Parc des Butte Chaumant
As the Parc des Buttes Chaumant was only a block away it seemed a good place to spend the afternoon. It’s very much a natural parkland, so different to the highly manicured gardens in the city that it felt almost like I was in a different city altogether – except for the stunning vista of the Sacre Coeur from one of the highest points. Drawing the Temple de la Sibylle kept me occupied and happily observing the comings and goings for quite a while. Then just walking through the lovely gardens helped me feel more settled than I’ve been for the last two weeks and although I haven’t completely recovered from my tummy troubles I’m hoping this week to find the Paris I came here looking for.
To cap off a pretty smooth day I enjoyed practicing my French with the owner at the bar where I stopped for a wine on the way home. Then – nibblies on the balcony for dinner while soaking up the fact that, wow, here I am, in Paris, watching the Eiffel Tower put on it’s nightly light show!!
Cute little living room of apartment
Wine crate book cases
Just a bit of reading material for the little room!!
Parc des Butte Chaumant Paris
Temple de la Sibylle
Temple de la Sibylle Paris
Sacre Coeur from apartment
Eiffel Tower through the railing
Eiffel Tower light show