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Ten things to do in Paris - Attractions in Paris, France - Part 2
- Ten things to do in Paris - Part 1
Go back to the first of three hubs about the ten things you should see in Paris
The Sacré-Coeur and Montmartre
The Basilique du Sacré-Coeur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart) is a Roman Catholic Church dedicated to the sacred heart of Jesus. The church is located at the top of the butte Montmartre, a hill in the north of Paris. The Basilica has been built between 1875 and 1914 and is known from the view over the city from its dome, which is open for public.
The surrounding district is named after the Montmartre hill and is known as the artistic district of Paris. Many artists, such as Dalí, Monet, Picasso and Van Gogh worked in Montmartre and even today it is not uncommon to see people sitting at one of the many staircases, playing music, singing and drinking a bottle of wine. Local painters gather at Place du Tertre to sell their paintings or make drawings of tourists (which is, for my taste, a little too touristy).
When you’re in Montmartre, be sure to taste the best baguette in entire Paris for just €0.90 (about US$1.25). The little boulangerie (bakery) is located on the Rue des Abbesses, between metro station Abbesses (with a merry-go-round at the exit) and the intersection with the Rue Houdon.
The Cimetière de Montmartre lies on the west side of Montmartre and is situated below street-level, in an old quarry. Many, some famous, artists from the Montmartre district are buried here, as well as others such as Ampère (namesake of the electrical unit), Sax (inventor of the saxophone) and Émile Zola (famous French writer, whose body was later moved to the Panthéon). However, if these names mean nothing to you, the cemetery is still something you should see. With most graves having little chapels on top of them, it is almost as if you’re walking through a city of the dead.
The Notre Dame
The Notre Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris) is a cathedral located on the eastern end of the Île de la Cité. It has become widely known through the Victor Hugo novel ‘The Hunchback of the Notre Dame’ and the Disney adaptation of this novel.
This beautiful Gothic cathedral, located in the medieval center of Paris, was built between 1163 and 1345 on the remains of another cathedral dating back to the 4th century.
The both unfinished towers of the Notre Dame are 69 meters (226 feet) and are accessible for the public. From there, you have a nice view over the city of Paris and you can see the Gargoyles that are featured in 'The Hunchback of the Notre Dame'.
The cathedral is one of the first buildings in the world to use flying buttresses for support.
The Musée du Louvre (Louvre Museum) is the most visited art museum in the world, as well as one of the largest and one of the most well known museums. The museum is housed in the Palais du Louvre (Louvre Palace), which dates back to the 12th century and has been used as royal palace until Louis XIV decided to move his household to Versailles in 1682. The Musée du Louvre first opened in 1783, displaying 537 paintings. In the present day, it contains more than 380,000 objects, of which 35,000 are on display. By far the most popular object in the Louvre Museum is the Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci.
The Louvre Pyramid was built in the late 1980s to serve as main entrance to the museum, as the original entrance could no longer handle the vast number of visitors. Via the pyramid, one descends into a large lobby from where the main Louvre buildings can be accessed. The futuristic look of the pyramid triggered some controversy, but it has now become one of the landmarks of Paris. The Louvre Pyramid played a crucial role in the Dan Brown novel The Da Vinci Code and the film based thereon, although it most certainly does not consist of 666 glass panes; there are actually 673.