We took the metro from our local stop and changed to one of the major tourist lines. This line and a few others are getting well known for roaming gangs of pickpockets, take care of your wallets and purses. More on that later.
We reached the bottom of Montmartre via the Abbesses metro stop. Exit the station and walk to the left, following the signs. We passed the street with the stairs leading straight up and made our way to the funicular. For the cost of a metro ticket, you can get a ride up to the church. You can see the Basilica at the top right of the picture.
It being Good Friday, there were tons of people everywhere. I'm not sure they were there for the services or just because they had the day off, but it was crowded. Nonetheless, one can get great views of the church itself. It was a bit hazy to see much across the city but it is still a great view.
Despite the mob of people, I must admit that the little streets are very charming and picturesque.Many artists and writers lived in the area and frequented its cafes and restaurants. It is very hilly in the neighborhood so there are great views up and down the narrow streets. The one below is a side street without many people.
To the back/left of Sacre Coeur is Place du Tertre. It has cheap places to eat all around the Place and the middle is loaded with artists selling their works of art. Many of them are just doing portraits and caricatures of the tourists. Plus there are guys roaming the crowd with their sketch pad trying to get you to pay for a portrait. It's pretty cheesy.
They seem to be pretty skilled at what they are doing. I'll bet they could do some real good work, but they make their living pumping out stuff for tourists. (hmmm, not a bad idea. Note to self: pump out some stuff for tourists.)
This poor guy was just trying finish his lunch when I had to take his picture.
We roamed around a bit, peeked into a few stores, then walked off the back of the hill. Just behind the basilica is a little vineyard and the famous Au Lapin Agile where many famous artists got plastered every night.
On the way back to the basilica, we heard a choir singing and saw that they were getting ready to have a procession of the Stations of the Cross. I wanted to get a photo of this priest as he passed in front of Sacre Coeur but the paparazzi got in the way, so this will have to do.
Then it was time to tackle the stairs to get back down to the metro. Going down was a piece of cake. They go down multiple levels, crossing little streets as they make their way down from Montmartre.
We picked up the metro again at Abbesses. This station has one of the art-nouveau entrances that can be seen around the city. Many of the older stations still have this cool style.
Maybe it will be another 40 years before we make another pilgrimage to Montmartre.