Smeenk Grandparents’ visit to France: Part 1 – Sacre Coeur, Paris

Grandma and Grandpa are here for a 2 week visit!


Brian’s parents arrived in France 4 days ago. They crossed the Atlantic to visit us. We were all so happy to see Grandma and Grandpa, because we sure missed them. We took the kids out of French school for the rest of the week and travelled on the TGV for a four-and-a-half hour train ride to Paris to pick them up.


We awoke at 3:30 in the morning for our 4:37 am train. The kids were so excited to see Grandma & Grandpa and show them around Paris.


On the train, we watched the sun rise on the peaceful, green-pastured, French landscape.



Arriving at the Gare de Lyon station, we bought tickets for the Paris Metro to take us to Charles de Gaulle airport where Grandma and Grandpa were waiting for us. We were so delighted to see their smiling faces again, and were so touched that they had come so far to see us.



We made our way through the web of the Paris Metro to our hotel in Paris. Grandpa took a nap (as it was their bed-time back in Canada), while we took a 15 minute walk to Sacre Coeur with Grandma.


Along the way, we passed paid parking spaces where one could plug in their electric cars.


We also walked past a public school which had something to say. It looks like they had a strike (“une grève” in French) there not too long ago because of teacher positions being taken away. “Public school in danger….Elimination of positions = Teachers not replaced”


That same school also had a lot of history within its walls. “To the memory of the students of this school deported from 1942 to 1944 because they were born Jewish, innocent victims of the Nazi barbarism and the Vichy government. They were exterminated in the death camps. More than 700 of these children lived in the 18th arrondissement. Never forget.” It was a powerful connection for us, after reading the children’s novel “Your name is Renee” by Stacy Cretzmeyer last year.


We passed a beautiful stained-glass mural on the side of a building on our way to Sacre Coeur.



Majestically perched on top of Montmartre (Mount of Martyrs) in the 18th arrondissement, Sacre Coeur Basilica was buzzing with people. The weather was a perfect +20 °C, and the air was sweetly scented by spring blossoms. Music danced down the hills, floating over foreign languages spoken by the visitors coming from all over the world. The atmosphere was joyful and vivacious under the brilliant blue sky.




The view of Paris on top of Montmartre was breathtaking!


Lucy needed some time to sit outside and sketch the basilica, so I sat with her while Grandma, Brian, and the kids wandered inside historic halls filled with 125 years of unending prayers. I sat enthralled by the energy on that hill.

Here’s a 2 minute video of our experience on Montmartre.



Next Posts to come: Arc de Triomphe and the sparkling Eiffel Tower

Gallery | This entry was posted in France, Jenn and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Smeenk Grandparents’ visit to France: Part 1 – Sacre Coeur, Paris

  1. Pingback: Riding the Paris Metro | At Home in the World

  2. Pingback: Sacre Coeur, Paris « Gracia Rose

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