Of all of the amazing places in Paris the Sacré-Cœur is one of my favourites. If you haven’t been there I almost demand you get on a plane to Paris right now. Seriously get onto the easyjet website and book up your flight.
Whilst it’s known as Sacré-Cœur the official name is the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris and your can find it in Montmartre. I have stayed in this area on my last two trips to Paris and have stood and stared for many an hour at this amazing Basilica.
It was built between 1875 and 1914 on the place where Saint Denis (the first ever Bishop of Paris) was decapitated for his faith. Which sounds barbaric now but then again we’ve obviously not learnt from history as you would have thought people would have stopped killing other people for their faith- that’s a post for another day!
The Sacré-Cœur is beautiful inside and out. It is free to go inside and is open from 6am till 10.30 pm every day. There is crypt underneath the basilica however according to the website is currently closed. You are also able to climb the Dome of the Basilica. Entrance is outside to the left (you also can also access the crypt at the same place).
I would thoroughly recommend climbing the 300 stairs to the top of the Dome. The views are spectacular and you see more of Paris then you could imagine. You also have the Eiffel Tower in sight which is certainly high on the list of ways you should see the tower. The walk up isn’t too challenging but it is steep and narrow in some places and you just need to take it at your own pace. Honestly once you see the views you will forget about the steps . After that bit of exercise you also earn yourself a pain au chocolat #winning.
There is an admission charge and the opening times do depend on the season. So do check when planning your visit. One thing to note is there is always a lot of people trying to put thread bracelets on you for money. This is quite off putting but as long as you say no they generally go away but it is quite annoying.
Visiting this beautiful place has to be on your list when visiting this stunning city. If I’ve not convinced you enough with my words then I shall let my pictures do the talking…
This was literally one of the best things I have ever seen in my life. Like EVER!
We had driven out of Auckland and we’re heading to Hobiton in Matamata but alas as soon as we got there they were sold out. Note to anyone planning on going defo pre book! So at risk of going a whole day with only seeing the scenery from the road (which was pretty awesome) I got online and booked tickets for Waitomo Glowworm Cave. It was about and hour and half drive there and super easy to find.
Collected our tickets just in time and then went to wait by the door to be let into the most amazing place.
Waitomo was first explored in 1887 by Chief Tane Tinorau and Fred Mace. The deaper they explored they suddenly found themselves thinking they found their way out of the caves and that night had fallen. They soon realised it wasn’t the stars they could see but actually Glowworms. The Arachnocampa luminosa is a glowworm species found only in New Zealand and are the species found in these caves.
The tour started with a walk through the caves and talk about the background and history of the caves and area. All the guides are descendants of Cheif Tane Tinorau and his wife Huti. In 1989 The land was given back to them and they can work, receive a percentage of the ticket prices and even get married within the caves. Our guide was fab she knew so much, really clear and engaging and just made the tour run smoothly. She said that it’s a family business and pointed out several other guides as cousins and uncles.
Your first experience of the glowworms is in a few little caves where you can see small clusters of them and also then with lights on so you can see the long strings they hang off. This is just giving you a little taster for the main event.
After looking through the caves the final part of the tour is spent in pitch black, on a rope pulled boat in complete silence. It should have been a eerie but it wasn’t. Slowly the guide pulled the boat along using the roaps above and suddenly the cave roof was illuminated in blue. It was like the most amazing star display within touching distance.
I was staring at the roof with my mouth open in awe whilst also wishing no glowworms fell off into my mouth. Thankfully they didn’t. We weaved around the caves and the concentration of glow worms just got larger and larger. It was there was a million galaxies above our very heads. Unfortunately you aren’t able to take photographs but the images are etched into my memories so clearly.
You then come to a small cave just near the end when you are able to take some photos. I promise in this very black picture there is something glow worms. Turn the brightness up, zoom in and squint and you’ll see them 😂
You then get m off the boat in the bottom of the gorge and make your way back up to the entrance still not believing what you’ve just witnessed.
The cost was $50NZ per person and we were there for around an hour/hour and half. You don’t need to be overly fit but there is walking and steps so wear appropriate walking footwear if possible.
This really was a bucket list activity and if you are in the North Island ensure you plan to visit. You won’t be disappointed.
Check out their website for stunning pictures within the cave and more details