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30/09/2008

Montmartre Hill, Sacré-Cœur Basilica and Stade de France, Paris, France


This photo was taken from the observation deck of the 210-meter tall Tour Montparnasse. It shows Montmartre, a hill (the butte Montmartre) which is 130 metres high, giving its name to the surrounding district, in the north of Paris. Montmartre is primarily known for the white-domed Basilique du Sacré-Cœur on its summit and as a nightclub district. Many artists had studios or worked around the community of Montmartre such as Salvador Dalí, Modigliani, Claude Monnet, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh.
The toponym Mons Martis ("Mount of Mars") survived into Merovingian times, Christianised as Montmartre, signifying 'mountain of the martyr'; it owes this name to the martyrdom of Saint Denis, who was decapitated on the hill around 250 AD. Saint Denis was the Bishop of Paris and the patron saint of France. The hill's religious symbolism is thought to be even older, as it has been suggested as a likely druidic holy place because it is one of the the highest point in the area.
The perspective from the Tour Montparnasse is quite unique, as Montmartre is on the same axe as the Stade de France, located 5 km further north in Saint-Denis, in the inner surburb of Paris. The Stade de France is of course the national stadium of France (capacity around 80.000), built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

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