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Charms of Montmartre Walking Tour

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Why you will love it?

Once a bustling village far outside of Paris during the Middle-Ages, Montmartre has always been highly regarded, especially since Saint Denis apparently walked through these streets carrying his own decapitated head in the 3rd century! Although it eventually became a district of ever growing Paris in 1860, it has kept its village ambiance, with its small streets, vineyard and other fascinating curiosities. Follow the steps of Amelie Poulain and discover the magic of Montmartre. Enjoy! Parisianist.

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About this place

1 Rue de Steinkerque, 75018 Paris
Line 2 - Anvers
Line charms-of-montmartre-walking-tour

Our Insiders' Article

Rue de Steinkerque

Exit the metro station Anvers and, immediately to your right, you will spot Rue de Steinkerque and the Sacré Coeur in the distance. Rue de Steinkerque is probably one of the busiest tourist streets in Paris, as countless visitors take this street to access the stairs and cable car (called “Funiculaire”) leading to the Sacré Coeur and the heart of the Montmartre district. In this street, you will find many souvenir shops. Stop at the antique-looking candy and cookie shop “La Cure Gourmande”  (8 Rue de Steinkerque), or at “Maison Georges Larnicol” Chocolatier (9 Rue de Steinkerque).

Parisianist Tip: DO NOT fall for the classic tourist scams in this area such as “mute” ladies asking you to sign their petition (pick pockets), men offering to make you a bracelet of string (they will ask you to pay for it) or men asking you to join their gambling game (the House always wins).

Sacré Coeur

At the end of Rue de Steinkerque, you have 3 options to reach the Sacré Coeur.

Option1: For a hassle free climb to the top, take a left: the cable car is 50 meters away…

Option 2: Just next to the cable car are also the iconic stairs leading to the Sacré Coeur (a relatively easy climb).

Option 3: Our favorite route to the top is walking straight ahead from the end of Rue de Steinkerque and accessing the Sacré Coeur via its gardens, immortalized in the treasure hunt scene of the movie Amélie from Montmartre. This route offers a beautiful view of the Sacré Coeur, as well as the roofs of Paris. It’s a relatively easy climb up, and well worth it!    

Sacré Coeur

The Sacré Coeur Basilica is the second most visited monument in Paris. Built in the late 1800’s, it is a place of perpetual prayer, day and night, with a particular intention for world peace. From the great statues of Jesus, Joan of Arc and Saint Louis outside, to the largest mosaic decoration in France, a visit to Montmartre without entering the Sacré Coeur would not be complete.

Parisianist Tip: The entrance to the Basilica is free, but its crypt and dome have an entrance fee (8€, entrance on the outside western side, basement level). The view from the dome on Paris is breathtaking, but the climb up is very difficult (300 steps on a narrow staircase).

Chevalier de la Barre

Walk towards the back of the Sacré Coeur, taking Rue du Cardinal Guibert and Rue du Chevalier de la Barre. From here, especially in the park behind the Sacré Coeur, you will have an original photo angle. The wall opposite the Sacré Coeur on the corner of Rue Chevalier de la Barre and Rue de la Bonne was where 2 generals were executed by a firing squad. The generals, having given the order to their troops to shoot on a crowd, were trialed and executed by their own soldiers, the latter refusing to obey the cruel order. This marked the start of the Civil War in 1871.

Parisianist Fun Fact: The name “Chevalier de la Barre” comes from an 18th century young knight (“chevalier”), tortured and decapitated in 1766 for not taking off his hat at the sight of a religious procession!

Saint Vincent Park

Walk down Rue de la Bonne and turn left Rue Saint Vincent. 11bis Rue Saint Vincent, at the junction with Rue du Mont-Cenis, is where French composer Hector Berlioz once lived around 1835. He is now buried in the Montmartre Cemetery, next to his two wives. Still on Rue Saint Vincent, a few meters ahead on the left, you will see the fences of Jardin Sauvage Saint Vincent. This park is voluntarily abandoned to naturally preserve the biodiversity of the region.

Parisianist Tip: The park is closed, but free visits are arranged 2 or 3 times a month. The schedule can be found on the gate. No reservations can be made, you only have to be at the gate on the mentioned date.

Montmartre Vineyard

A bit further down Rue Saint Vincent is where you will find the famous Clos-Montmartre, the only official vineyard inside Paris. Testimonies of vineyards and winemaking in this area go as far back as 944, but throughout the centuries, the cultivated surface has been reduced. The vineyard was abandoned to beggars when Montmartre became a district of Paris in 1860, until the people decided to grow grapes again in 1933. Today, there are 1762 vines in the Clos-Montmartre.

Parisianist Fun Fact: to mock the quality of the Montmartre wine, a 13th century saying goes “The wine of Montmartre: drink a pinte and piss a quart” (1 pinte = 0,93liters / 1 quart = 67 liters).

Le Lapin Agile

Opposite the Clos Montmartre, on the corner of Rue Saint Vincent and Rue des Saules, is the famous cabaret Le Lapin Agile. In the 18th century, unlike the lower parts of Montmartre, the areas on top of the hill were quiet and peaceful, therefore attracting a lot of artists. Le Lapin Agile was a major rendezvous spot for Montmartre bohemian artists. Picasso and Toulouse Lautrec spent time there, and even Charlie Chaplin visited this cabaret.

