Heading to Paris – Montmartre in particular, and looking for the perfect itinerary and what to do in Montmartre? You’ve come to the right spot. Montmartre if my absolute favourite area of Paris and I’ll share with you all the best things to do here!
Most people go to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre. But I go to Paris for Montmartre, Paris’ cutest district located in the 18th Arrondissement of Paris. It is known as the artistic and bohemian district of Paris, and there is a lot of history in this district. There are so many things to do and see in Montmartre that are very close to each other, so Montmartre is definitely best explored on foot.
Montmartre is absolutely a neighbourhood of Paris you HAVE to see – even if you only have 24 hours in Paris.
Head into the back streets behind the Moulin Rouge area and you literally step back in time in Montmartre with its small cafés, cobblestone streets and vintage stores. It has lost none of it’s village charm, and it is hard to believe you are in the centre of Paris! It’s a great place to escape to if you want to get away from the crowds.
This gorgeous artsy hilltop neighbourhood, once covered in windmills (moulins) is like a dream! Full of picturesque streets, Montmartre was an area that inspired many artists such as Picasso, Van Gogh and Renoir.
What To Do In Montmartre – Paris: Montmartre Itinerary
Rue de l’Abreuvoir
The ivy-lined Rue de l’Abreuvoir is a beautiful street in Montmartre that is great for photography. Visit first thing if you want to get photos without people in!
At the bottom of Rue de l’Abreuvoir is Place Dalida. Place Dalida is possibly the prettiest square in Paris, where you will usually come across some artists at their easels painting, just like Van Gogh, Picasso, Renoir and Monet, who all lived and painted in Montmartre, would have done.
In Place Dalida you will also see the bronze bust statue of the icon Dalida here, who the square is named after. Dalida moved from Egypt to Paris, and bought a home in Montmartre where she lived until her death in 1987. She was an important figure in the neighbourhood.
La Maison Rose Cafe
There are plenty of cosy Parisian cafés where you can sit and watch the world go by too. A beautiful place to stop is at the picturesque La Maison Rose at the top of Rue de l’Abreuvoir – a cafe restaurant Picasso frequently visited. Make sure to visit it, it’s one of the most beautiful buildings in Montmartre and has barely changed at all in the last 100 years!
Located on Place Marcel Aymé just around the corner from Rue de l’Abreuvoir is Le Passe-Muraille – a quirky statue of a man stuck in the wall.
The sculpture was inspired by the story written by Marcel Aymé – a writer who was from Montmartre. The story was based on a fictional character who could walk through walls, but after abusing his power he got stuck in a wall.
Square Suzanne Buisson
Opposite Le Passe-Muraille is the Square Suzanne Buisson. It’s a fairly hidden square but it is quite a popular place to visit as the statue of Saint-Denis – the first Bishop of Paris is here. The statue depicts Saint-Denis beheaded, holding his own head. After being decapitated, it is said Saint-Denis walked kilometres around the area – and at the spot where the statue is, is where he stopped to clean his head.
One of the great things about Montmartre is that there are so many backstreets you can wander around and explore the real Paris – without the tourists and the tourist sights.
Avenue Junot, located off Square Suzanne Buisson, is definitely one of those places. Avenue Junot is a very discreet avenue that most tourists don’t even realise it exists, but it is one of the most expensive avenues in the whole of Paris.
Stroll around Avenue Junot and you will find the Hotel Particulier Montmartre – the former residence of the Hermes family that is now an exclusive hotel very popular with celebrities. If you go for a meal or drink at the hotel, you can even visit Montmartre’s Witches Rock via the Passage de la Sorciere – a passage which is generally inaccessible to the general public.
Right next to Hotel Particulier Montmartre is Villa Leandre is a really beautiful street full of British style houses. Make sure to check out Number 10 – that bears a striking resemblance to No 10 Downing Street!
Sacre Coeur Basilica
The Basilique du Sacré-Coeur (Basilica Of The Sacred Heart) sits on top of Montmartre hill and provides a beautiful view of Paris. This is actually the highest point in Paris and it looks so impressive!
The Basilica Sacre Coeur is considered the symbol of Montmartre. Be sure to visit this stunning basilica, although head there early if you wish to avoid the crowds!
If you go inside the Basilica you can find the access to the dome, which is one of the best viewpoints in Paris! To reach the dome you will need to climb 300 steps (!) and this is the second highest viewpoint in Paris after the Eiffel Tower.
Moulins (Windmills) Of Montmartre
There are two moulins in Montmartre very close to each other – one is Moulin Blute-Fin, built in 1662 and the other is Moulin de la Galette, built in 1717 – located on 83 Rue Lepic.
These two windmills (‘moulins’) are the only two remaining windmills of the 14 that once stood in Montmartre.
These windmills were originally used to grind flour, but then they became windmills where people came to eat bread with a glass of milk. In time, this glass of milk got replaced with a glass of wine and cabarets started happening here.
