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Montmartre Neighborhood

Montmartre Neighborhood

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Why you will love it?

Once a bustling village outside Paris’ city walls during the Middle-Ages, Montmartre still retains its village ambiance with small streets, quaint shops, lively restaurants, a tiny vineyard and other fascinating curiosities. Walk in this Paris neighborhood where artists Picasso, Dali and more once did and discover the magic of Montmartre. Enjoy! Parisianist.

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About this place

35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris

Our Insiders' Article


Montmartre is one of the most touristic areas of the city and for a good reason. Filled with narrow winding streets and charming cafés, the area has never lost its village charm. Montmartre is also the highest geographical point in Paris (130,53m). The Haut Montmartre, the upper part of the district located on the hill is generally quieter than the Bas Montmartre, the lower part at the foot of the hill, famous for its nightlife and entertainment.  

Parisianist Tip: The best way to discover Montmartre is to reach the top of its hill and then work your way downhill. From Anvers metro station (Line 2), walk 250 meters via Rue de Steinkerque to arrive at the base of the hill. From here, there are 3 ways to access the top: the cable car (funicular), the 222 steps of Rue Foyatier next to the funicular or the stairs of the central gardens of Sacré Coeur which, in our humble opinion, is the best way.


The Montmartre district has 3 main attractions.

- Streets and ambiance: Montmartre has always kept its village ambiance, with its lively small streets, cafés and shops.

- Art and shopping: A lot of world famous artists such as Picasso and Dali have lived in Montmartre, and the artistic tradition lives on with many art galleries and street artists on and around Place du Tertre.

- Architecture: The Sacré Coeur Basilica is probably the most iconic monument of Montmartre, but it is surely not the only one. 


The name Montmartre most likely comes from the latin name Mons Martis, the mountain of Mars, as during the 1st and 2nd centuries, there was a temple dedicated to Mars, the God of War, on top of the hill. Yet, some say it comes from Mons Martyrum, the mountain of the Martyr, with reference to Saint Denis, the first bishop of Paris that became its martyr patron.

Parisianist Fast Fact: Beheaded because of his clandestine church (Christianity was not tolerated in the 3rd century), it is believed that Saint Denis carried his own decapitated head 6km down the hill of Montmartre northwards and finally died at the exact point where the Basilica of Saint Denis was built.



In 1784, a wall was built around Paris in order to tax incoming products, especially wine. As a result, lower Montmartre (at the time Montmartre was not a part of Paris) became an area of cheap wine and entertainment. The upper part of Montmartre remained a quiet village though, something that is still true today, even after 1860 when Montmartre became an integral part of Paris.

Parisianist Fun Fact: The quiet and unique atmosphere of Montmartre attracted a lot of world renowned artists such as Picasso and Dali, who lived and enjoyed their time here.


Truly the main highlight of Montmartre is the Sacré Coeur Basilica (free / open daily 6AM to 10:30PM) which happens to be the second most visited monument in Paris. Construction lasted from 1873 to 1914 but its consecration was forestalled by WWI until 1919. The Sacré Coeur (Holy Heart) Basilica is a place of perpetual prayer for world peace, day and night, and houses the largest mosaic decoration in France. The view from the dome (8€) of Paris is breathtaking, but the climb is quite difficult (300 steps on a narrow staircase).

Parisianist Fun Fact: Between the Sacré Coeur and Place du Tertre is one of the oldest churches in Paris, Saint Pierre de Montmartre. The 4 very old columns in the apse are the last remains of a roman temple which stood here some 1800 years ago.


Montmartre is all about art: very famous artists have lived or enjoyed a drink in one of the many cafés or cabarets of Montmartre, such as Picasso, Renoir, Van Gogh and Monet.  The Bateau Lavoir on Rue Ravignan was where Picasso had his first ateliers! Today, the spirit of art carries on, mostly on Place du Tertre where very talented street artists brush the portraits of visitors every day. There are also many art galleries located in the small streets near Place du Tertre.

Parisianist Fun Fact: Some of the artists that have lived in and adored Montmartre are buried in Montmartre Cemetery, on the lower part of Montmartre, such as Dalida, an iconic French singer!

Upper Montmartre

The upper part of Montmartre, or Haut Montmartre, has always been the quieter residential part of the district, although there were a few historically famous entertainment areas such as the Lapin Agile cabaret and bar, or the Moulin de la Galette. The area still has its own vineyard today.

Parisianist Fun Fact: 14 windmills were scattered in the area and produced flour and bread for Montmartre inhabitants in the 18th century. Only 2 windmills survived, one being the “Radet” built in 1717 and now placed above the Moulin de la Galette restaurant. Of course, there is the iconic Moulin Rouge (Red Windmill) cabaret, but this one is not authentic.

Lower Montmartre

Historically, the lower Montmartre, or Bas Montmartre, was the cheap entertainment and drinking area outside Paris. The tradition of entertainment still lives on today. The area of Pigalle, mostly famous for being the red light district of Paris, is filled with lively bars and restaurants, and quite a lot of sex-shops. French cabarets such as Michou or the world famous Moulin Rouge, are also a primary draw to the area for visitors.

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


Most of the shopping is done in the lower Montmartre area. Rue de Steinkerque, linking Anvers metro station to the foot of the Sacré Coeur gardens, is one of the busiest tourist streets in Paris, with a high concentration of souvenir shops. Rue des Abbesses is probably the main shopping street in the area, with a wide variety of clothing, beauty, art and souvenir shops. If you are looking to buy something related to art, your best bet is heading to Rue Norvins in the Upper Montmartre area

Parisianist Tip: Sunday is an especially popular day to visit Montmartre as it’s one of the few areas in Paris whose shops are open and whose streets are closed to become pedestrian only.


There are two small yet very interesting museums located in upper Montmartre. The Montmartre Museum (12 rue Cordot, 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. The Dali Museum (11 Rue Poulbot / 6€ / 10AM-6PM daily) is 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 of the Spanish artist.

Parisianist Fun Fact: The Erotic Museum (72 Boulevard de Clichy, 10€, 10AM-2AM daily) has a funny collection of erotic objects and paintings, but is of minor interest.

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