We’re zigzagging across the city today, so a day-ticket for the metro at 7€ each is definitely worth our while. First stop: Blanche in Montmartre.
The Blanche metro is opposite the famous Moulin Rouge which photographs extremely well. Shows at the Moulin Rouge are very expensive and start at around 130€, so we saved that for another visit.
Following the Lonely Planet’s Montmartre walking tour, we retrace the steps of some of the world’s most famous painters and writers. Breakfast was easy enough to find. There are a few cafes on Rue Lepic, but we opted for a small artisan boulangerie, stocking up on Quiche Lorraine, a tarte suisse and a flakey chocolate twist. So yummie!
Heading uphill, we pass Theo van Gogh’s former home (where his famous painter brother Vincent stayed with him from 1886 to 1888), another two moulins (mills) and the cabaret Au Lapin Agile. Directly opposite is the Clos Montmartre – a tiny vineyard that produces a mere 800 bottles of wine a year.
At the top of hill is Montmartre’s most visited tourist attraction – Basilique du Sacré-Cœur.
For 6€ each we climbed the 300 steps up the tower and were rewarded with stunning views over Paris’ rooftops, the Eiffel tower and Montparnasse.
Taking a different route downhill, we end up in Paris’ renowned red light district Pigalle (definitely not one for the kids as numerous sex shops and not so artistic dance establishments line the main street). A quick coffee to refuel some energy later, we walk back to Blanche to take the metro to Père Lachaise.
The cemetery of Père Lachaise is huge. To find the graves you want to visit, a map is essential. The Lonely Planet has a half day walking tour and pretty good map. Official maps are available from the main entrance which is open Monday to Friday, but closed at weekends. There are also signposted maps at all entrances and main intersections. All main lanes are named and the cemetery is split into numbered sections which in theory makes it easier to find the graves you’re looking for.
In about three hours we managed to visit Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Frederic Chopin, the potato grave, Molière and La Fontaine, Monsieur Noir (“the guy with the crotch”), Oscar Wilde and went around the urn walls in the crematorium. You could easily spend more time wandering amongst the grand graves and get lost in this tranquil place (provided that your shoes are comfy and your belly fed).
We headed back to our accommodation for a quick bite to eat and a bottle of wine, and then went back out to take pictures of Paris’ sights at night time. We really made the most of those day tickets.