For my upcoming trip to Paris, everyone told me that I must see this white church located high on a hill but no one ever mentioned the quirks to actually GET to the top of the hill!
It was picture-perfect weather on the day we decided to visit the Sacre Coeur: a sunny, crisp, fall, day around 70 deg F. With my trusty metro map of Paris in hand, I planned my route to get on the Green line and head to Abbesses metro stop. The train was loaded with people and when we arrived to the stop, all these folks got off the train and headed directly to the elevator. By the time we got near the elevator, it was so packed with people, they all looked like sardines in a can! We thought, “The stairs are right here! Are all these people this lazy that they can’t take a few steps to get to the exit?!” So, we started up the stairs.
Now these stairs were not your typical flight of stairs with the straight, half flight up, then rectangle landing, then 180 deg turn, then your next half flight up and you arrive to see what floor you made it to. Nope, these stairs were curved around some kind of tube and you could never see the next landing or what level you were on or how much you had to climb. As a matter of fact, we actually lost track of how many landings we passed that it seemed like these stairs were some kind of never ending Parisian joke that just took us around and around! We climbed so many steps that we got tired and had to take a break on one of the landings! As we hung out there for a few minutes, I noticed the paintings on the walls of the stairwell. There were these magical flying unicorns on one painting and the next painting was a view of the city. I thought “Woah, how beautiful is this!” The stairs were pretty dark but I took a few shots to remember this moment. I mean, can you believe I was actually going to miss all of this because of an elevator?
Anyhow, soon after our break, we made our exit to the ground level. OK, now where is this white church on the hill? I pulled out my Paris map to see the exact location of the Basilica and it turns out we were about a 5-10min walk away. Cool. Except for the fact that it was another 200 yards of stairs to get to it!
We hiked up all the way to the top and I could see it! The Sacre Coeur! We made it! It felt like such an accomplishment. We started walking towards it and just as we got close, I saw a small tram that came from the bottom of the hill! We couldn’t help it, we all just started laughing hysterically. =)
And it was all totally worth it! The views from the hill are just AMAZING! The Basilica itself is just so beautiful! The people that gathered here, the atmosphere, everything was perfect! And of course, the one thing I will take away from this experience: If you want to have an adventure, take the stairs!