Paris at last!
After settling in to the surprisingly roomy and well-equipped apartment, we checked out the local providers of bread, cheese, wine etc – a wonderful selection. Alan lingered excessively over the patisserie with a window full of fruit tarts.
Next day we found to energy to hike up to the Sacre-Coeur Basilica. Supposedly you can see Paris spread out beneath you, but in the rain it was just a grey blur.
Inside there’s a plaque showing where 13 WWII bombs fell. The fact that none of the worshippers was killed apparently reinforced the locals’ dedication to the church.
On to the Place du Tertre, the bohemian heart of old Montmartre, but it was so full of tourists, souvenir shops and con artists that we sloped off down the hill through streets and cafes frequented by the likes of Picasso, Renoir, Utrillo, Edith Piaf and Gertrude Stein. I was rather taken with the account of Utrillo’s wild mum, a former trapeze artist, who was a painter in her own right and who engaged in a torrid affair with Eric Satie.
The Clos Montmartre Vineyard is a surprise. Ever since the 12th century, monks and nuns have produced wine here (and Parisians came to drink it tax free because Montmartre was outside the city limits).
The final port of call on this walk was a good lunch at ‘Le Moulin de la Galette’.