Sunday was a much slower day (I think), although we still walked for MILES. We started off getting the metro to Les Invalides, a beautiful Baroque-style military museum and retirement home for war veterans. We didn't go in, but it's stunning on the outside and right beside Musee Rodin (79 Rue de Varenne, 75007) which we did visit. Musee Rodin is perfect if you're looking for a bit of peace and quiet, and is free to anyone under 25.
The Gardens are €1 for an over-25, and to see the museum as well (Hotel Biron where Rodin resided), it's 9€ but definitely worth it as the house is amazing and the sculptures are so thought-provoking including 'The Kiss'. Still in our 'pensive' mood, we walked along the quiet streets of the Left Bank to Jardin du Luxembourg, only to be repeatedly attacked by seagulls and pigeons. There are sculptures dotted around the Jardin and tree-sheltered pathways and we sat by a large pond where children had hired wooden sailing boats and were pushing them out with sticks. I told Ollie he wasn't allowed one...
Our plan for the evening was to go up to Montmartre and have a poke around the Sacre-Coeur. This really is a must see as it's so pretty and different from the rest of Paris. We used our final metro tickets (you can share a 'carnet' of 10 tickets - 13€) to take us to Pigalle, which is like a giant Soho, full of sex shops - It's not somewhere you'd want to be alone after midnight! We took photos outside Moulin Rouge, had a nutella crepe halfway up the hill and checked out 'Cafe des Deux Moulins' (15 Rue Lepic, 75018) - the cafe where Amelie works at in the film, 'Le Fabuleux Destin D'Amelie Poulin'. During my gap year, I followed the steps of Amelie (hence the blog name) and went round Montmartre finding the places used for filming. Sadly, the cafe have removed the garden gnome which used to stand in the side window.
We walked up the steep hill round the side of the Sacre-Coeur, a huge Basilica resembling the Taj Mahal. Fortunately, by walking up the side of the hill we avoided the little square at the bottom with the carousel (also featured in 'Amelie') and the steps where the 'string con men' lie in wait. The church was packed - obviously being a Sunday everyone thought they'd do something religious, but there were also small Christmas stalls round the front of the church - and a LOT of school trips. We didn't go into the church unfortunately (I've been in before), as Ollie was too interested in watching one of the street performers do a variety of acrobatics on a tiny ledge at the top of the stairs with a football balanced on his head, or doing 'keepy uppies' at the top of a lamp post. For anyone remotely interested in this phenomenon, Youtube 'Sacre Coeur Soccer Skills'.
The sun was starting to set, so we headed over to the artists' square, or 'Place du Tertre' behind the Sacre-Coeur. It really is beautiful, and even more so at dusk just before all the artists pack away. There's painters, caricaturists, sketchers... the whole lot, and they're really really good. It's obviously very touristy round there, so I wouldn't recommend to eat there as you'll be offered an English menu with pictures and a plate of chicken and chips.
We got monumentally lost heading back down the hill - Ollie ignoring my suggestion of walking round to the front and down the steps (oh no, far too straightforward), so after a lot of arguing and map tearing, and having to walk back up a thousand steps we were eventually back in Montmartre/ Pigalle.
Ollie also had on his list of things to do a bar called 'Dirty Dick' (10, Rue Frochot, 75009), which is not the sort of place that first springs to mind, although the name certainly fits in with the Pigalle surroundings. It is actually a Tiki bar, and one of the places that Sipsmith sells their gin to in Paris (Ollie is head distiller at Sipsmith). It's mental inside - in a good way - with dim mood lighting, drinks served in giant pineapple or tiki heads, with shots of Chartreuse floating in inside-out limes which are set on fire. The barman was young, easy-going and spoke an array of languages, and the menu was in English which for once I was relieved about because there's nothing like ordering a calm mojito and receiving a flaming zombie. He was definitely a fan of Sipsmith and gave us a shot on the house before we left (sacre bleu!).
I can't remember where we ate on the way back to the hotel that evening... we were still bursting from our crepes so weren't up for much. I do remember, however, that Ollie finally got his Magret du Canard and loved it!
the crazy happenings in my life