We loved visiting Paris in the Spring

Pantheon dome on the left in a sea of Paris domes

Paris downtown - hazy morning

There are few places on the planet that Bob and I have visited that can compare to Paris In The Spring.  And even as our picture illustrates, it does get cloudy in that City of Light.  Paris is a city where time seems to stand still, and as you walk its streets, hills and riverside, the past and present seem to meld into one.

The Eiffel Tower - Paris - France

From the Eiffel Tower…

Arc de Triomphe - Paris - France

to the Arc de Triomphe,

Hotel des Invalides - Paris - France

to the Hotel des Invalides (L’hôtel des Invalides) where Napoleon is buried.

Paris on a rainy morning

Paris is, indeed, one of our favorite destinations, especially in the springtime.

The Eiffel Tower - Jardins du Trocadero - Paris - France

The Eiffel Tower - Jean - Paris - France

Bob and I took time to sit and let time slide by atop Palais de Chaillot across the Seine  River from the Eiffel Tower.  It has been over 120 years since the tower was erected,  and even though we come from the city of Toronto, which has its soaring CN tower, the Eiffel Tower is, without a doubt, one of  the most impressive and recognizable structures in the whole world.

Sacre Coeur - high above Paris - France

In the distance, prominently situated on a massive hill in 18th arrondissement was the next stop on our morning walking tour of Paris.  Found at the heart of the community of  Montmartre (“mountain of the martyr”) is the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur.

Cobbled stone streets of Paris - France

With street map in hand, we began to make our way towards Montmartre.  Cobbled streets led us through narrow lanes as we climbed upwards from the Seine River, reminding us of the cobbled laneways of Montreal and Quebec City’s old quarter back in Canada.  Needless to say, that is a direct result of the two worlds sharing a French connection.

Vince Van Gough's Paris apartment

For those of you who are Vincent Van Gogh lovers, you might consider walking over to 54 Rue Lepic in Montmartre.  It was in this building that Vincent lived with his brother Theo between 1886 to 1888.

The Roofs of Paris - 1886 by Vince Van Gogh

One of the paintings that Vincent painted in the summer of 1886, from the hillside in Montmartre, was this work titled “The Roofs of Paris”.  Note that there is no Eiffel Tower in his painting.  It would be three years later, in 1889, that Paris was first graced with the tower that would become part of its skyline.

La Bonne Franquette - Montmartre - Paris

As we climbed our way up into Montmartre, we finally came to the Place du Tertre just around the corner from Sacré-Coeur.

Place de Tertres - painters portraits - Montmartre - Paris

This bustling square was brimming with modern day artists busily painting peoples’ portraits.  One hundred years ago, this square and its surrounding community was where the art form of Impressionism began.  That art form strongly influenced Vincent Van Gogh’s works with its use of color and light, and it was an art form that also had a huge impact on Canadian Landscape Artists Tom Thomson and Lawren Harris and the other members of The Group of Seven.

Restaurant le Consulat - Montmartre - Paris

Although we didn’t have lunch in this quaint little restaurant in Place du Tertre square, we felt compelled to take a picture of the building, not just because it looks so nice, but because it is one of the original buildings remaining from the time of the French Revolution.  Back in those days, people did not dine al fresco, and the square was not teeming with tourists and artists.  Instead, it was filled with rioters and demonstrators demanding liberty and freedom.

Place de Tertres - painters selling art - Montmartre - Paris

Today, the streets around Le Consulat showcase a variety of botanical paintings by the artists working there.  A hundred years ago, the prevalent art form would have been Cubism.  In 1910, a young Canadian Artist named Emily Carr came here to this city square to enlighten herself as to the new art form of Cubism.  Emily studied the works of artists like Picasso and Braque, but after two years of studying and painting, she returned to Canada with her own style that still resonates in her amazing paintings from her day.

Sacre Coeur - on a blue day - Paris - France

What an awe-inspiring experience to emerge from the side streets of Montmartre and find ourselves looking up the hill at the massive Roman Catholic Basilica of Sacré-Coeur.  Building this church began in 1875 and continued for close to 45 years before it was completed.

Basilique du Sacre Coeur - Montmartre - Paris

Basilique du Sacre Coeur - view up steps on right side- Montmartre - Paris

Interestingly enough, this church was built after France was defeated by the the Prussians in what is called the Franco-Prussian War.  After the war, the citizens of France decided to build this church as a form of, what some call, a guilt offering and a means of curing the country’s misfortunes at that time.

Basilique du Sacre Coeur - statues of Knights - Montmartre - Paris

With grey clouds looming above our heads, I took this picture of the two bronze statues above the church’s main entrance.  The statue in the foreground is Joan of Arc sitting on a warhorse while holding a sword in her right hand.  Sitting atop the other horse is King Saint Louis IX who is holding his sword so that it looks like a cross.  Both Joan of Arc and King Saint Louis IX are National Saints of France.

Basilique du Sacre Coeur - Jean at front entrance - Montmartre - Paris

After close to 150 years, the stone above my head at the church’s main entrance appears to have a rather dull color to it, but as you see in our next picture, the white exterior stone walls and towers have a lovely gleaming quality to them.  The reason the stone is so brilliantly white is because the masons decided to use stone that is both frost-resistant and that also becomes bleached white with age.

Basilique du Sacre Coeur - view up grassed terraces - Montmartre - Paris

Although Bob and I didn’t take time to climb to the top of the church’s main dome, the lookout at that location provides the second highest point of view in Paris.  The number one highest point of view in Paris is, of course, the Eiffel Tower.

Pantheon dome on the left in a sea of Paris domes

Sacre Coeur - view of Paris - France

We elected to stay on the ground, and from atop the hill, we had a very good view of the city and its many different domes.

Basilique du sacre coeur - view from Place St-Pierre - Paris - France

Carrousel in Place St-Pierre - featured in movie Amelie - Paris - France 2

Carrousel in Place St-Pierre - featured in movie Amelie - Paris - France

Just below Sacre-Coeur, in Square Willette, is one of the carousels that Bob and I remember well from the movie, Amelie.  This carousel was featured near the end of the movie when Amelie is finally trying to sort out the mystery of Nino.  Try to watch the movie before you go to Paris so that you can appreciate that the scene remains pretty much in tact even today.  Across Paris, we chanced to see many other carousels including those at the Eiffel Tower and in the gardens at the Louvre.

Au Bouton St Pierre - Jean stands out front - Paris - France

With our day’s tour drawing to an end, we seized the opportunity to pop into Au Bouton St Pierre at 5 Rue Steinkerque, a store just down the street from Amelie’s carousel.  I love to do needlework, and this haberdashery sold everything from needles, fabrics, tassles, fringe, buttons and unique tapestries.  I bought up what I needed to create a one-of-a-kind throw pillow that now sits proudly on our bed.

Jean in Paris textile store

As Bob milled about the shop, I mulled over the endless choices before coming to a decision.

Jean checkout textiles in Paris - France

It was a rich world of tapestries and fringed tie backs.  What a wealth of resources for the seamstress in the family.

Hotel de Invalides 2 - Paris - France

In our next Paris posting, Bob and I find ourselves at the L’Hotel National des Invalides (The National Residence of the Invalids), the site where Napoleon Bonaparte is buried.

Paris downtown - hazy morning


Claude Monet Water Lily Pon in Giverny - Frame To Frame - Bob & Jean photo

Monet’s Garden, Our Tour of Giverny and the Water Pond

Frame To Frame – Bob and Jean


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