Return to International Travel – Introduction
Review: SWISS A340-300 ORD-ZRH and Marhaba Lounge ZRH
Lodging Review: Sina Villa Medici, Florence, Italy
Our Time In Florence, Part 1
Our Time In Florence, Part 2
Lodging Review: Park Hyatt Vendome, Paris, France
Our Time In Paris, Part 1 (Louvre, Sainte-Chappelle, Arc, Eiffel Tower)
Our Time In Paris, Part 2 (Versailles)
Our Time In Paris, Part 3 (Catacombs, Musee d’Orsay)
Viking Kari and an Afternoon in Montmartre
Our Time in La Roche-Guyon and Vernon/Giverny
Our Time on the Normandy Beaches
Our Time in Les Andelys and Le Pecq
Lodging Review: Renaissance Republique, Paris, France
Review: Air France A350 CDG-ORD
In Paris, Viking ships dock at Port du Grenelle on the Seine River, just southwest of the Eiffel Tower. It is in the section of the river that is divided by the Isle of Swans (Ile aux Cygnes). To reach it by car, take the Rue de Boulanvilliers and turn on Port du Grenelle such that both the river and the island are on your left. The Viking port is just at the end of the ramp.
This is a very easy-to-reach port and you’re still within walking distance of the metro and other commercial enterprises so if you want to get out and explore the city on your own it’s easy to do so.
We found the Viking Kari docked right against the shore and were immediately assisted with our luggage while we went on board to check in.
As I’ve reviewed two Viking European longships before, I won’t go into detail here because it was identical to the Bestla and practically identical to the Njord, though without that see-through shower wall!
But with it being identical it made it very easy for us to know where to find things and we had a familiar routine we fell into, which was just the way we liked it. Even though we’d specified twin beds in the room, we found they were joined into a king when we arrived. But we went ahead and unpacked and when the staff came by for turndown service they split the beds for us as promised.
Other Stops in Paris
After having lunch on the boat we met with our local guide for a tour of Montmartre. This was an optional Viking excursion and it also included a drive through the city. Much of the driving tour included places we’d already visited but we did drive by Napoleon’s tomb.
The building was originally commissioned by Louis XIV in 1677 but Napoleon turned it into a pantheon of military glory. In 1840 King Louis-Phillippe had Napoleon’s remains moved from Saint Helena Island to the building but because the imperial tomb was so large, further excavation work had to be done.
Napoleon is buried in four coffins, one inside the other: tin, wood, led and mahogany. The sarcophagus is purple quartzite and it rests on a base of green granite. I would like to go inside for a visit next time.
We also drove by the Sorbonne building, which once housed the University of Paris but is now shared by several universities.
Montmartre is the name of the large hill in the Paris region and its name extends to the neighborhoods around it. It’s know for its churches as well as its nightclubs. Back during the time of the Impressionists it was a place of gathering for many of them. Our motorcoach dropped us at the bottom of the hill where we took a gondola lift up the hill. From there we walked up a bit further to Sacre Coeur.
While construction of this basilica began in 1875, it took forty years to complete. Due to World War I it was not consecrated until 1919.
The giant mural over the choir area is called The Triumph of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It’s a mosaic of over 25,000 enameled and gilded pieces of ceramic.
Saint-Pierre de Montmartre
This is the second-oldest church in Paris. It began in 1133 as the church for the Montmartre Abbey, which was destroyed in the French Revolution, and afterwards largely abandoned. The tower was rebuilt in 1794 to assist in sending messages via line of sight. It was finally restored at the turn of the 20th century.
Le Consulat and La Bonne Franquette
Le Consulat is a charming coffee house has been around for at least a couple of centuries. In the 19th century it’s where Picasso, Sisley, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Latrec and Monet (among others) gathered.
Across the street from Le Consulat is the historic La Bonne Franquette. It’s over four centuries old and its motto is “Love, eat, drink, and sing”. It also welcomed its fair share of regulars including Monet, Cezanne, Sisley, Renoir, Toulouse-Latrec and Van Gogh. The latter painted “Terrace of a Cafre on Montmartre” here; it is now on display in the Musee d’Orsay.
I like how the two venues have their “competition lists” of which artists frequented which establishment!
Charming Neighborhood and Windmills!
Montmartre is filled with tiny streets, car-free zones, cafes and all sorts of entertainment. It was lovely to walk through the area and look around.
We came across several windmills as we walked from the top of the hill down to our metro stop. The word for windmill in French is “moulin”.
And at the bottom of the hill was perhaps the most famous moulin of all, where the can-can was invented!
In the end
Montmartre is a charming district and the Sacre Coeur is a place not to be missed. I’d be happy to revisit when I can spend more than an afternoon in the area.