The weather in Paris has been uncharacteristically cold over the past week and rainy for the most part. So I’ve been waiting for a sunny/clear day to head up to Montmartre to see the Sacre Coeur. Apparently the look out from the top of the dome gives you a wonderful view of the city of Paris. The area of Montmartre is located on a hill which also happens to be the highest point in Paris. I knew that the church was built on the top of a hill but I didn’t realize just how hilly the neighbourhood was. One thing that I’ve noticed is that there aren’t a lot of escalators in the subway (and even fewer elevators). I really should have clued in when I got off at Abbesses station and walked past a bunch of people who filed into the elevator.
There is a reason why Abbesses has an elevator – it’s because the station is situated very deep underground. So in order to exit the station you can either take the elevator or walk up a spiral staircase consisting of 90 steps (there is even a sign at the bottom informing you of this – how thoughtful). I didn’t mind the 90 steps (it’s really deceiving how many steps there are because you can’t see all the steps because it spirals around) but I did choose to take the funicular up to the base of the Sacre Coeur once I was at street level. However, to get to the dome of the Sacre Coeur, you have to climb another 300 steps (there is a sign – again, how thoughtful)!
However, the lookout at the top was well worth the hike. It was a nice sunny day and the view was amazing! However, my legs now feel like jello and ever since my visit to Montmartre, every time I see stairs in the subway I let out a small whimper. There are stairs everywhere! I even started counting them. Each staircase in the metro consists of around 20 steps. There are stairs to get into the station and stairs to get onto the platform. So each time someone takes the subway, they have to climb 40-50 stairs to get into the station and onto the platform, and the same to get out. That’s around 100 stairs for each subway ride. And there are no escalators! Your only option is to take the stairs (it really is a good form of exercise). And this is one of the reasons why I think the French don’t get fat.
So between hiking up the Arc de Triomphe, the towers at Notre Dame Cathedral and the dome of the Sacre Coeur, plus all the stairs in the subway, I must have climbed at least 2000 stairs within the past week. I don’t think I’ve ever climbed so many stairs within a one week period as I have in Paris in my entire life. This city is kicking my butt!
The view points at the top of these places make it all worth it though.