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Montmartre is my favourite area of Paris. It simply feels different than the rest of Paris. It’s a quaint little quartier on the top of a hill in northern Paris which became the centre of Bohemian lifestyle for many artists in the late 19th and 20th centuries. Before being incorporated into the capital in 1860 it was a country village filled with mills that supplied Paris with flour. The famous Moulin Rouge sits at the foot of the hill leading up to Montmartre. I spent a few days just wandering through the streets with my camera the last time I was in Paris in May of 2014. I am super excited to spend another 5 days there this summer. We found the coolest Air BnB loft space in Montmartre. It is very quiet outside of the main tourist area of the Basilica Sacré-Coeur and I suggest grabbing a road map and exploring well beyond the main artists’ square Place du Tertre.
1. Visit the Basilica Sacré-Couer
The Basilica of Sacré-Couer is an iconic landmark overlooking the city. It’s a beautiful church and you can enter free of charge. You can still attend mass if you’re interested. You have a wonderful view of the city as well.
2. Walk the cobblestone streets of Montmartre
The many cobblestone streets in Montmartre are lined with beautiful buildings. You can find restaurants, cafés, and galleries as you explore through the quiet streets. This is my favourite area in Paris to simply wander aimlessly.
3. Discover amazing cafés, restaurants, and taverns in Montmartre
There are many amazing cafés, restaurants, and taverns in Montmartre. I suggest walking a bit outside the main tourist area, and seeing what you find. The Taverne de Montmartre is located at 25 Rue Gabrielle and is a quaint family-owned restaurant with a cozy atmosphere and a reasonably priced menu with options that the whole family will love.
Le Consulat, located at 18 Rue Norvins, is in the heart of Montmartre and is a quaint café with an interesting history. In my opinion, it’s on my must-visit list. Le Consulat was a well-known hub of activity and a meeting place for many famous artists who lived in Montmartre.
La Maison Rose is located at the corner of rue des Saules and Aubrevoir. The restaurant was opened by Germaine Pichot in 1905 and was frequented by many generations of artists. The menu includes seasonal organic produce and traditional dishes. The Maison Rose was once the subject of a famous Utrillo painting called “The Pink House”.
4. Visit Clos Montmartre, Paris’s secret vineyard.
The Clos Montmartre Vineyard, located at 12-18 rue des Saules, was planted in 1933 on this steep north-facing hill in Montmartre near the rue des Saules and rue Saint-Vincent. A group of artists stopped a real estate development in the 1920s that would have paved over this plot of land. The vineyard, which is now funded by the Mairie de Paris, is the only remaining and working vineyard in Paris. The vineyard produces around 1500 half-liter bottles a year with most of the labels being designed by local artists. The yield of wine is auctioned off each year with proceeds going to local charities. How amazing is that? Every October they celebrate with a lively harvest festival called Fete des Vendanges. You can arrange a visit through the Montmartre Tourist office at Place du Tertre, however, I suggest just strolling by and enjoying the view of the vineyard and the surrounding cobblestone streets.
5. Visit the Musée de Montmartre
The Musée de Montmartre is located at 12 rue Cortot in the heart of Montmartre. It’s a charming museum with beautiful garden space. There are three gardens surrounding the Museum of Montmartre that are dedicated to Auguste Renoir who lived on-site between 1875 – 1877. The gardens offer beautiful views of the vineyard, as well as the northern cityscape of Paris.
6. Visit the famous Au Lapin Agile restaurant and cabaret.
The celebrated Au Lapin Agile is one of the oldest cabarets and restaurants in Paris located near the Clos Montmartre vineyard. This was once the centre of bohemian life in Paris and a popular meeting place for artists and writers. It’s a beautiful cottage-like building that was built in 1795. Cabaret shows are performed Tuesday to Sunday evenings after 9 p.m., so if you’re traveling with family, I suggest just checking it out during the daytime while you’re exploring the streets of Montmartre. It’s a pretty cool building.
7. Visit the Wall of I Love you, “Le Mur de Je t’Aime
The I Love You wall is located at the Place des Abbesses which is one metro stop away from Montmartre. It will take you about 10 minutes to walk here from the base of the Basilica Sacré Couer. There are quaint gardens and it’s also free of charge. This love-themed public art installation was created by calligraphist Frédéric Baron and mural artist Claire Kito in 2000. The words “I love you” are written in 250 languages.
8. Visit Place du Tertre, the bustling artist’s square in Montmartre
The Place du Tertre is a lively square located in the heart of Montmartre. It’s a fantastic place to people watch. You’ll see artists with their easels and many art galleries and boutiques surrounding the square. Although there are many restaurants surrounding the square, I recommend venturing further out into the streets of Montmartre where you’ll find authentic cafés, and restaurants.
Montmartre is the best area to be a flaneur and simply wander aimlessly through the streets. It’s in the areas surrounding the main tourist area of Place du Tertre and Basilica Sacré-Couer where you’ll discover hidden gems and enjoy the beauty of the quiet cobblestone streets and beautiful architecture.
HEY THERE, I’M JEN
I’m a photographer, creative director, and brand consultant. I help entrepreneurs and businesses shine by creating images for their brand that will beautifully tell their brand story. I create art for your business, your life, and your home.
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