My goal? The top of the Montmartre Butte. My reality? There was no way that I was going to make it up all of those stairs (300!) to its summit and Sacre Coeur. What's a lady to do? The funiculaire!
Funicular railways were devised as a way to move passengers or loads up and down steep inclines by a means of counterbalancing the cars. For example, as one goes up the track the other is going down. If you look at the postcard of the original one above (which was completed in 1900), it follows the standard parallel track configuration that was popular until the 1890s, when passing tracks became the standard--allowing the cars to pass mid-track. Montmartre's original funicular was powered by water, moving the cars as the cisterns filled or emptied.
Although this is the more modern incarnation of it, I thought I'd share my ride up with you: