As the sun goes down on Saturday evening, you should definitely make your way to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Paris. You can’t buy the things you’ll experience here for all the money in the world!
Let’s be honest Paris doesn’t really make a great impression on anyone. The City is loud, rather busy and a lot of its corners aren’t especially beautiful. If you only have a few hours for sightseeing, you’ll see the typical tourist programme. Climb the Eiffel Tower, take photos then head off to the Louvre and see the Mona Lisa. Afterwards, take a look at Notre Dame maybe with a crêpe in your hand. Cross the huge metropolis with your selfie stick and phone always at the ready.
This doesn’t have to be a bad thing but if you don’t have enough time to see Paris properly, you’ll definitely miss the most beautiful experiences. I had one of these experiences on my last trip to Paris. I’m really happy that I escaped the hectic hustle and bustle and truly fell in love with Paris.
You can’t plan the most beautiful moments
One of the many highlights of every city break in Paris is a visit to Montmartre, the artists’ quarter. Here, you can wander through the pretty cobblestone streets, which wind their way up to the impressive Basilica du Sacré Cœur. Once you’ve arrived at the top of the hill, you have an unbelievable view over the city to look forward to. The huge metropolis lies at your feet. For me, the white cathedral is the perfect goal on a Saturday afternoon. As with all tourist hotspots, it is relatively busy all the time. People sit together on the steps and take a small break after the climb up to the Basilica. It’s really amazing here, especially when the sun comes out from behind the clouds and makes the sea of houses at your feet glow in a golden light.
You can hear so many different languages drifting through the air. French, German, Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish – name a language and you’ll hear it here. Visitors from across the world make themselves comfortable at the foot of the huge church on the imposing steps and relax after a long day.
Music in the air
I had only been sat down for a few minutes when I suddenly saw some busy activity going on nearby. A Frenchman has managed to lug a guitar up the steps and has already begun to play. With the amplifier set up and the microphone ready, Cham, who teaches autistic people in Paris, starts to hum his interpretation of Helene Fischer’s ‘Breathless’ as a warm up before his performance. He comes to the Sacre Coeur almost every Saturday evening, sets up his equipment and sings with the people. He wants to spend a musical evening with the visitors, who come from all over the world and he encourages them to sing along.
“It was one of the most beautiful moments for me without a doubt”
He’s not in it for the money, he says repeatedly. He just wants to have fun, make music and give a soundtrack to the incredible backdrop. He begins with classics like Bob Marley’s ‘Redemption Song’ as well as singing some Red Hot Chilli Peppers and many other well-known songs.
Cham always encourages all the visitors to sing along in his own charming way, to request songs and to take part in his small concert. A different tourist steps up to the mic at the start of almost every song. The Portuguese, Ukrainians, Poles, Germans, Americans and Algerians all sing together and many people watching sing the different songs together while drinking a beer and gazing out over the roofs of the houses.
Carefree and peaceful
Cham always manages to convince people to get up in front of the mic and sing with him. He sings Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’ with two teenagers from Texas, Jessie J’s ‘Price Tag’ with a Polish lady and Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish you were here’ with some German tourists. A pleasant feeling spreads over the steps. Everyone is sitting together peacefully, taking in the wonderful backdrop. I can see it in everyone’s faces – they’re all happy and relaxed. Cham makes everything right again with his music.
An Unforgettable moment high over Paris
Paris hasn’t had it easy in the last few months – we all have the attacks of the previous few months in the back of our minds when we think about this beautiful city. These shocking events don’t go unnoticed in such a huge city. This is why this peaceful, carefree moment here, high above the chaos in the streets, was a real high point for me that I’ll never forget for the rest of my life!
Falling in Love with Paris
Cham played with other young musicians for almost two hours on this Saturday evening. He spread an incredibly positive atmosphere and even gave me goosebumps. The Parisian teacher amazes hundreds of people on evenings like this without expecting anything back. He is a passionate musician. After his small concert, Cham tells me he comes into contact with lots and lots of nationalities, makes music and just has a great evening. This is more important to him than the money, he says as he packs up his guitar again. During the week, he goes to his teaching job every day, but still, every Saturday evening, you’ll most likely find him in front of this impressive basilica in the heart of Paris.
It was just another spontaneous encounter. I can say for certain that it is usually the unplanned moments, which no one can foresee, that turn a city break like this one into something really special. Having only planned to spend half an hour at the Sacré Coeur, I ended up staying for a whole three hours and I enjoyed every minute of it. I can only recommend it to all of you – take your time and enjoy rare and precious moments like these. Get caught up in the great atmosphere and take more home with you than just photographs.
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