Sacre Coeur, Paris

This is the view looking up from the base of the Butte, before we tackled the 220 steps to the top.

The building stays this blinding white despite the pollution because every time it rains there is a chemical reaction with the rainwater and the stone secretes calcite and this naturally bleaches the outside.

You can see quite how high we are here; this is the highest natural point in Paris, some 130m up. The Butte is a natural hill and it seems strange that Sacre Coeur was the first major building to be eretced on the very top, though in all probability it was not. There is strong evidence that the Romans had a temple to Mars up here, though the exact location is unknown. For those who can’t face the steps, there is a funicular railway that takes the strain, though it has to be the shortest journey you can take on a Metro ticket.

I wasn’t able to take any photos inside Sacre Coeur so if you ever go, do go inside. The interior is as lovely as the exterior.

Next: the artists’ square at Montmartre and the man who I saved from being run over…..