Montmartre, Paris

Montmartre, Paris

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Montmartre: user guide

Small streets with the pavé (the paving with cobblestones!), houses covered with ivy, pretty coffee e squalid painters trying to make a living with their art. This is (or rather it was in some respects) Montmartre!

Paris is a city composed mainly of large squares, large boulevards and large buildings, and perhaps Montmartre is special precisely because it is different from the rest of the French capital.

It seems a paradox, but the most famous district of Paris is perhaps the least representative of the rest of the city.

This explains why, on a trip to Paris, a stop in Montmartre should never be missing: get lost among his alleys, enjoy the views over the Sacred Heart, take one crêpe in one of the many cafes sounds, much better if in the company of someone special, and you will remember those moments for the rest of your life.

Don't be intimidated by it a flood of tourists along the main streets and souvenir shops all the same: that's enough step away really slightly from the most crowded streets and Montmartre is once again an absolutely pleasant neighborhood to live in.

It is no coincidence that this district of Paris has been the backdrop for masterpieces such as the film The fabulous world of Amélie, or has been immortalized by the greatest impressionist painters such as Renoir's “Bal au moulin de la Galette”.

Not to be confused with Pissarro's "Boulevard Montmartre" paintings which do not portray this neighborhood.

Where is the neighborhood

The Montmartre hill it is located north of Paris and is the highest point of the city in the 18th arrondissement (district), on the Right Bank, the right bank of the Seine.

On the top of the hill stands the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

How to get to Montmartre

There are various stops of the subway Parisian near the Montmartre hill:

  • Anvers (line 2)
  • Pigalle (line 2 or 12)
  • Abbesses (line 12)
  • Lamarck-Caulaincourt (line 12).
  • Jules Joffrin (line 12)

The most convenient is certainly the Anvers stop; once you get off the metro, you will have to take rue Steinkerque.

If you want to take the funicular (Funiculaire de Montmartre), which has been carrying people up since 1900, the year of its inauguration, the nearest stops are Abbesses and Anvers.

Or, go up the monumental stairs that run alongside the funicular (197 steps await you…) and you will reach the top of the hill!

Montmartre, Paris
The Montmartre funicular. The white dome of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart is a strong attraction for tourists and Parisians!

A bit of history

Although in French Montmartre means Mount of the martyr, in reference to the martyrdom of the first Christians of Paris, probably the name derives from the Campo di Marte from Roman times, subsequently Christianized to eliminate any reference to the pagan origins of the place.

The butte de Montmartre, that is the hill that dominates the area, hosted for many centuries an important abbey, destroyed during the French Revolution, of which the church of Saint Pierre: the very history of the church, the favorite of the inhabitants of Montmartre, is a small condensation of the French one!

Montmartre venne annexed to Paris in 1860 and its "out of the box" character also emerges from a well-known historical fact. In fact, when France surrendered to the Prussians in 1871, Montmartre refused to hand over the cannon placed to protect the hill, giving rise to the Paris City Council, a later failed attempt at government by the working class.

On the top of the hill the Sacred Heart Basilica, completed in 1919, from which you can admire one of the most beautiful views of Paris. Climb to believe!

Montmartre, however, was more famous as a destination for recreation and perdition, rather than as a sacred place: the first cabarets were born right in the neighborhood or in the immediate vicinity, and among the most famous they are counted Le Chat Noir and the Moulin Rouge, which still exists.

The area was also famous for its brothels, and even today the Pigalle district (at the foot of the Montmartre hill) retains its name as a red light district, although it is mostly a scenography for tourists.

Cosa vedere a Montmartre

The central square: Place du Tertre

We could only start with square which is located in the center of the neighborhood and is the reign of artists!

In Place du tertre you will see above all painters, draftsmen, tourists and, all around, small shops and restaurants. For sure you will be offered a portrait or a caricature, in a very convincing way!

Do you think that in the past there were also among these artists Picasso e Utrillo (who also had their homes in the square!).

Montmartre, Paris
Place du Tertre with his works on display.

Just think that Picasso painted the famous picture in Montmartre in 1907 Damsels of Avignon, now housed in the MoMA museum in New York.

Place du Tertre

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart

La Sacred Heart Basilica it is probably Montmartre's best known attraction.

Candid and perched on the hill, the Sacre Coeur is a must for anyone visiting Paris.

