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Montmartre – all you need to know!

If you ask around, many Parisians will probably say that Montmartre is not what it used to be – and that’s probably true. It was probably already true 30 years ago and yet, the village around the hilltop of Montmartre is one of the most beautiful and iconic areas in Paris. It should not be missing on any Paris itinerary and the more time you have to explore this micro arrondissement, the more you’ll discover a Montmartre that has few to do with souvenirs and selfie sticks. Yes, the Belle Èpoche is lost beyond recall, but Montmartre did not loose it’s flair of libertine and poetry.

Back in the days Montmartre was the linchpin of the french art and artist scene. If you’d assume that every big name lived on one point in their life in Montmartre, you’re about right. The most famous residents where probably Picasso, Monet and van Gogh but they are just the top of the iceberg – Montmartre was a hotspot of inspiration and home to many. While one could think that source of inspiration was the beautiful view.. well, the absence of wine tax clearly must have helped. At times, Montmartre laid outside of Paris and wasn’t subject of Parisian tax regulations (thanks for this anecdote!).

Today, the cheap apartments are mostly gone and the image of the starving artist would probably be literally a starving artist (and the wine is taxed, sorry). Montmartre is a hip quarter, with coffee breweries, great restaurants and bars, and independent fashion labels. But it’s also still the area of Galleries, artists and of course Museums. The narrow alleys and streets up to the hilltop of Montmartre are as cobbled stoned as they’ve always have been, the houses are cute and iconic and the view over Paris is still breathtaking.

In a nutshell: Montmartre is the perfect place to fill up your Paris batteries and one of the best locations to stay in Paris.

The Montmartre Stairs or montmartre steps are the best way to see Paris
The Sacre Coeur is one of the places that gives you the best view over Paris and climbing up the stairs to the hilltop is one of the best things to do in Montmartre

● Most popular things to do in Montmartre

Museums

The density of museums is quite high in Montmartre and a must for everyone who is interested in art and/or in the history of Montmartre.

Tip: The best way to explore Montmartre is by feet and if you’re eager to know more about this wonderful district, consider taking a walking tour with a local guide. Check here for all offers, prices and schedules

Place du Tertre

This place near the summit and just next to the Sacre Coeur is quite likely the square you have in mind when thinking about painters at Montmartre. If you want to get portrait or not – it’s fun to watch them!

The Place du Tertre at la butte montmartre is the best place to see montmartre artists.
Place du Tertre Montmartre – the square next to Sacre Coeur is known to be the artist square in Paris – if you want to get your portrait as a souvenir: Place du Tertre is the place for it

Basilica de Sacre Coeur

The Sacre Coeur on the hilltop of Montmartre is one of the most famous landmarks of Paris. A selfie is basically obligatory! Actually 2 – one on front of the basilica and one in front of the entity of Paris. It’s a bit work to climb up there but the view… oh the view. It’s worth all the struggle and you also can skip the last steps and take the funiculaire de Montmartre. As the funicular is part of the public transport system, you can use a regular metro ticket for access.

Moulin Rouge

The famous Cabaret belongs to Montmartre like the artists or the Sacre Coeur. If you’re planning to attend a show, book your tickets well in advance – it sells out quick!

Personalize your Moulin Rouge visit
Cabaret Montmartre: the famous Moulin Rouge! It can't be missing on any Montmartre tour
The Moulin Rouge with the famous windmill is the most famous cabaret and a must-visit for many – however, the area around Pigalle is generally great for going out!

Montmartre Cemetery

The cimetière de Montmartre is the third largest graveyard in Paris and  the last resting place for – amongst others- Alexandre Dumas, Foucault and Emile Zola. Alternatively -or additionally- you can also visit the Saint-Vincent Cemetery on the rear side of Montmartre. or the Cimetière du Calvaire just west from Sacre Coeur.

Le Mur des Je t’aime

The “I love you wall” is basically what the name suggests: A wall filled with “I love you” – 311 times to be exact and in 250 languages. Well, it’s maybe not the most spectacular monument you can find in Paris, but there’s never anything wrong with love and neither with celebrating it.

The I love you wall is just next to Montmartre Metro: the Montmartre Metro station Abessess is directly in Montmartre and if you wonder: how to get to Montmartre? that's your best bet.
The I love you wall is a quite new landmark in Montmartre. It’s just next to the Metro Abessess – the only Metro station that is actually on the Montmartre hill

Le Clos Montmartre – A vineyard in Paris

At the rear side of Montmartre lays the Clos de Montmartre – one of the around 10 vineyards in Paris. The vineyard produces approximately 500l of wine each year and all money raised is spend on social projects within the area.

