Photo of Montmartre courtesy of Wikipedia.
When I was ten I went on a school trip to France. We went from Newquay in Cornwall right down to the south of France on an overnight train. What stands out most in my mind is the train stopping in Paris on the return journey. It was very early in the morning, about 5 a.m.. - a teacher knocked and quietly called at the cabins and asked if any of us wanted to go for a walk in Paris. Being the sort of child who never slept in a car, train or plane, I was among the few who went.
We walked through the misty, empty streets up to Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur. I remember the mysterious damp grey streets, the sound of our shoes echoing, a tramp sleeping in the gutter with a bottle of red wine by his side. Climbing the endless crumbling old steps and the soft golden dawn sunlight shining on the white stone of the Sacre Coeur. It was like a miracle, and my first real taste of the spirit of France. We then had to hot foot it back to the train before it left for home.
I can't remember which teacher decided to take a small group of kids from Cornwall through the streets of Paris at 5 am .... but whoever you are, it was brave and inspired and hasn't been forgotten.