Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sacre Coeur

The church was pretty and unique and nice, but it wasn't until we actually got up close and realized how enormous it was that we began to truly appreciate it. This thing is massive! It was built starting in the late 1800's after some nasty wars made the people of Paris feel guilty about all the lives lost. The thought was that this huge church on pretty much the only hill around would be visible city-wide and remind people of those who had died, and show the Parisiens' faith that the city/country would endure and would become great again. It took a very long time to build, and was paid for by the people of France--you could purchase a brick or maybe a column if you were rich. For extra money, you could have your name on a brick; for the poor--you could by a non-visible brick. The church is made of travertine, which constantly exudes calcite, which keeps the stone white even with all the pollution.

We walked around this church, and enjoyed the scammers at the top of the steps--people will come up to a tourist, and ask them to hold out a finger, to 'help' them. The idiotic tourist complies, and the scammer quickly weaves a 'friendship bracelet', like we used to make out of embroidery floss when we were kids. As they finish, they tie it quickly around the tourist's wrist, then demand payment for it. You can't remove the bracelet since it is tied on, so you can't give it back. They can get pretty agitated if you refuse to pay, too. We saw a dozen or so of these guys all working in the exact same place, with a horde of idiots holding out fingers. It was comical, to me.

Anyway. We saw the church (outside only), then walked back down toward the metro stop. We found a lovely French restaurant and had some beer and wine, then headed back to our hotel.

View of Paris from Sacre Coeur

1 comment:

Mama-Beans said...

I'd totally keep the free gifted bracelet. No way am I giving in to the scam and paying! Did you get one?