Step into the dreamy and romantic neighborhood of Montmartre when you visit Paris. Whether you saw the film Amelie, or you’ve heard about some of the best painters and writers from the 19th century, this charming place in the city of love, deserves your dedicated visit, as every corner has something to tell.
How to start off your tour
Montmartre is located in the 18th arrondissement in Paris in a hill known as La Butte. It used to be a village and still conserves that atmosphere, where once Picasso and Dali lived and were inspired by to do their artworks. It is the highest point in all Paris.
Begin your walk at the base of the hill by getting off at the Moulin Rouge station, where the famous windmill lies and where the popular cancan shows have been held throughout the years. Slowly make your way up the hill to reach the heart of Montmartre through cobblestoned streets and narrow alleys. If you want to avoid the steep climb, take the metro to Abbesses station and step right into the central area or take the funicular.
Abbesses subway stop is known to be the deepest metro station in all Paris, as the hill’s altitude is about 130 meters. Make sure to admire the art in the stairs while going up as they depict the life of the neighborhood.
Montmartre is one of Paris more peculiar places, and so are their people. In fact, Montmartre was once independent of Paris. It was in 1871 when the citizens rebelled and for around three months they were separated from the capital.
They named their new system La Commune and lived by their own rules. It didn’t last too long, but what is true is that Montmartrois are different from Parisians and are happy to show this difference.
Talk to some of the locals to learn more about the story and their philosophy of life. It is one of the best ways of understanding this area. They consider themselves more revolutionary, free minded—living la bohème.
Allow yourself to get lost in the beauty of Montmartre but make sure to check out some of the most iconic places.
The Sacré-Cœur is perhaps the most remarkable landmark of Montmartre. This minor basilica contains the most extensive mosaic in France, measuring 480 square meters. Entrance is free, so take a tour to learn more about its construction.
Drop by Cabaret Lapin Agile, where Picasso used to dine. The story tells that during this time, Picasso was completely broke, so he would pay his meals with a painting. However, none of these paintings were signed, as this would mean that they would be more valuable, and way higher than the price of the meal. Nowadays, you won’t find any paintings by Picasso because they were eventually sold by the original owner. Nevertheless, rumor has it, the ghost of Picasso still frequents the bar.
La Maison rose is another famous spot, and maybe one of the most photographed in Montmartre, due to its beauty. It is known for having paintings from Maurice Utrillo, a Montmartrois painter from the 20th century.
In rue Lepic, visit the iconic Café des 2 Moulins, pictured in the film Amelie. The interiors are decorated with photographs of some of the different scenes. Walk along rue Tholozé and you'll run into Cinema 28, also featured in the film. While in Rue Cortot, you'll discover the Musee of Montmartre housed in one of the oldest buildings. It holds some of Renoir most distinct paintings.
Elsewhere, explore the Montmartre cemetery, with graves of famous singers, painters, and artists. Film director Francois Truffaut is buried here. And stop by the last working vineyard in Paris: The Clos Montmartre.
Last but not least, do some shopping, as Montmartre has the best vintage stores in all Paris.