In December 1870 following the military defeat of France by Prussia, a project began to build a church in Paris dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as a sign of penitence, trust, hope and faith. ~ Sacre Coeur-montmartre.com
Click on the image below to enjoy a panoramic view and more detailed facts about Sacre Coeur:
Sacre Coeur Basilica, perched atop the hill of Montmartre, was opened just after World War I.
View of Paris from the front steps of the basilica
Not being well versed in French and since we are farmers, the term sack -a-corn helps us remember the name. Whatever works, right?
Small spiral staircase with many, many steps up to the viewing level, but oh, so worth it!
Beggars grace the steps to hit up tourists entering…
Mini Eiffel Tower vendors are set up in front of the Basilica with their products on small blankets or towels to allow a quick exit since their activities and products are illegal. Kind of a cat and mouse game with law enforcement.
According to Reuters, reported July of 2013, Paris police seized 60 tons of miniature Eiffel Towers that black-market vendors were hoping to sell to tourists. Chinese gangs, many based in the east of Paris, import the trinkets from China before selling them to other groups who control the sellers. These vendors are not paying tax on their sales and are taking business away from authorized vendors. This report also states that police are hindered by the inability of over-stretched courts to prosecute the waves of illegal sellers, many of whom come from Senegal (a country in West Africa) and India. (It makes me wonder how much money is transferred “under the table” to encourage authorities to look the other way or not prosecute)
Bracelet Men or String Men also work a scam aggressively trying to tie small string bracelets onto wrists or fingers and then demand large payments for the item. Non, merci, keep hands down and just keep walking.
A small group of string men are lined up along the steps as we exit. We proceed down and our happy-go-lucky son has been targeted as a man attempts to tie a string to his wrist. Mama and Sister Lion quickly jump into attack mode and shoo the man away with a stern “NO” and smack the offending hand away before any damage is done.
We are wise to your ways... Don’t mess with us!
For more information about scams in Paris check out the links below or just search “Paris scams” and you will find plenty of information and recounts of personal experiences.
As we leave Sacre Coeur we hear sweet melodies floating through the air. No scam here, just a talented street musician doing his thing.