Saturday, February 6, 2010


Today, we had a walk around Montmartre with Sabrina (the language professor of the Group 2 kids). Montmartre is adorable - with the cobblestones, and the shops, and, of course, Sacré Coeur. The entire area is one of the oldest in Paris, and Sabrina told us a few cute stories. Here's one: the Bistro was invented there. Bistro is a Russian word that means "hurry up," so one day, Russians came in and said "bistro! bistro!" and they got served a very quick meal. Now, Bistro means a restaurant where you can get a quick meal. That's the restaurant: Maison Catherine. 

This is where they invented the term "Bistro" (see the above paragraph)

After walking around forever, we ended up getting to the basilica, Sacré Coeur. Interesting tidbit - it's built out of a special type of white stone (imported from Bretagne) that gets whiter over the years (I may have already known this, but I'm writing it here because it's still interesting). So, unlike the other churches in France (and believe me, there are a ton of them!), this one has only been cleaned twice since it was built (construction started in the 1800's, though the last stone wasn't set until the 1900's). 

These are two views of Sacre Coeur - front and back.

Climbing down from the basilica was annoying. There are guys who try to grab your wrist and put a bracelet on it and won't let you leave until you pay them for the bracelet. Sabrina told us to put our hands in our pockets and guard our purses on the way down because they apparently had a problem on the first group. They noticed that someone had his hand in one girl's pocket, but luckily, they saw him before he stole anything. The bracelet guys are just really annoying because they really come after you. I'm pretty sure everyone made it down sans bracelets. 

The trip ended at Moulin Rouge. Apparently, that area is full of prostitution, but it's not on the street anymore because a recent law made it illegal for prostitutes to be on the street. Sabrina said it's a dumb law, though, because they all just moved inside buildings.

This one is already labeled - Moulin Rouge.

And, that was pretty much it. The walking tour made me so tired, I'm just going to take a French shower (a.k.a. bath), and go to bed. Tomorrow's blog entry should be interesting - we're going to Le Marais, which, as my host father told me, is the Jewish and gay quarter. They're either Jewish or gay, but typically not both, he said. Alexandra's coming too, because Michel (the methodology professor) is also her professor with the BU program. We're thinking he'll be surprised to see her! 

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