Sunday, June 26, 2011

Farewell Dinner and Sacre-Coeur, Montmartre

After a short rest in the hotel, we were out again at 5pm for our final optional item of our Cosmos Tour which is the farewell dinner at Latin Quarters and a visit to Sacre-Coeur, Montmartre.

On our way to the dinner, we had a few photo stops. First was in front of the Dome Church that houses the Tomb of Napoleon. This is at the back of the Hotel des Invalides.

We then drove through the Latin Quarter and stopped near the Pantheon where many great names of Paris are buried.

The Church of St. Etienne du Mont is also nearby.

After some photography, we walked to our dining place nearby. This was the restaurant L'Escarmouche that serves traditional French food.

The place was packed with other tour groups and as usual there were the musicians (guitar and accordion) that play all your favourite tunes for some tips at the end of the night. It was a full 4 course dinner with free flow of drinks (wine, beer, coke, etc.). For the starter, I tried the frog legs.

This was a novelty for some of our fellow tour members but I found this rather bland and skinny, nothing like our juicy, meaty ones back home.

My wife had the escargots in garlic and this was also nothing to shout about, the ones that I would be having in my last dinner in Paris were great; more about it in my later post.

For the main dish, I opted for the pawns in cognac - quite OK compared to the frog legs.

My wife had the stew beef but the one we had in Nice was nicer, pun not intended.

We skipped the cheese board and for desert, we had profiteroles, now one of my favourite French desserts. This is pastry balls filled with ice-cream and covered with chocolate sauce; yummy! The presentation in our final dinner in Paris would turn out to be much better.

So after many songs and glasses of wine, we were ready to go to Montmartre to visit the famous Sacre-Coeur. On the way to the foot of the funicular railway, we walked passed many souvenir shops.

The Sacre-Coeur soon appear into view.

Near the foot of the funicular railway was the carousel which fans of the movie Amelia will surely remember.

The ride on the funicular cost 1 Metro ticket or you can also walk up the stairs by the side for free to burn off your calories from the dinner.

At the top there are more souvenirs shops, eateries and portraits artists but the main attraction is the Sacre-Coeur.

It was here that I had a mini crisis, something that you dread while travelling - my wife had a stomach upset and she needed the toilet, fast. Since we did not see any public toilet nearby, we went to the nearest cafe and ordered a drink while she went to the toilet. After her big relief, my drink has still not come so I cancelled my order. She told me that here you need to get a token from the cafe counter as a customer in order to get the door of the toilet opened. Anyway, the slow service saved me the cost of the drink.

Since the Sacre-Coeur is sitting on a hill, you will get a good view of Paris below from the steps in front but I could not find the Eiffel Tower.

After satisfying ourselves with Paris at our feet and the changing hue of the Sacre-Coeur as night drew near,

we took the funicular down and there was another chance of getting your souvenirs.

We finally caught the Cosmos bus back to the hotel for the last night of the Cosmos Tour.

Ronald Kwok

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