August 27, 2012

Paris and Montmartre

Paris, 2012 - Our second day in Paris got off to a great start with a delicious cup of café au lait and two pain au chocolat still warm from the oven. Breakfast is one of the little things that lured me back to France.

The included city sightseeing tour would take in many sights we had visited the last time we were in Paris, but we joined the tour as far as Place de la Concorde. From here we walked through the Tuileries Garden and onward along the River Seine to Ile de la Cité and Notre Dame Cathedral.

Paris - Tuileries Garden

Paris - Tuileries Garden

Paris - Tuileries Garden

We previously climbed the Tower of Notre Dame for stunning views of the city. This time we took a few moments to simply enjoy the quiet interior of the massive gothic cathedral.

Paris - Notre Dame Cathedral

Interior of Notre Dame Cathedral

We returned to the hotel by taxi in time for our optional afternoon tour (43 euros) of Montmartre. A mini train took us up the hill to the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur, but there is also a funicular to take visitors to the top of the butte.

Basilica of Sacré-Coeur, Montmartre

The winding streets took us through the bohemian neighbourhood once frequented by artists such as Auguste Renoir, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Vincent Van Gogh. Its landmarks were often featured in their paintings.

Streets of Montmartre

The last active vineyard in Paris still produces grapes and the wine is sold by auction each year to benefit charity.

Le Clos Montmartre Vineyard

La Maison Rose Restaurant, Montmartre

Au Lapin Agile Cabaret, Montmartre

Au Lapin Agile, Montmartre

Le Moulin de la Galette was the setting for one of my favourite paintings by Renoir, Bal du Moulin de la Galette, which hangs in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.

Le Moulin de la Galette, Montmartre

Le Moulin, the Windmill

At the conclusion of our walking tour, which ended among the artists of Place du Tertre, we enjoyed a glass of wine on the sidewalk while a trio of classical musicians entertained the crowd.

Place du Tertre, Montmartre

Colourful Montmartre

Following our tour of Montmartre, we went to the tearoom at the Mosque de Paris for a glass of mint tea. We enjoyed a little taste of North Africa while tiny birds swooped through the covered patio lined with multicoloured enamel tiles.

And in the morning we would say au revoir to Paris and board our Avalon Waterways river cruise through Burgundy and Provence.

Next:  Beaune, Wine Capital of Burgundy

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