The Parisian Cityscape from Mars Hill

Today we visited Montmartre [mohn-MAHR-truh], a hill on the north side of Paris. On top of the hill sits the great domed basilica of Sacré Cœur [SAH-krih Kuhr] (Sacred Heart) which offers a panoramic view of Paris, assuming you are willing to hike up some stairs to get there. The hill gets its name from the time before the basilica was constructed, back when it was called in Latin Mons Martis, meaning the Mount of Mars.

According to Courtney, Sacré Cœur has had a person preforming at least one person on prayer vigil for the last one hundred thirty years, which is pretty amazing. She told me that the view from Montmartre was one of her favorite parts of Paris and I would have to agree. Have a look for yourself.

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We also walked around the basilica and admired the stained-glass windows, domed ceiling, and beautiful artwork. In the bookstore at the basilica, Courtney found a book called Prayer for Dummies (but in French), in case you want to help with the vigil, but don’t know how to pray.

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I had my first ham and cheese crepe on the steps at the bottom of the hill next to a carousel. Then we went and wandered the tourist shops and found our way to the Wall of Love.

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The Wall of Love has the phrase “I love you” in 250 languages. I couldn’t find Lithuanian, but I did find Greek. I had to translate the words through math variable names to get there, but we got the message eventually.

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To finish the day, we took the metro across the city to the Trocadéro Gardens [TRO-ka-DEH-roh], which mark one end of the long street that passes under the Eiffel Tower. The Trocadéro Gardens have a huge fountain which sprays water from giant, colonial-age cannons toward the Eiffel Tower. There were little kids playing in the fountain in their skivvies and we spotted another carrousel nearby. It was nice to just sit and relax for a minute before heading home.

Plus, I got to hold the Eiffel Tower.

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It took a couple tries, okay?

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More or less.

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—M.M.

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