On this post I will highlight the places we visited and the best things to see and best things to do in Paris, Day 3.
We woke up feeling refreshed and prepared for the last day in the City of Lights, and in France. After breakfast we headed to the tube station and in the direction of Montmartre, translating “Mount of Martyrs”. We got off at the Abbesses tube station.
We followed the signs to the funicular to take us to the top, but at some point, we got distracted and lost the way as we could not find the funicular station. We took the stairs to the summit instead.
Once at the top, there was not a big queue as we were expecting and the access to the church was very quick. It has been quite a few years since we last had been there, and I forgot how beautiful the Sacré-Coeur basilica is. The Great Mosaic of Christ in Glory, showing Jesus and the patrons of France is simply exquisite.
The basilica was designed by Paul Abadie, the same architect of the Perigueux Cathedral. The construction started in 1875 and it was only completed in 1914. Montmartre was chosen as the site for the basilica because of the height and views of the whole city. It was designed in a Romano-Byzantine style that was quite unusual at the time. It was built with a travertine limestone quarried in Seine-et-Marne, France, and it is of an exceptionally white colour. The stained glass is abundant in colour and there is a rose window that depicts the Sacred Heart of Christ. Various sculptures adorn the interior and there is also the Grand Organ built in 1898.
There is no fee to pay to visit the basilica, only a small fee is paid if you want to visit the dome and the crypt, which will cost about €8.
After leaving the basilica, we walked down in the direction of “Place du Tertre”. This square became famous when the Montmartre Bohème started to frequent it — mostly painters, songwriters, and poets. Nowadays the square is full of artists showcasing their art and offering to paint your portrait, either as a painting or caricature. Big names such as Pablo Picasso, Renoir, and Salvador Dali frequented the square, as it was the mecca of modern art at the time
We continued to explore the Montmartre area and going down the roads. We saw “Le Consulat,” a famous café/restaurant as we were going down. We passed at the place where there is a statue of a man coming through a wall. It is called “Le Passe-Muralle” translating “The Man Who Walked through Walls”. It is based on the short story by Marcel Aymé from 1941. It is an interesting story that can be read at Wikipedia if you are curious where this idea came from.
We also passed in front of the “Moulin de La Galette” on Rue Lepin. In this area, in the past, there used to have many windmills, because it was an area of farmlands. Nowadays, the windmills are mostly gone, and this is one of the few that survived. “Moulin de La Galette” now is a beautiful restaurant.
We then reached “La Maison Rose” (The Pink House), which has been a restaurant for centuries. It is a charming building and is famous because Picasso and other famous people used to eat there. However, there was a big queue to eat there and no tables available. It is a lovely typical French building and one of the most photographed places in Montmartre
We continued the descend and passed “Clos de Montmartre”, the last working vineyard in Paris. It only opens to the public for few short weeks of the year, for guided tour visitations only. The vineyard can still be admired and photographed from the outside, through the metal railings, even when not open for visitation.
Next, we followed the roads down until we reached the “Moulin Rouge”. By that time, we were hungry and decided to eat at a restaurant called “Rouge Bis” just opposite the “Moulin Rouge”. We just had some salads to keep us going until dinner time with our friends.
We have never been to a show at the “Moulin Rouge”, but I’ve heard that this is something that should not be missed when in Paris. Sadly, we were not able to make it this time either, but it’s certainly included in our plans for the next visit. However, if you feel like experiencing this famous and exciting attraction, you can book the show HERE. Also, book tickets in advance, as apparently shows are sold out weeks in advance.
After lunch we took the tube at Blanche station (also opposite the Moulin Rouge) and went to the “L’Atelier de Lumières”. We had tickets booked for 2 pm for this magical show of lights of the paints of Cezanne and Kandinsky.
I have mixed feelings about this show. Although the show is beautiful and enchanting, you have to stand throughout the whole session, unless you seat on the floor or in a few strategic places in the room. People walk in front of you, blocking your view and largely irritating you. You cannot appreciate the full experience because you are disturbed by some rude and inconsiderate people. This was my experience at the place, but the show itself is genius and worth seeing.