Montmartre, Paris
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart

Inside it is possible admire the largest French mosaic on the ceiling and walk to the dome to enjoy an incomparable panorama (by the way: if you want to be the "hunters" of Parisian panoramas, read here!).

Basilica of the Sacred HeartAll the info

The church of St. Pierre de Montmartre

La Church of St. Pierre de Montmartre, one of the oldest in all of Paris; it is located right next to the Sacred Heart, and here in 1534 Ignatius of Loyola founded the Society of Jesus.

Montmartre, Paris
A beautiful night image of the church of Saint Pierre de Montmartre.
Church of Saint Pierre de MontmartreAll info

The local historian Moulin de la Galette

Il Moulin de la Galette is a historic dance venue on the rue Lepic which was frequented by the most important artists in the world of painting.

It was painted by Renoir in the work "Bal au moulin de la Galette", a masterpiece of early Impressionism, by Van Gogh (the picture is called "Le moulin de la Galette") and by numerous other artists such as Picasso and Utrillo.

The sculpture Le Passe Muraille (the man crosses walls)

Of great impact Bronze sculpture “Le Passe Muraille”, created by Jean Marais in 1989, which evokes the short story by Marcel Aymé about a man able to cross walls.

It is located in the Place Marcel Aymé, where the writer of the same name lived and represents, in fact, a man passing through a stone wall!

Montmartre, Paris
Le Passe Muraille (The wall crosses): absolutely to be photographed.

According to the story, dating back to 1943, there was a man able to cross walls, who lived right in Montmartre and who (we reveal the ending 🙂 hoping you don't mind) was trapped because of love.

Dalì Paris

It is of a permanent thematic museum dedicated to Salvador Dalì where it is possible to view his most beautiful sculptures, many illustrations and lithographs.

The museum, located at 11 rue Poulbot, houses more than 300 works by the Catalan artist. Ideal for deepening your knowledge of Dalì!

Montmartre Cemetery

Il Montmartre cemetery, at 20 avenue Rachel, opened in 1825 and is particularly popular as a host tombs of important personalities and artists such as Ampère, Zola, Stendhal or Truffaut, Berlioz, Dumas son, Degas, and also our Dalida, just to name a few.

As you walk through the cemetery, also notice its vegetation: there are about 40 different species of trees.

Muro dei I love you

The most romantic will appreciate the evocative Muro dei Je t'aime in zona metro Abbesses.

It is a work by Frédéric Baron e Claire Kito of about 40 square meters, made up of 612 blue tiles on which appears the words "I love you" in different languages.

The streets of the neighborhood not to be missed

Lepic Street

Romantic and with a decidedly bohemian atmosphere, this Montmartre street consists of the climb that leads to the famous hill.

What to Expect? Small cafes, shops, markets, or the Paris is less touristy and more charming.

It is in this street that we can find the Café des 2 Moulins, the bistro that was the setting for many shots of the film, much appreciated by the public The fabulous world of Amélie. Yes, it was exactly the place to work Amélie!

Il Café des 2 Moulins. Dentro ci sarà Amélie?

Saint-Vincent Street

Rue Saint-Vincent è un museo open air. A little off the beaten track, it has a lot to offer in terms of landscape and more.

This way it hosts some suggestive vineyards that create an incredible green space in the heart of a metropolis like Paris, but also the magical Jardin Sauvage where vegetation grows free from the work of man.

This street also offers the typical French cabaret in the most famous club of the capital: Intelligent Rabbit.

Rue Junot

Rue Junot is probably there most famous street in the neighborhood. It is in this street that we can find the most opulent palaces and constructions that tell of a different neighborhood made of wealth and well-being.

Between one noble building and another we can also find cinemas and theaters in which to enjoy the fervent cultural life of the city.

What to do in Montmartre

Shopping in Place du Tertre

Strolling through the streets of Montmartre in Paris you cannot resist the possibility of taking home a piece of art. In Place du Tertre you can buy watercolors, charcoals, paintings and caricatures for every taste.

Visit the Chocolate Museum (which is actually a chocolate boutique)

A visit that can make your stay in France sweeter is that of Small Chocolate Museum, to let yourself be enveloped by the scents and flavors of chocolate. It is located at 7 Rue de Steinkerque.

For information on other recommended chocolate shops in the French capital, click on the in-depth button!

The best chocolatiersAll the info

Relax with coffee and macarons

Montmartre is also the ideal place to take the time to savor the Parisian life of artists. A cup of hot coffee, a couple of macarons and a good book sitting at a cafe are priceless.

Discover Montmartre through its Museum

In rue Cortot 12 we find the small but suggestive Montmartre Museum which houses permanent collections and temporary exhibitions not to be missed.

Perfect for retracing the moments of the life of the neighborhood, which began as a rural village, and then became the center of European artistic movements in the period between the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries.

The museum buildings were once home to illustrious artists, including Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Suzanne Valadon, a detail that adds to its charm.

Enjoy a cabaret show

Can can and cabaret, are things to do absolutely in Paris, and where if not in this multifaceted neighborhood!

Michou (80 Rue des Martyrs) offers a magical experience with its drag queens and tasty menus.

A famous alternative nearby is the famous Moulin Rouge, located at 82 Boulevard de Clichy in Pigalle.

The legendary cabaret offers, for example, this two hour experience which includes show and champagne. If you want dinner too, there is too this proposal!

Where to eat

Here are some suggestions for you!

Cafè des Deux Moulins (Amélie)

Cafè des Deux Moulins (15, Rue Lepic), that of Amélie's Fabulous World, has all the Parisian charm in it and is located in the heart of the neighborhood. Therefore perfect for a lunch or for happy hour.

Relais Gascon (French)

Le Relais Gascon (6, Rue des Abbesses) is very popular with locals and is also quite cheap. A simple and familiar treatment with generous portions and an affordable price list.

Taverne de Montmartre (French)

La Taverne de Montmartre (25, Rue Gabrielle) is a truly distinctive restaurant, off the beaten track. But arm yourself with patience, because you have to wait to eat here.

Soul Kitchen (francese)

Soul Kitchen (33, Rue Lamarck) is a young space, with a vintage and familiar atmosphere, which is very welcoming. Km 0 and organic products make up really tasty dishes.

The Godfather (Italian)

Il Padrino (49, Rue Custine) is the right place to not feel homesick. The atmosphere that recalls the well-known film trilogy is combined with an abundant and tasty menu.

Creperie Brocéliande

Crêperie Brocéliande (15, Rue des 3 Frères) is the right place to fall in love with the typical French dessert as the name suggests.

Dear gluttons, we offer you an in-depth study on the subject!

The best creperiesAll the info

What to buy and where to shop

Montmartre is a neighborhood full of interesting shops who sell souvenirs, but also many other delicious things. To bring home a piece of France from Montmartre we can consider:

  • a portrait made by street artists;
  • a miniature of the Sacred Heart;
  • an antique piece or an old book;
  • clothing and costume jewelery at Mademoiselle Montmartre (17 Rue al Vieuville)
  • chocolate, for example in the LINDT Boutique (13 Rue de Steinkerque)
  • objects depicting angels and archangels at La Boutique des Anges Paris Montmartre (2, rue Yvonne le Tac)

The main events held in Montmartre

La Grape Harvest Festival it is certainly the most important event involving the well-known Parisian district. Held in early October each year for five days of wine, chocolate and cheese festivities with a busy schedule.

There are also several art exhibitions at local museums that vary according to the period.

Montmartre will be

The evening is ideal time to experience the neighborhood in an intense way, with the romantic allure that only an area of ​​artists has.

Dinner and cabaret are a very frequent combination in the neighborhood at the most important clubs in the area: an experience to live at least once in a lifetime.

Theatrical and cinematographic performances are the order of the day in the cultural spaces of Montmartre, all year round.

The night here is young thanks to the numerous clubs, small but very lively, where you can entertain yourself with music and DJ sets until dawn.

Where to sleep: hotel in the Montmartre area

Why sleep in this area?

For its atmosphere and also because the hotels are on average affordable, with savings of even 20% -30% compared to other areas of the city. 

However, it must also be recognized that the neighborhood is a bit decentralized and the connections are not excellent. In this regard, we recommend that you prefer hotels close to metro stops (lines 12 and 2).

And avoid the side streets of Pigalle!

Recommended hotels on Booking in the Montmartre area

If you want to consider other areas of Paris for your accommodation, here you will find many tips.

Montmartre Tower

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