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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

France 2010 - Day 2, Part 1 - Paris: Sacré-Cœur, Montmartre

"Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it's a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from." - Al Franken

***

France 2010
Day 2 - 4th October - Paris: Sacré-Cœur, Montmartre
(Part 1)

I realised that it'd been 27 months since I'd enjoyed nice weather, and that since 1999, the longest time I'd gone without nice weather was 17 months (2001-2002) and the second longest had been 12. I wonder how many air miles that is (I've never bothered signing up for a program).

Using Google Maps, I found that I had walked at least 8.6km the previous day.

It seems they don't announce stops in the métro anymore. I still have vivid memories of Franklin Roosevelt.

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"Peines encourues en cas d'agressions commises sur des agents des transports publics voyageurs"
("Penalties incurred in the case of aggression committed upon employees of public transport")

I like how the penalties are clearly divided by severity of offence: 15 years of réclusion criminelle for mutilation or permanent infirmity, 5 years of emprisonnement (less severe, and you may get to go to a different type of prison) and 75.000€ for incapacitating an employee for more than 8 days and so on. And somehow, swearing at an SNCF agent alone gets you half the penalty of doing it with others ("commis en réunion").

However, I prefer, as it is more poetic and concise:


"No assault on Bus Captain" (Source)

There're hoodies that read "I ♥ Paris". Unfortunately when the drawstrings hang them, they sometimes make the heart look like it's broken.

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"Une mutuelle à ce prix là ? C'est le moment, je pars à la retraite !"
("A retirement home* at this price? Now's the time for me to retire!")
* - it's more complicated than that, but nevermind

Ads like this must be why there were riots in October.

I had to pick up somebody from the railway station, so while waiting for that I went to Montmartre, on top of which is the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur (Sacred Heart)

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Anvers Métro exit, in Montmartre

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Why you shouldn't eat near Sacré-Cœur - a Croque Monsieur is 8€

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Sacré-Cœur

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The String Scam: what will happen is that people will come up to you and want to show you something. They will then tie a string on your hand and ask you for friendship money and/or money for the string. If you refuse a group of them (all big and burly like the original person and/or group) will come up and intimidate you. They tried approaching me but like this couple here I was wise to their tricks and ignored them. I was tempted to shout "Je m'en fous" at them, but maybe they'd call in their gang to beat me up.

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Further up on the way to Sacré-Cœur

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Dodgy goods on sale on La Butte

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Paris Panorama from Montmartre, at the foot of the last flight of stairs

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Paris Panorama

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Very reassuring soldiers

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Sacré-Cœur: Door and ceiling above the door

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I have no idea why anyone would want to come in after 11pm and pray. Maybe to escape the crowds.

Photography was still forbidden inside the Basilica, and I was too tired/injured to play camera games; now, even more so than in 2006, it is easy to find pictures online, so. In fact, there is a whole Wikimedia Commons category called "Interior of the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre". I still stand by my words on taking your own photos, though:

"photography frees me to seek my own angle and take on what I want to remember... even though I've found replacement pictures for some of my lost photos that sometimes exceed them in raw value, it is just not and can never be the same; the personal touch is important, for just as how a sex worker might be more skilled in the arts of the bedroom than your lover, nothing can beat the personal intimacy and familiarity which the latter affords."

The last time I had been inside it was during a service, so I didn't get to see much. Now I was able to appreciate it better, but after real Byzantine art, the faux-Byzantine was even more vulgar.

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View from the top of the top flight of stairs. Height is not everything.


Montmartre busking


Football tricks: this guy was quite good. Comme qu'il y avait trop beaucoup de gonzesses qui me bloquaient, il fallait cesser de filmer

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Spectacular tricks

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This guy one flight of stairs below was not so good (the ball fell off him). The lack of music did not endear the crowd to him either.

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"Bouchée aux crevettes"
("Plugged to the shrimps", i.e. Siu Mai)
I exchanged some words with the shop owner, who was PRC. He said he knew it was wrong but had paid a company in order to do it. This being in a row of Halal shops (this fact will become possibly significant later), I had a "Nêm aux porc" (the French for this was also wrong, but I suppose he couldn't blame the company for this one)

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This is cheap Japanese food

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"Au Rendez-vous des Artistes"
("At the meeting place of artists" - where artists go to get ripped off)

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Rue des Martyrs

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This apron cost 10€.
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