Thursday, October 23, 2014

Walking around Montmartre

A random street in Montmartre

Having visited the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Sacré Cœur, we felt that we had enough for our first day in Paris. After all, we needed to save our energy for the rest of this 2-week trip, the longest I had so far that time ever since I jumped into employment 8 years ago. Getting back to work after that was an ordeal although, the bills had helped me to snap back to reality. haha Anyway, let's not further delve into that.

Coming down from Sacré Cœur, my cousin and I headed down towards the streets in Montmartre. You know, just being random and only an offline map to reassure our way from time to time. I am such an impulsive person that random walks, are some of the things I enjoy the most. For truth be told, it's always liberating to ditch the plans. But Breinn is not always keen on this, sadly. Am I really that strange? And I digress again.

So, we walked around Montmartre, taking in the realness of Paris and hoping we veered away from the tourist crowds as far as possible. (I tell you, it's difficult!)

Colorful light balls! I had no idea then, what all these colors are for!
They looked more like food to me. haha Official website here.

After seeing a snapshot of Paris on top of Sacré Cœur, so this is how it looks like on the ground. Ain't everything look pretty? I find it really interesting to see random stores in every corner. Not that, I shopped but it's a sight to behold and it's something new for me. Of course, it was my first time in Europe where centuries-old buildings are everyday life. How can't that be new?

Église Saint-Jean-de-Montmartre (Church of Saint-Jean-de-Montmartre)

They say if you want to overload yourself with temples, you go to Asia and on the other hand, Europe for churches. Christianity in Europe is deeply rooted in its history, with heavy influences on people and the government centuries ago. Well, it doesn't come as a surprise to find in Europe the grandest churches in the world. Even small churches are already stunning like this one we saw on our way. It was open and we invited ourselves in. As Christianity has lost its clout today as compared to the early days, it now becomes a challenge to maintain these historic churches. Many have been converted into public use, like libraries, restaurants, hotels etc. For the surviving churches, it is common to see priests with donation boxes at the church's doorways. Sad but true.

Another carousel!

Say what?!?

This is just awesome!

Still on our mini-jaunt in Montmartre, we then saw this stall that sells almost all the sweets from candy heaven. Are they even serious? I could imagine my sister shrieking with unrestrained delight. The stall has a close proximity to the carousel, just ready to lure shrieking kids.

Pizza and wine for dinner at La Pignatta

Because we are sadly of age, we didn't buy any sweets, not even a 100 gram for Pete's sake. We were thinking that the sweets would spoil our appetite for dinner. (Grandmothers. I know) After a while, we settled at this Italian restaurant (yes, Italian food in Paris just because...), that just opened for dinnertime. Must I tell you that we had here the best pizza in this trip? Yes, in Paris! Haha Not in Rome where we had touristy meals most of the time. But this is a different story to tell. And since we were getting ready ourselves for a European flair, we ordered red wine to water down our pizza. (Choz lang!)

Cafe de 2 Moulins from the movie, Amélie.

By making most of the remaining daylight, we continued to walk with Moulin Rouge in mind this time. After seeing the Cafe de 2 Moulins, we thought that we must be close. haha Actually prior to our trip, I watched some movies from the countries, we would be visiting. I think I was only able to watch French, Spanish and Italian movies. I wanted to feel what it's like to be hearing entirely French, Spanish or Italian because I know that by the time I'd arrive in these countries, my mouth would just gape in wonder. haha

Amélie is a movie set in Montmartre, that tells the story of a socially-reclusive woman named Amélie and her journey towards finding her one true love. The scenes on how she slowly came out of her shell were quirky yet entertaining. Watching these movies was like breathing a fresh air in contrast to the usual Hollywood movies, with cookie-cutter storyline.

As we made our way down to Moulin Rouge, we were quite surprised to see stores selling fresh produce! These stores are just at the ground floor of the buildings. So, this is how Parisians do their grocery shopping? Of course, those oysters can't be for tourists. haha Unless, one is downright eccentric.

I wish I could be a kid again! Being carefree is just priceless.

And we successfully arrived! We didn't go inside though because we are cheapskates like that. hehe We only entertained ourselves by taking pictures and by watching carefree kids, jumping like forever on some gigantic exhaust. I was almost tempted to do the same.

We walked a bit more and we ended up at a shop for adults. We acted nonchalant about the whole thing, 'coz you know, it's just normal. lol However, we didn't give in to our curiosity to go inside the museum annexed to the shop. Yes, such museums exist! It is by the way, called Museum of Eroticism. It is what it is, no sugarcoating involved.

Before darkness took over, we promptly made our way to the Metro because it seemed not to be a good idea for us to tarry in such a place on our first night in a very new city.

But we came back to something familiar. Good morning and good night Eiffel Tower. 

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