Parisianist Fun Fact: Although owner “Père Frédé” was a kind hearted man, giving free meals to the poor, he criticized abstract painting trends, preferring traditional realistic paintings. To fool Picasso and his fellow painters, Père Frédé and traditional painter Dorgelès had “Boronali,” an unknown Italian artist, paint an abstract painting. Many artists agreed that “And the sun set on the Adriatic” had its place among the great abstract paintings, until the 2 conspirators revealed that” Boronali” was none other than Père Frédé’s donkey!  They had tied a brush to the animal’s tail!

Château des Brouillards

Continue walking down Rue Saint Vincent alongside the old arches until Place Constantin Pecqueur. Turn left and climb up the stairs to Place Dalida. A statue of Dalida, a famous French singer, is on the square. Immediately turn right in a small walkway. Right at the corner, on the left, is a building called the Château des Brouillards (Castle of the Mist). Built in 1772, it was always surrounded by mist.  The origin of the mysterious mist seems to lie in the natural water sources close to the castle, creating steam with the contact of the fresh outside air.

Parisianist Fun Fact: If you have 7 800 000€, you can try buying the castle. It’s currently for sale.

Saint Denis

At the end of the walkway, turn left and enter the park called Square Suzanne Buisson. Walk up the stairs, and then towards the statue of Saint Denis. He was the first bishop of Paris in the 3rd century. Beheaded because of his clandestine church, Saint Denis carried his own decapitated head 6km down the hill of Montmartre northwards to a suburb of Paris now named after him. Along the way, Saint Denis stopped at the foot of a fountain to wash his head, which is the exact place where you are standing now.

Montmartre Museum

Exit the park in the perspective of Saint Denis’ statue, and turn left on Rue Girardon. At place Dalida, turn right on Rue de l’Abreuvoir. In the 17th century, this road led to a water fountain in Montmartre (Abreuvoir), hence the name. This is also a perfect photo spot: a genuine Montmartre street with the sacré Coeur in the back. If you are in need of a small break, have a tea at La Maison Rose (“The Pink House”) on the corner. Continue straight ahead in Rue Cortot. The Montmartre Museum (12 rue Cortot, 9€, daily 10AM-6PM) has an interesting collection of paintings, photos and artworks of Montmartre’s most prestigious artists, including  paintings by Toulouse Lautrec or Steinlen’s famous “Cabaret du Chat Noir” poster.

Parisianist Tip: don’t forget to visit the beautiful gardens, where Auguste Renoir, a French impressionist, once lived and painted. Erik Satie, a famous French composer, lived on 6 Rue Cortot.


Go to the end of Rue Cortot and turn right on Rue du Mont-Cenis. After looking up at the water tower and passing a few art galleries, turn right in the narrow Rue Saint Rustique. When walking down the street, don’t forget to turn around and see the Sacré Coeur’s massive dome dominating this tiny street. At the end of Rue Saint Rustique is one of the oldest buildings in Montmartre, Café Le Consulat. This 9th century old house was another place where artists such as Picasso, Van Gogh, Sisley or Monet would enjoy a good time.

Parisianist Fun Fact: Utrillo, one of Montmartre’s famous artists painted Le Consulat and the Rue Saint Rustique. Some of his works are exposed at the Centre Georges Pompidou.   

Saint Pierre de Montmartre

Turn left and walk up Rue Norvins towards the Sacré Coeur. With the Rue Saint Rustique, Rue Norvins is the street in Montmartre that best preserved its 18th century village style.  Go all the way to the end of Rue Norvins, past Place du Tertre, to Saint Pierre de Montmartre Church, one of the oldest churches in Paris. Built on the ruins of a Temple of Mercury in the 7th century, the church was part of an order of Saint Benedict’s monastery for nuns. The monastery was dismantled during the French Revolution in 1794, except for the church which miraculously was left unharmed.

Parisian Fun Fact: The 4 very old columns in the apse of Saint Pierre de Montmartre church are the last remains of the Temple of Mercury which stood here some 1800 years ago.

Place du Tertre

Go back to Place du Tertre. Once an execution place controlled by the monastery’s nuns before the 18th century, it is now the rendezvous spots for artists and one of the highlights of the district. Indeed, what you will find on Place du Tertre is the true spirit of Montmartre: Art. Spare a few Euros to get a portrait of yourself done by some very talented artists, or just relax on one of the small terraces while eating a pancake. On the eastern side of Place du Tertre is the old city hall, when Montmartre was still a village outside of Paris before 1860.

Dali Museum

From Place du Tertre, take Rue du Calvaire. Turn right before the staircase, in Rue Poulbot. A few meters ahead lays the Dali Museum (6€ / 10AM-6PM daily), the only museum in Paris dedicated to the master of surrealism. Inside, you will be able to see some of Dali’s creations, including paintings and sculptures. The Spanish artist lived in Paris for several years, having moved to the French capital on the recommendation of Joan Miro, and joined the surrealist movement here, before being banned. He later moved to the United States for 8 years, where he gained world fame before returning to Spain, where he made a sharp artistic turn towards Renaissance art.


