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Cowboy1968 May 14th, 2010 01:23 AM

Haven't been up there at night, but I always liked to watch the sun rise over Paris in the early morning hours (if for some odd reason I should already or still be up around 6am).
It can look quite magical when the greyish haze gets colored by the rising sun. No souvenir vendors or other nerving people up there at those hours. And then stroll through Montparnasse and watch the city wake up, street cleaners hosing down the cobblestone streets, grab a croissant from a small bakery, and see people running to catch the metro at Abbesses...

PatrickLondon May 14th, 2010 06:38 AM

Montmartre, I think you mean, Cowboy.

Cowboy1968 May 14th, 2010 07:51 AM

Thanks Patrick, Montmartre indeed.
I am not THAT good at hiking at 6 in the morning to go from the butte to Montparnasse :-)

Christina May 14th, 2010 09:27 AM

I stay in Montparnasse a lot, around the Tour Montparnasse is not remotely close to the atmosphere around Sacre Coeur. Really, places are different, everyplace is not the same.

I've never been up there at night, but it never occurred to me to even want to go up there at night. So I don't see why one would even do that in the first place. I wouldn't go up there at night on my first day in Paris, just seems a bad idea.

kerouac May 14th, 2010 10:22 AM

Montmartre can be magical at night. Particularly at Christmas when rue Lepic and rue des Abbesses are strung with the little blue miniature lights, it ups the ante to breathtaking. The traditional areas like Saint Germain or the Marais pale by comparison for the evening ambience.

annhig May 14th, 2010 10:58 AM

Hi calli,

I must be getting short-sighted as we were at Montmatre a few weeks ago and not only was i not approached by people wanting to tie bracelets round my wrist, I didn't even see them. but we were there in the day, where the most worrying thing was the living statue that kept moving..scarey.

but i agree it's not the place for a first night. why not get a boat along the seine [very safe] look at Notre dame and the Eiffel tower all lit up, and then have a nice meal in st. germain? also, remember that the louvre, the grand palais [exhibitions] and many of the department stores stay open quite late on some nights - they might make good places to go on your own.

Michel_Paris May 14th, 2010 11:20 AM

I think I agree with the above who suggest that there are better places to go on a first night: Seine cruise, Pont des Arts, walk along Seine, Champs Elysee/Arc, Eiffel tower,etc...

SusanP May 14th, 2010 01:03 PM

I don't understand why you're even considering going there on your first night if you're worried about it. Take the above suggestions and explore the area around your hotel. I've been up to Sacre Coeur several times, always during the day, and have never even seen the scammers. I think it's better to go there during the day anyway, especially a nice day with the blue ski behind Sacre Coeur...beautiful!

Adoc86 May 14th, 2010 01:21 PM

The last time I went to the Sacre Coeur (2005) it was just my stepsister and I, and we were 17 and 19 years old, respectively. We traveled to several countries in Europe on our own and I didn't feel that the Sacre Coeur was dangerous at all. I think that there are scammers in all cities, so its just something to watch out for in general. But overall if you're aware of your surroundings and don't stray too far when you're by yourself then you should be ok. There are tons of tourists there and the view is gorgeous. I felt that there were far more sketchy places in France than this area. However, I don't know that I would go walking anywhere alone at night in many areas of Europe, or even the US these days!- as a young woman. So it really depends on exactly what time you'd be in the area and if it will be dark. I would agree with everyone else and say to save it for a daytime trip.

kerouac May 14th, 2010 01:27 PM

Regarding those who would only go during the day, the view at night is magical. The city is calm and luminous. Even if only for a few minutes, everybody should see the night view from the top of the steps.

cathies May 16th, 2010 03:35 AM

kerouac, you need to go there with a camera in one hand a a Paris guide book in the other. I'm sure you'll meet up with the bracelet guys then! Oh, just realised you often take your camera places, as I thoroughly enjoyed your photographic essays. May a fold out map would do the trick??

I forget which metro stop is the one that takes you straight up the hill to Sacre Couer? Once I got off a different stop and found myself passing lots of fabric shops and a couple of car workshops, which was fine as I was with my husband, but might be a bit scary for a single female.

cathies May 16th, 2010 04:35 AM

oops I meant to spell it coeur.

emily71 May 16th, 2010 05:43 AM

I keep missing all the scams in Paris, I've never been approached by the bracelet men. I hve noticed there are more "gypsys" around the tourists attractions such as the Eiffel Tower. Most of the time, they are persistant, but not dangerous.

I have been approached by women around the Tower ask if someone speaks English(you can usually tell the scam artists).I've found the best option is to use my Spanish or French and scowl at them. 9 times out of 10, it works like a charm and they will move on to friendlier American prey.

I've noticed that the most naive tourists are the 20-something American women, who are too nice to shoo the scam artists away. I've seen them spend 20 mins. trying to extricate themselves away from these overzealous vendors. Just don't make eye contact and a gruff "no" or "nein" usually does the trick.

The obnoxious vendors selling trinkets by the attractions are the biggest nuisiance for me and it seems to have increased in recent years. I don't mind people calling out to buy their goods but we had a man literly block our path and insist we buy his stuff. I don't see why the Parisian authorities can't clamp down on them.

kerouac May 16th, 2010 07:36 AM

Cathies, having my camera out so much of the time attracts only the gypsy girls, none of the others. I just make an irritated gypsy hissing sound and they back off instantly. No words required.

RainyDay09 May 17th, 2010 07:44 PM

The metro stop for going straight to Sacre Coeur is Anvers.

Aduchamp1 May 17th, 2010 08:39 PM

Last time I was near Sacre Coeur, I was approached in the middle of the afternoon by a hooker with gold teeth. I guess I looked very lonely.

analogue May 17th, 2010 11:39 PM

Sacre Coeur is much better at night than during the day.

kappa1 May 18th, 2010 01:44 AM

It's a fun place, that area ! Once on one isolated street on the way up, I was greeted by 2 transvestite hookers (barazilian or other south americans ? I thought), one sunday morning.

isabel May 18th, 2010 02:33 AM

I've been to Montmartre (which is where Sacre Coeur is located, at least one post above seemed to indicate they were two separate places) both day and evening and felt totally safe. It's full of tourists. But it's beautiful. My daughter (early 20s) lives in the 18th and goes there all the time in the early evening for the great view. The advice people have given you may actually relate more to Pigale, an area below Montmartre which can be sketcy. Even if you don't go your first night try to get there some evening.

Here's a shot of it early evening in December -
And here's one of the view from there:

ter2000 May 18th, 2010 02:45 AM

If you're nervous then don't go there in the evening. Even if nothing happens to you, you'll still be jumpy and this will be compounded by jetlag. I think the idea of a boat trip along the Seine is a marvellous idea for your first evening in Paris - then you'll get a "preview" of a lot of the main sights and where they are in relation to each other, plus you can just relax and let Paris unroll in front of you.

I always approach Sacre Coeur from Abessess Metro station - that way you avoid the funicular, where some of the scammers seem to hang out, plus get to see the quaint streets of "real" Montmartre.

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