If you are around in early autumn, don’t miss the annual grape harvest fest, La fête des Vendange. it’s an amazing festival located in Montmartre with solely one purpose: eat and drink! You can read more about La Fête des Vendanges 2017 here

our recommendation
Please the foodie in you: take a food tour through Montmartre

What can there be possible better than strolling through a beautiful Parisian quarter and sampling the finest and yummiest french specialties, while a friendly local shares interesting facts and stories about their hood? Exactly. Nothing.

Joining a food tour through Montmartre is a great way for really getting to know the neighbourhood and to dive in into french culture.

The quartier Montmartre has one of the last vineyards of Paris. From there it's also just a short walk to the cimetiere montmartre
Le Clos de Montmartre – one of the few vineyards in Paris

● Montmartre off the beaten track – insider tips

Even though Montmartre is not an off beat location, it still has some secrets. They are not even hidden, but you probably would just walk by without even noticing.

Related read: Secret Paris – 75 hidden gems! 

Montmartre at night is as beautiful, especially the Montmartre view over Paris. The Sacre Coeur is also known as the Montmartre church
The Sacre Coeur on top of Montmartre. The stairs just in front are a great place to enjoy the view over Paris. If you can, go here by night – the view is breathtaking

 

● Where to stay in Montmartre

Without being biased, the Montmartre neighbourhood is a great location to stay when spending your vacation in Paris. There are plenty of things to do and see, and there is surely some hype, but after all, Montmartre is just a lovely neighbourhood. If you chose Montmartre as your base you can sneak a peek behind the tourist destination and discover the real neighbourhood. Where it’s inhabitants buy their Baguette at the local boulangerie, do their groceries at the merchants of Rue Lepic, where you can have a glass of wine for Apéro and enjoy the evening sun on a terrace. Montmartre is more than Sacre Coeur and La Maison Rose.. it’s an attitude, it’s enjoying life – savoir vivre!


Are you wondering what to pack for Paris? Don’t miss our packing guide for Paris and Europe!

One of the nicest and best Hotels in Montmartre is the Maison Lepic Montmartre.

The location of the hotel is awesome. The Maison Lepic is centrally located within Montmartre, but in a lesser frequented back-road. Every sight of Montmartre is reachable by feet and so are public transportation. Metro line 12,13 and 2 are just a few minutes away and grants you quick access to everything interesting in Paris. As an extra; a room in the Maison Lepic Montmartre includes a nice breakfast. Check here for more information, prices and availabilities

Maison Lepic Montmartre - where to stay in Montmartre? The Maison Lepic Montmartre is one of the nicest Hotels in Montmartre. A great choice if you wonder where to stay in Montmartre
La Maison Lepic Montmartre – visibly one of the nicest Hotels in Montmartre – nice decorated, breakfast included and one of the few Hotels in Paris that comes with a garden. Pictures © Maison Lepic

My tip: by chance (really, it wasn’t on my agenda to include this restaurant) just in front of the Maison Lepic is my favourite Italien restaurant in Paris: La Rughetta (click for more info and to book online). The Pizza is really good 🙂

Hotels in Montmartre

Are you staying longer in the area and need home base? Check out Perfectly Paris! Gail is renting out beautiful apartments – starting from 3 months! 

 

● Best Restaurants in Montmartre

Traditional French  Restaurants

Aux Trois Petits Cochons traditional french cuisine in a typical parisian setting – menus from 27€ – reserve your table here

Le Piano Perché gourmet meals in a friendly atmosphere – click here for more info, prices and booking

Les Tantes Jeanne beautiful creations in a warm and classic setting – not a budget option but absolutely worth it. Click here for more info and amazing 20% off

Le Poulbot – a cozy restaurant with a lot of charm and excellent french food – click here for up to 20% discount 



● Best Bars and Cafés in Montmartre

Montmarte is a lively neighbourhood with a quite some nostalgia and classic flair. But despite all old school charm, it’s also a very hip area and so it’s not surprising, that more and more excellent coffee shops are settling down around the hills of Montmartre.

Coffee Houses

Soul kitchen: coffee house with a daily changing menue, vegan, vegetarian and gluten free friendly

KB Cafe: Coffee shop and brewery with changing filter of the day. The KB Café serves also food and comes with a large outdoor seating area

Lomi: more than a coffee house – it’s a coffee school! For real, you can take master classes at Lomi’s

Bars

The nighlife in and around Montmartre is pretty extensive – no matter if you like to spend your evening in a cozy neighbourhood bar, an irish pub or if you’re up for some dancing, you can be sure to find it in Montmartre. As a general guideline: if you’re up for dim and cozy stay on the hill, for Party move down to Pigalle. Check here for ideas and recommendations to find the best bars in Montmartre.



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