Crazy night at Sacré Coeur

3 06 2010

Last Friday night, my friends and I held a good-bye party at Sacré Coeur.  Libby and Kate left to go back to the States on Monday, so we wanted to have at least one last night together before our group got smaller.  (Although we ended up spending Saturday and Sunday together too.)

A little bit about Sacré Coeur

Sacré Coeur is a beautiful place.  It’s a very touristy place with artists and the beautiful church and a nice view of Paris.  People like to go there and hang out with friends, drinking wine and snacking on cookies or chips.  It’s always pretty crowded.  Because of all the tourists, it’s a great place for street performers to get a lot of spectators.  Unfortunately, it’s also a great place for scammers and pick-pockets.

I arrived before my friends, and I sat on the steps and listened to music on my iPod.  Of course some random guy came and started hitting on me.  This happens every time I’m alone in Montmartre.  (That really gets on my nerves…)  But I’ve learned to be more assertive and not put up with that.  I told him after a minute or two that “I don’t feel like talking with a stranger.”  Well, that’s what I wanted to say, but said the wrong word for stranger and said “Je n’ai pas envie de discuter avec un…étranger.”  A “foreigner”, I had said.  Oops.  He got defensive and was like, “Je suis français, moi! I’m French!”  I corrected myself and he didn’t put up too much of a fight; he got up and left.

Then my friends came and we moved a little further down the steps to where this big balcony is, from which you see an amazing view of Paris.  (Sacré Coeur is up on a big hill.)

We drank a lot of wine and snacked on Haribo gummies, cookies, bread, cheese and strawberries.  We were having a grand old time, and then two guys in fedoras and superman t-shirts set up their pyro show.  They had these big batons that lit on fire on either end, and they did all sorts of whirls and twirls with those.  Sometimes it looked like they were on fire!  They were also really good dancers…oh là là!

Here is a little preview of their show — this is actually the grand finale, and my favorite part!

That was definitely the highlight of the evening.  Sara and Kate asked for a picture with them when their show was over, and then later they came over and talked to us for a while.  They even invited us to a party afterward, but we didn’t go.

From left to right: Paula, Hannah, Libby, Kate, Sara, and moi

Now for the CRAZY stuff

I’ll try to make a long story short.  In between the two shows the pyros did, some guy tried to steal Paula’s iPhone.  Paula stood up and realized her phone was no longer underneath her scarf, and made a big scene when she accused the guy in front of us of stealing her phone.  “Don’t let him get away!” she yelled and Kate stepped in and held onto his shirt.  The guy didn’t try to run.  Paula looked for her phone while I decided to call it to make sure it wasn’t just in her bag or something.  Sure enough, the guy’s PANTS lit up and started buzzing.  He DID have her phone!  She yelled at him and took her phone back, and then shoved him away and yelled to everyone, “THIS MAN STEALS PHONES!”  The guy slinked away, embarrassed.  I snapped a photo of this incident.

I decided to keep my eye out for that guy (and anyone else who might try to steal stuff from us) and kept looking around throughout the evening.  Then, a little while later, I realized that he was sitting on the steps above Sara and I.  When I looked at him, he quickly shoved his hands behind his back.  “No way, give that to me,” I said.  I grabbed his arm and he had a wallet in his hands that looked like a guy’s wallet, so I felt a little awkward, but then I asked Sara, whose backpack was wide open next to her (and unwisely unattended), and she said, “YES, that’s MINE!”  I yelled at the guy, “CASSE-TOI! (Basically, “piss off!”) and he went away.  We couldn’t believe he came back to the same group to steal from, and we caught him both times.

A few minutes later, some guy in a hoodie and jeans came down to us and said that he was the police, and that they arrested the guy who stole for us.  We were confused until we realized there was also a uniformed police officer with him, and he was an undercover cop.  (It makes me feel so much better to know that there are undercover cops at Sacré Coeur!)  He asked if we had all our stuff, and we all looked and said that we did.

But then, about 10 minutes later, Sara realized she didn’t have her phone!  The guy had stolen that, too.  So Kate, Libby and I ran up to the top of the stairs and knocked on the window of a police car.  We explained that the guy also stole Sara’s phone.  I ran back down and told Sara she needed to go up there.  Then Libby came back down a few minutes later and said that Kate had called Sara’s phone and a policeman picked up.  He said the thief threw the phone over the balcony into the park when he was arrested.  The phone broke into 3 pieces, but still works.  But then Sara had to come down to the police station to make a statement, and Kate went with her, as Sara’s French isn’t very good.  I won’t go into too much detail about their experiences at the police station, but it was pretty traumatizing.  This was the guy’s third offense, and he will be going to jail.

Meanwhile, the rest of us are hanging out on the steps, waiting for Sara and Kate to return.  It took them a long time, though, and we had to leave.  We learned that you really shouldn’t be at Sacré Coeur after midnight (especially if you’re a group of all girls).  After the pyro guys left, and warned us we shouldn’t be there much longer, it wasn’t long before we were surrounded by about 8 guys who were harassing us.  We finally had to get up and leave, but they followed us to the metro.  Trying to touch us, and one guy had his arm around Paula.  I was really pissed off about this and screamed at the top of my lungs at them.  That scared most of them away, but the one who had his arm around Paula stayed around.  I cut in and said, “She’s mine, go away” but he kept following us.  He actually got onto the metro with us.  Paula got off to transfer to go back home, and at the last second, as the doors were about to close, the guy jumped off and followed her.  We called her right away to let her know he was following her.  To make that long story short, she did end up ditching him and got home safe and alone.  My goodness.  We were all very afraid for her.  I went back home with Libby and Hannah, and spent the night there.  Sara arrived around 1:30; the police got lost when driving her home.  Good grief.

Crazy stuff.  One thing is certain: we will never forget this evening.  If you’re interested to see more of the pyro show, click below for the rest of my videos.  They were really awesome!


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4 responses

3 06 2010
Birthe

Wtf,sorry still shocked don’t know what else to say right now! This is scary!! I AM glad Paula is well!

3 06 2010
sarahgilmour

I know! Just think of the horrible way this story could have ended! We were really freaked out.

4 06 2010
Nichelle

Wow! That was a really scary night! So glad that things turned out well.
Yeah, Sacre Coeur is not the best place to be, late at night. I learned that the first time I was in France (back in High School.)

4 06 2010
sarahgilmour

Yeah, definitely.

Thanks for reading! I saw Rory’s graduation pics on facebook…congratulations! I can’t believe how grown up everyone looks!

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