So when I initially go to a new place I have to visit the "essential" main attractions first. In part to get them out of the way so I can explore the "real" city at hand and also to make me actually realize where the hell I am. Enter Sacré Cœur.
Teaming with tourists, you at least don't feel lame taking a million photos and acting like the tourist you really are. At least for me that's how I feel; especially in non touristy areas.
Be prepared for many guys aggressively trying to put bracelets on you and then charging you for it. Do NOT sign the petitions for the poor children or poor women here. It's a scam and you'll likely lose your wallet or phone while you sign. Other than that it's beautiful.
You can either take the 10 million stairs (I thought I was in better shape than I am... instead I opted for multiple pretend "take in the view" stops so my legs would stop burning) or you can take a lift up the side of the hill. Better yet, start at the top at one of the metro stops.
Try and go on a clear day, but even if you can't, the view is unreal. Pictures really don't do it justice. You can literally see all of Paris from the top.
Inside la Basilique du Sacré Cœur isn't any less spectacular as you would hope it to be. Every angle of intricate details could take years to really see and appreciate it all. Some people come to pray, some to read the historical facts laid out, and (as in my case) some come to simply admire. You can pay to climb even further to the top dome of the church. I didn't on this day but I can only imagine how even more spectacular the views would be.
Just behind the church is Montmartre. A quintessential European/ Parisian cobble street area of Paris. It's full of tourists but it doesn't lose any of its charm. If you are in need of an ego boost take a stroll down the street just behind Sacré Cœur. Elderly French men will tell you how beautiful you are in hopes you'll let them paint your picture. Wander throughout the streets here and take it all in. From the vine encased buildings to the French delicacies on display to the one of a kind art being sold by local painters OR perhaps stop for a glass of wine at one of the tables outside the many little cafes.
Whatever you choose to do, you really can't go wrong. I really love this area and plan to explore it in much more detail....I'll report back. Xx