Photo Daily: Looking Down on Montmartre from Sacré-Cœur Basilica

Looking Down on Montmartre from Sacré-Cœur Basilica ©2005

Looking Down on Montmartre from Sacré-Cœur Basilica ©2005

300 stairs. Morgan and I looked at each other tentatively. We both knew I get a little claustrophobic climbing up into the increasingly narrow basilica stairways of beautiful cathedrals. The passageways seem to close in on me and I always fear that I’ll be going up and meet another group coming down and there will be no way to pass.

That very thing happened to me years earlier when I was going up to the top of a long winding staircase in the middle of a tour group of a dozen people when we met another group coming down. I could feel the weight of the large stone walls around me, touching my shoulders on both sides and it took all of my concentration not to let panic set in for a few moments there.

Of course, it always works out. One group backs up and everyone eventually gets to where they’re going, up or down. But I know the fear of getting trapped is very powerful with me.

But Morgan and I were at the base of one of Paris’ most beautiful architectural wonders, Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre, and I knew I was just going to have to tough it up and make the climb. I gathered myself and we started up.

And when we reached the top, I was so happy we did. Below us was all of Paris. We sat up there for at least an hour just taking it in and watching the billowing clouds and sun rays streaming down. I would have regretted not making the climb.

And as beautiful as the view was, there were so many other lovely vantage points, like this more simple one, looking down on the finely crafted curves of stone and gargoyles keeping watch. Proving once again that any wonderful destination is worth the challenge of the journey.

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