You can watch some of the show on my Instagram reel below.
Once the show was finished, we walked to “Pére Lachaise Cemetery”, about 15 minutes’ walk from the “L’Atelier des Lumières”.
“Pére Lachaise Cemetery” is the largest and the most famous in Paris. This is because many famous people are buried there: such as Chopin, Proust, Marceau, and many others.
The cemetery opened in 1804, but it was very far from the city, and only a few funerals inaugurated the place. To improve the popularity of the cemetery, they started transferring the remains of famous people there, starting with Jean de la Fontaine and Molière. More famous people were moved afterwards, and the cemetery started getting more interest and people started wanting to be buried among the famous people.
Nowadays, Pére Lachaise is still operating and accepting new burials, but there is a waiting list and some rules to follow to be allowed to be buried there.
It is a very big space, 44 hectares or 110 acres to be more precise. There are maps in certain parts of the cemetery showing where the tombs of the famous people are, which is a vast list.
We looked at the list and selected the ones we wanted to see, only a few, but they were all at opposite places and we had to walk a lot inside to get to all of them. It is not easy to navigate inside the cemetery as well. It is full of small lanes without name, and you get very confused with the signs. We managed to see the four tombs that we selected, which were: Alan Kardec’s (founder of the Spiritist Doutrine), Chopin, Oscar Wilde and Edith Piath.
We spent a good two hours inside and we managed to see only the four above. If you want to see more, you will need to spend at least half a day there.
As the cemetery is huge and a bit difficult to navigate alone, to save time I always advise to book a guided tour. You will get lots of information that you will not get if you go alone, and you will not waste time looking for the tombs as the guide will take you directly to the most important ones. Try this very good, guided tour as a group HERE, or if you prefer a private tour, have a look at this one HERE.
After leaving the cemetery, we sat at a café in front of the Pére Lachaise tube station and relaxed a little bit with some cold drinks before heading back to Châtillon.
As it was the last night with our friends, we went out again for dinner. We went to another restaurant in Châtillon called Le Castellio. It was brasserie style with very good food and a nice atmosphere. We enjoyed our dinner and our last night in France in the company of our friends. After dinner we returned to their flat to rest as next day we would have to pack and leave at around 11 o’clock to catch the Euro Tunnel back to the UK at 15:06.
We had a superb time in France. France is an enchanting country full of natural beauties and history to explore. Although we have been to many places there, we still have a lot to explore in France. We will certainly return in the future as travelling in France is a real pleasure.
Below you will find a list of what to visit, where to stay and where to eat in Paris, Day 3. I classified each place as follows:
BOLD – Visited, tried and recommended
NOT BOLD – Not visited or tried, but planning to visit or try and heard very good reviews
*** – Excellent
** – Good
* – OK
£££ – Expensive
££ – Fair and affordable
£ – Cheap
WHAT TO SEE IN PARIS – DAY 3
1 – Montmartre – ***
2 – Sacré-Coeur Basilica – ***
3 – Place du Tertre – ***
4 – Le Consulat – ***
5 – Le Passe-Muralle – ***
6 – Moulin de La Galette – ***
7 – La Maison Rose – ***
8 – Clos de Montmarftre – ***
9 – Moulin Rouge – ***
10 – L’Atelier de Lumiéres – ***
11 – Pére Lachaise Cemetery – ***
WHERE TO STAY IN PARIS DAY 3
1 – Hôtel Fabric – Paris – 4* – ££
2 – Hotel Abbatial Saint Germain – 3* – ££
3 – Hôtel Henri IV Rive Gauche – Paris – 3* – ££
4 – Les Jardins Du Luxembourg – Paris – 4* – £££
WHERE TO EAT IN PARIS DAY 3
1 – Le Castellio – Châtillon – *** – ££
3 – Mumi – Paris – £££
4 – Le Vent d’Armor – £££
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