September 13th - September 14th: Montmartre, St. Denis

The 13th and 14th were cold, rainy days and because of this our photos tend to be somewhat somber. Furthermore because of the inclement weather we skipped the opportunity to take many photos. But we did the best we could and here they are.

September 13th, Montmartre

Montmartre is an area in northern Paris built around a broad hill that is 130 meters in height. Atop this hill is the lovely Sacre Coeur Basilica. On the flanks of the hill are other interesting churches, many cafes and restaurants and squares filled with artists creating portraits and caricatures of the many tourists who visit the area.

The Church of Saint-Jean-de-Montmartre, constructed from 1894 through 1904, was the first example of a reinforced concrete church. If you look carefully, you can see the Art Noveau features of the facade.

A modern style chapel room in the otherwise traditional Church of Saint-Jean-de-Montmartre.

A narrow street with Sacre Coeur in the background.

Your faithful hosts in front of a Montmartre shop.

An artist sketches a young boy while another skilled artist lifts my wallet from a zipped pocket - I never felt a thing.

Finally! The obligatory photo of Sacre Coeur. It was raining on and off and gazillions of tourists were milling about. We took maybe 30 photos of the church and of them, this is the best.

September 14th, Saint Denis

Saint Denis is a commune in a northern suburb of Paris. It is easy to reach since the metro M13 runs from central Paris out to St. Denis. The trip from our apartment took about 45 minutes. Here was the first notable thing we saw at our destination:

A urinal and a sign labelling it right on the side of a street? What's wrong with this picture?. Later we saw a similar thing in Paris.

The Basilica of Saint Denis.
The site of the Basilica is rich with history starting with its use as a Roman cemetary. From the 7th century through the 11th century several chruches were built and renovated on the site. In the 12th century, the Abbot Suger rebuilt portions of the abbey church and created the first true gothic building which served as model for cathedrals and abbeys of northern France, England and other countries.

What makes the Basilica so interesting is that nearly every king from the 10th to the 18th centuries is buried within the building. The tombs make for facsinating viewing (are we getting a bit morbid here?).
[Some text excerpted from Wikipedia. Photo also from Wikipedia because the day of our visit a large portion of the facade was under cover for work]

The nave of the Basilica.

Gorgeous rose window

In the 3rd century, Denis was the bishop of Paris. Sometime after 250 AD, the Romans persecuted Denis and ultimately cut off his head. Denis is said to have picked up his head (this would have been my move as well) and walked with the head 10 kilometers preaching a sermon the whole way. He was buried where he stopped preaching and died which became the site of the Basilica. Later his remains and relics were moved to reside under the high altar of the Saint-Denis.

Not only were kings buried in the Basilica, queens and other nobles also found their final rest there. Here we see the tombs of Lous XVI and Marie Antoinette.

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