Sacre Coeur Basilica and hillside artist colony shot from a nearby rooftop in Montmartre . The Montmartre hillside artist colony was a starting ground for a long list of painters: including Vincent van Gogh, Salvador Dalí, Claude Monet, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, Camille Pissarro. and Amedeo Modigliani to name small sample..., This history and the stunning architecture make this on of the most visited attractions in Paris - JohnBrody.com / John Brody Photography
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Sacre Coeur Basilica, Paris, France - One of the most popular (and photographed) destinations in Paris. It's usually swarming with people, but it's worth it because it's a terrific mix of architecture, nature, religion and the arts. I also like to visit because it's on the hill in Montmartre, an artist colony where many struggling artists had studios. These included Salvador Dalí, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Pablo Picasso.
Warning! - Potentially Boring Story! - The morning I shot this photo, I had looked out the window of my hotel room and saw Paris was exceptionally beautiful with clear skies full of puffy clouds, and knew I had to go out shooting. I hadn't yet been to Sacre Coeur or the adjacent Artist Colony that trip, so I headed for the metro. On the trip I met a very sweet French woman also heading to Montmartre and Sacre Coeur. We hit it off and talked (as much as possible with her moderate English and my zero French) about photography and her work as a clothing designer. When we got out at the subway stop near the Basilica, she was trying to tell me something, but with my language handicap, I couldn't understand. I finally waved, smiled and started to walk away. She literally grabbed me by my shirt and dragged me in a direction away from my destination - I gave in and followed... she obviously knew something I didn't.
A couple blocks and a few elevators later, she walked me though her office space in a high-rise that was like a vertical 'garment-district' and out on to a rooftop patio that had a stunning 180 degree view of Montmartre Hill, the centerpiece being Sacre Coeur directly in front of me. At least 99% of all photos of Sacre Coeurs Basilica are shot looking up because there are virtually no vantage points except private buildings that have elevated access to view and shoot the Sacre Coeur; this kind woman had given me that access. She saw my pleased look, gave me a hug, waved me out onto the patio and disappeared to get on with running her business. A couple hours and lots of photos later, I found her, thanked her again hugely, and got another hug... Whoever started that rumor that the French are unfriendly or arrogant experienced a different France than I have during my visits. Kindness like this ladys' is common and I've had nothing but good experiences.
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