Continue down Rue Poulbot until the end (it veers to the right). Take a left turn on Rue Norvins. At 22 Rue Norvins, you will see the Folie Sandrin, a house built in 1774 that served as a mental hospital in the 19th century. Because of the new treatments, in contradiction with the traditional chain and seclusion treatment, many villagers had therapy here. Continue towards the intersection with Rue Girardon downhill. A few meters before the intersection, you will see the statue of the Walk-Through-Walls, taken from the story by French author Marcel Aymé. The book’s gifted main character suddenly loses his ability to walk through walls, only to find himself stuck in the wall, with a painter and his guitar as his only companions.

Parisianist Fun Fact: the book takes place at this very place, on Rue Norvins, where Marcel Aymé lived.


Turn left in Rue Girardon, and at the end of the road, you will see the restaurant “Moulin de la Galette” with a windmill on top. Out of the 14 windmills that once produced flour and bread for Montmartre inhabitants in the 18th century, only 2 survived, one being the “Radet” built in 1717. After the invasion of the Russian troops in 1814, defeating Napoleon, the windmill became a bar, where many artists and writers spent time. After later serving as a radio transmitting office, the lower part of the windmill is now a restaurant since the 1980s.

Parisianist Fun Fact: One of Renoir’s most famous paintings “Le Moulin de la Galette”, depicts the joyful atmosphere of the bar it was before. It is exposed at the Musée d’Orsay.

Bateau Lavoir

Cross Rue Lepic and head in the narrow street of Rue D’Orchampt. At the point where the street makes a sharp left turn, on the right, you will see Dalida’s house (closed to the public). Dalida was a famous French singer who sadly committed suicide in 1987. Walk to the end of Rue d’Orchampt and turn right. Walk alongside the wall on your right hand side, inside the square (Rue Ravignan), and you will see the Bateau Lavoir building. In 1889, this piano manufacture was modified in order to create workshops of artists. Ever since that year, it has welcomed some of the most talented painters and artists in the world. Picasso painted some of his most famous works of his blue and pink periods here, as well as the start of his cubism period.

Parisianist Fun Fact: Although it is still today a place that welcomes international artists, the old workshops were destroyed in a fire in 1970. These cannot be visited.

Place des Abbesses

Go down the stairs and take a left in Rue des 3 Frères. At the first intersection, on the left, you will see a grocery store called “Au Marché de la Butte”, the same store that played the grocery market “Maison Collignon” in the movie Amélie from Montmartre (the “Maison Collignon” sign from the movie is still above the store!). Continue walking down Rue des 3 Frères and turn right on Rue La Vieuville. Walk down the road (it veers to the right) all the way to Place des Abbesses. The name was given in the memory of the nuns (“abbesses”) of the abbey of Montmartre that used to be higher on the hill. Today, it is a very lively square with a few bars, shops and a merry-go-round for kids. On Place des Abbesses, you can visit the red brick Saint Jean de Montmartre church, built in 1904, and in the small park opposite of the church, you will find the wall of love, where the words I Love You” are written in all the languages of the world.

Parisianist Fun Fact: The metro station Abbesses on this square is the deepest subway station in Paris, 36m below the surface.

Moulin Rouge

Walk up Rue des Abbesses to the west. This very lively street is the perfect place for some shopping or to have a drink in one of the numerous cafés. There are also a lot of traditional restaurants, making it a local favourite. Turn left on Rue Lepic (the 4th street on your left), also a very animated and lively street. This street was built by order of Napoleon to easily access the hill of Montmartre. Indeed, he was displeased to have to dismount and finish the muddy path on foot, and therefore ordered the construction of a road. At the end of Rue Lepic is Place Blanche, and its notorious cabaret: the Moulin Rouge. Built in 1889 and inspired by the traditional circus, the cabaret was an instant success and remains one of the most popular shows in Paris today.

Parisianist Fun Fact: the word “Cabaret” means “establishment where drinks are sold” in a French dialect.

Place Pigalle

You can choose two directions. Either take Boulevard de Clichy to the west in order to visit the Montmartre Cemetery one block down (turn right on Avenue Rachel), or to the east to visit the red light district of Pigalle. The origins of Paris’ red light district began in 1784, when Paris built a wall around its perimeter in order to tax incoming products, especially wine. Due to this, the lower part of the village of Montmartre, right outside of the wall, became a place of late night entertainment. Today, the Boulevard de Clichy towards Pigalle still perpetrates this tradition, with many bars, sex shops and even an erotic museum (Musée de l’Erotisme, 72 Boulevard de Clichy, 10€, 10AM-2AM daily). On the other hand, the Montmartre Cemetery contrasts with the loud streets of the surrounding Parisian neighborhood, with beautiful architecture and the final resting places of many famous people. Should you visit the red light district, your nearest metro afterwards is Pigalle. Should you visit the Cemetery, your nearest metro after is Place de Clichy.

Parisianist Tip: should you want to visit both, start with the red light district and finish with the quiet cemetery.

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