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Europe

The European continent was named after beautiful Phoenician woman called Europa.

Europe

When Zeus have seen Agenor's daughter Europa gathering flowers he immediately fell in love with her.

The Places in Paris I like to visit

With about 42 million tourists annually in the city and its suburbs, Paris is the most visited city in the world. The city and its region contain 3,800 historical monuments and four UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is of not surprise that I also like to visit Paris and each time I am there I can find new places that I have no seen yet and that I find attractive. Let show me a few of them.

Montmartre and Basilique du Sacré Cœur

Montmartre is a hill which is 129 meters high, giving its name to the surrounding district, in the north of Paris in the 18th arrondissement, a part of the Right Bank. Montmartre is primarily known for the white-domed Basilica of the Sacré Cœur on its summit and as a nightclub district. The other, older, church on the hill is Saint Pierre de Montmartre, which claims to be the location at which the Jesuit order of priests was founded.

Many artists had studios or worked around the community of Montmartre such as Salvador Dalí, Amedeo Modigliani, Claude Monet, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh. Montmartre is also the setting for several hit films. This site is served by metro line 2 stations of Anvers, Pigalle and Blanche and the line 12 stations of Pigalle, Abbesses, Lamarck - Caulaincourt and Jules Joffrin.

Montmartre

The Montmartre hill's religious symbolism is thought to extend into prehistorical times, as it has been suggested as a likely holy place because it is the highest point in the area. No archeological evidence supports the claim. During 1590 Siege of Paris, part of the French Wars of Religion, the hills at Montmartre were used by Henry IV to place his artillery where they could fire down into the city.

Street leading to Montmartre On the stairs to Montmartre
Almost on the top of Montmartre The top of Montmartre

The siege eventually failed when a large relief force approached and forced Henry to withdraw. In the 18th and 19th centuries, there were a number of gypsum mines in Montmartre. See Mines of Paris. A fossil tooth found in one of these was identified by Georges Cuvier as an extinct horse, which he dubbed Palaeotherium, the "ancient animal". His sketch of the entire animal in 1825 was matched by a skeleton discovered later.

Market at Montmartre Artists selling their paintings on Montmartre
Restaurants on Montmartre Life at Montmartre

Russians occupied Montmartre when invading Paris in the course of the Battle of Paris in 1814. They used the altitude of the hill for artillery bombardment of the city. There is a memorial sign on one of the restaurants on Montmartre that says: On 30 March 1814 - here the Cossacks first launched their famous "Bistro" and thus on this summit occurred the worthy Ancestor of our Bistros.

Wine selling on Montmartre Drinking place on Montmartre
Other drinking places on Montmartre Small streets of Montmartre

Since Montmartre was outside the city limits, free of Paris taxes and no doubt also due to the fact that the local nuns made wine, the hill quickly became a popular drinking area. The area developed into a centre of free-wheeling and decadent entertainment at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. In the popular cabaret the Moulin Rouge, and at Le Chat Noir, artists, singers and performers regularly appeared. When Napoleon III and his city planner Baron Haussmann planned to make Paris the most beautiful city in Europe, a first step was to grant large sweeps of land near the centre of the city to Haussmann's friends and financial supporters. This drove the original inhabitants to the edges of the city to the districts of Clichy, La Villette, and the hill with a view of the city, Montmartre.

Moulin Rouge

Downhill to the southwest is the red-light district of Pigalle. That area is, today, largely known for a wide variety of stores specializing in instruments for rock music. There are also several concert halls, also used for rock music. The actual Moulin Rouge theatre is also in Pigalle, next to Blanche métro station.

Basilique du Sacré Cœur

The Basilique du Sacré Cœur of Paris is a Roman Catholic Church and minor basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Paris, France. A popular landmark, the basilica is located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city. Sacré-Cœur is a double monument, political and cultural, both a national penance for the supposed excesses of the Second Empire and socialist Paris Commune of 1871 crowning its most rebellious neighborhood, and an embodiment of conservative moral order. It is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was an increasingly popular vision of a loving and sympathetic Christ.

Basilque Sacre Coeur 1 Basilque Sacre Coeur Horses
Basilque Sacre Coeur side Basilque Sacre Coeur Grazynka

The inspiration for Sacré Cœur's design originated in the wake of the division in French society that arose in the decades following the French Revolution, between devout Catholics and legitimist royalists on one side, and democrats, secularists, socialists and radicals on the other. This schism became particularly pronounced after the Franco-Prussian War and the ensuing uprising of the Paris Commune of 1870-71. Though today the Basilica is asserted to be dedicated in honor of the 58,000 who lost their lives during the war, the decree of the Assemblée nationale, 24 July 1873, responding to a request by the archbishop of Paris by voting its construction specifies that it is to "expiate the crimes of the Commune". Montmartre had been the site of the Commune's first insurrection.

Basilique Sacre Coeur back side Basilique Sacre Coeur view from narrow street
Basilique Sacre Coeur Main door Basilique Sacre Coeur View from Basilique

A law of public utility was passed to seize land at the summit of Montmartre for the construction of the basilica. Architect Paul Abadie designed the basilica after winning a competition over 77 other architects. With delays in assembling the property, the foundation stone was finally laid 16 June 1875. Passionate debates concerning the Basilica were raised in the Conseil Municipal in 1880, where the Basilica was called "an incessant provocation to civil war" and it was debated whether to rescind the law of 1873 granting property rights, an impracticable proposition. The matter reached the Chamber of Deputies in the summer of 1882, in which the Basilica was defended by Archbishop Guibert while Georges Clemenceau argued that it sought to stigmatize the Revolution.

Christus mosaik in Sacre Coeur Sacre Coeur view general Basilique Sacre Coeur inside

From the left, Stations 1 & 2 of the Way of the Cross, General view on Basilique Sacre Coeur, Inside the Basilique Sacre Coeur

Sacré-Cœur is built of travertine stone quarried in Château-Landon of Seine-et-Marne, France. This stone constantly exudes calcite, which ensures that the basilica remains white even with weathering and pollution. A mosaic in the apse, entitled Christ in Majesty, is among the largest in the world. The basilica complex includes a garden for meditation, with a fountain. The top of the dome is open to tourists and affords a spectacular panoramic view of the city of Paris, which is mostly to the south of the basilica. The use of cameras and video recorders is forbidden inside the Basilica.

Orgels at Sacre Coeur Christus above the main altar

Left, Cavaillé-Coll orgels at Sacre Coeur, right, mosaic of Jesus with open hart above the main altar

The basilica is home to a large and very fine pipe organ built by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll for a private home in Biarritz, composed of 109 ranks and 78 speaking stops spread across four 61-note manuals and the 32-note pedal-board, spread across three expressive. The organ was ahead of its time, containing multiple expressive divisions and giving the performer considerable advantages over other even larger instruments of the day.