Our Kids Must-See: Sacre Coeur

 Sacre Coeur

It was our last day in Paris.

We spent the morning where we began our trip only eight days before, in the Tuileries Garden. We lounged in the green chairs that circle the fountain, watching workers dismantle the outdoor art sculpture exhibit they erected the morning we arrived.

Girl at Tuileries Garden

But lounging is for people who have marked everything off their travel itinerary. We still had one more must-see left on the kid’s must-see list.

During the planning stage of this trip, I decided to spark my kids interest in Paris by reading them children’s books set in Paris. One of our favorites was the enchanting  book Come Fly With Me, written and illustrated by Satomi Ichikawa. This sweet story of two adventurous toys  landing their toy plane on Sacre Coeur made my kids obsessed with seeing The White Dome for themselves.

When we saw a dome in the skyline of Paris, either from the top of the Pompidou Center or the Eiffel Tower, they’d yell to one another: IT’S THE WHITE DOME!!! Quickly followed by squeals and pleads to GO. THERE. NOW. But Aaron and I decided to save the best for last. On our last day in Paris, we were to make the magical world of books real and and visit  Sacre Coeur.

After almost losing Ethan on the metro, we got off at the the Metro stop Anvers, walking up the rue de Steinkerque  until we reached the funicular (to the left of the grand staircase) that leads to Sacre Coeur.  Since this was our eighth day of taking the kids all over Paris, they were understandably grumpy. Ethan wanted to be carried, Ada wanted every tacky trinket from the  tourist shops, Chase …  Chase was crying for some reason but I can’t remember why.  Overall, this was a whinny bunch. And not even the idea of seeing The White Dome (or my glares) was hushing them up.  That is, until we got to the funicular. There’s something about little trains that distracts a kid’s focus from being tired. Instead, the funicular buzzed with their excitement, which was palatable and wonderfully contagious.  (It also made them quiet, which is a treasured gift for any parent.)

Funicular to Sacre Coeur, Paris

All-at-once: the White Dome towered in front of us. Ethan made a sound I can only describe as:  squeal mixed with exuberant chuckle all rolled into a ball of gleeeeee.  The illustrations in the book Come Away With Me were splendid. But nothing compares to the real deal.


Sacre Coeur

Sacre Coeur, Paris

Sacre Coeur, Paris

Taking pictures isn’t allowed inside Sacre Coeur. I stowed my camera, put a little hand in each of mine and quietly walked through the church. They whispered questions about the mosaics, I  whispered back my answers. The indoor tour was brief, yet quiet and magical.

As soon we went back outside, the kids went back to their normal kid selves. Yes, that’s Ada’s dog that went everywhere with us…and no she’s not sharing it Chase.

 Kids fighting, Cacre Coeur, Paris


With their must-see-list now complete, the kids ran down the center stairs and happily discovered a small park  to play in while we shared a bench with the other parents. My heart felt heavy, yet content as I watched our kids spend their last afternoon playing in their last park in Paris.  I was content that we made the fairy tale of The White Dome real. Heavy, that our trip was only hours away from being over.




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