Hip, trendy and vibrant: these are the three words I’d use to describe Paris’ quirkiest neighbourhood. Montmartre has been the haunt of artists, writers and actors alike for decades.
With its charming cobblestone roads, quaint cafés and vintage charm, you can’t go wrong by dedicating at least an afternoon to wandering around the district – just make sure that you bring a camera along- you’ll need it for all the postcard perfect moments that you’ll encounter! So here’s a quick guide on everything you should see, do and photograph in Montmartre:
Enjoy the view from above
First things first: most tourists and travellers first venture up to Montmartre for the view. And if that’s your plan too, then I promise that you won’t be disappointed! For maximum effect, head to the very top of the Sacré-Coeur plateau for sunrise or sunset to catch one of the very best views of the city with golden lighting; you can even play hide and seek with the Eiffel Tower!
As many of you will probably already known, the Sacré-Coeur Basilica sits at the very top of Montmartre – a whole 130m above sea level to be precise! Open from 6 a.m. on a daily basis, the church is free to visit. Not only is this architectural masterpiece a must see for any first time visitor to Paris, but there’s also the possibility of going up into one of the domed towers to see Paris from even higher up.
Little known fact: Surprisingly the Sacré-Coeur keeps its chalky white appearance, not because of a monthly clean (can you even imagine how difficult that would be?), but because every time it rains, the calcite contained within the stone acts as a natural bleach for the stone.
When visiting, make sure to take advantage of all sides of Sacré-Coeur. For example, the park where the photo below was taken (literally just behind the Sacré-Coeur) is the perfect picnic spot in summer; full of Wisteria and not too busy!
So if you’ve read this far, then great! Unfortunately, this is as far as many visitors go in Montmartre . This is obviously a shame because the district has so much more to see than just the Sacré-Coeur Basilica and the view:
People watch from Le Consulat
If there’s one café you should make a point of visiting during your stay in Paris, make it Le Consulat. Barely a day goes by when I don’t spy this cute café when scrolling through my Instagram feed. And for good reason; the café is situated in the very heart of Montmartre, a mere stone’s throw from the Sacré-Coeur. So order an expresso, sit back, relax and watch the hustle and bustle of daily Parisian life unfold.
Stroll by Place du Tertre
Situated steps away from Le Consulat, Place du Tertre is the very beating core of Montmartre life: bustling with cafés and quirky boutiques, the square also happens to be full of artists painting en plein air.
Each day, dozens of artists flock here so that tourists can purchase their adorable wares; think cute watercolours of cafés and the opportunity to have your caricature drawn. It may sound like a cliché and it probably is, but it’s still worth visiting- even if it’s just to say that you’ve been!
Go by La Maison Rose
If you’re looking to shoot some travel snaps (or even something a little more serious), then La Maison Rose shouldn’t be left off your list. Sitting at the very end on what is easily the most picturesque road in Paris (Place Dalida), La Maison Rose is one of Montmartre’s most famous restaurants.
Peek at the Montmartre Vineyard
Surprise! Paris has vineyards and the Montmartre vineyard is just one of a surviving few…
I must admit that when I first stumbled upon the vineyard when exploring the streets behind the Sacré-Coeur, I was pretty surprised! Who knew that vineyards could even survive in the city of lights, let alone thrive? Unfortunately, the vineyard is closed to the public, but it’s still pretty cool to see.
Visit the Montmartre Museum
So, as you’ve probably guessed from all this, Montmartre is pretty busy! It can sometimes be overwhelming so if you’re looking to get a little bit away from the hustle and bustle of Montmartre, then why not visit Montmartre museum? Adjacent to the vineyard, you’ll find one of the smaller and less frequented ‘house museums’ in the city of lights. It’s the oldest building in Montmartre and it was here that famous artists such as Auguste Renoir congregated.
Within the museum grounds, you’ll find the rather tranquil Renoir Gardens. In the spring, you’ll hear birds chirping and find cherry blossoms blooming. It’s all too easy to forget that you’re in one of the busiest areas of one of the world’s most popular capital cities.
Have you visited Montmartre?