Van Gogh’s Home
Further down Rue Lepic, on the third floor of number 54 Rue Lepic is the apartment where Van Gogh lived from 1886-1888 with his brother. From his window here, he painted many paintings of the Paris skyline, windmills, the Montmartre countryside, as well as his many self-portraits.
Vigne Du Clos Montmartre
You might be surprised to find that you can even find a vineyard in Montmartre! The Vigne Du Clos, as it is known, is just down the street from La Maison Rose. It is one of the last remaining vineyards in Paris and they produce up to 2000 bottles of wine each year from their vines!
Le Clos is closed to the public except for 5 days in October each year – the Grape Harvest Festival, when the vineyard opens its door (make sure to book in advance to visit Le Clos as the Festival is very busy!).
Known as The Cemetery Of The Artists, Montmartre Cemetery is the second largest cemetery in Paris and is certainly worth a visit. It is located opposite the Vigne Du Clos.
Montmartre Cemetery is very beautiful, and known for unique and impressive tombs, such as the tomb of Dalida – the French-Italian singer.
The Museum of Montmartre is a really good place to go to get a deeper understanding of Montmartre. It is housed in one of the oldest buildings in Montmartre and contains many photographs, posters and paintings that depict how life was in Montmartre back in the day. There is also a scale model of Montmartre here.
You can also visit the Renoir Gardens here (dedicated to the famous French painter) for €5, and the view across the Vigne De Clos is spectacular. In this garden was where Renoir painted ‘La balançoire’.
Rue du Chevalier De La Barre
Rue du Chevalier De La Barre is another really picturesque street in Montmartre. It is located very close to Sacre Coeur and is definitely worth a venture down. Stop for a crepe at Au Petit Creux or do some souvenir shopping!
Place Du Tetre
Just around the corner from Rue du Chevalier De La Barre is a beautiful square known as La Place du Tetre. It is also known as the ‘Artist’s Square’ as it is where many artists like to hang out and paint or draw caricatures, and it is a must-see when in Montmartre.
Many cafes line the historic cobbled square, and whilst it does get crowded, it is definitely worth seeing. If you wish to buy a painting, buy it from the artist and not from the souvenir shops here in the square. Almost all the paintings in the shops are made in China, even if it says they are painted at La Place Du Tetre.
Another really Instagrammable place in Montmartre is Le Consulat – a French restaurant known for it’s nostalgic vibe and classic French food. Le Consulat is located on 18 Rue Norvins.
Dali Paris Museum
Not far from Le Consulat is the Dali Paris Museum, located on Rue Poulbot. If you’re a fan of the surrealist Spanish artist, this museum is definitely worth a visit, with over 300 artworks, paintings and sculptures by Salvador Dali.
Visit Moulin Rouge
Head down the hill from Montmartre to the Moulin Rouge to watch the cabaret and famous can-can dance. Tickets are expensive at around €100 per person, but remember this is the birthplace of the French can-can and is probably the most famous cabaret in the world!
Shows are 365 days a year (two shows per night: one at 9pm and one at 11pm), but tickets do sell out extremely fast. The cabaret does feature many topless dancers but is said to be a spectacular show.
If you don’t fancy watching the cabaret, it’s still definitely worth it to come here and view the iconic red windmill from the outside!
The Moulin Rouge is actually located in Pigalle (Paris’ Red Light District) – at 82 Boulevard de Clichy.
The area around Moulin Rouge is a bit of a weird place and although not an unsafe area, it is a bit seedy with many sex shops around. Of course, it is worth it to come here and see the famous Moulin Rouge even just from the outside, also because it is at the base of Montmartre hill, so you can go on to explore bohemian Montmartre from here.
Au Lapin Agile
If you are still keen to watch the cabaret but can’t afford Moulin Rouge prices, there is a much cheaper cabaret available to watch at Au Lapin Agile, which is located next to Vigne Du Clos at 22 Rue Des Saules.
The cabaret at Au Lapin Agile is actually far more authentic than the cabaret at Moulin Rouge. Opened in 1860 and still in operation today, it is the last 19th Century Cabaret in Paris that celebrates French music.
Free Montmartre Walking Tour from Moulin Rouge
If you want to do a guided tour of Montmartre, there is a really good company I can recommend.
The first time I visited Paris I did a guided tour of Montmartre with discoverwalks.com. The tour was brilliant, with 90 minute tours at 11am starting at Moulin Rouge and finishing at Sacre Coeur.
The tour visits many sights such as Chat Noir, windmills, the home of Dalida, Le Passe-Muraille and the best views of Sacre Coeur – all of which could be quite easy to miss without having a local guide show you around.
This is a free walking tour but the average tip per person is €12.
It is also strongly advised to book online beforehand as there is only a maximum of 16 spaces per day.
Alternatively, check out these tours below:
Best Time To Visit Montmartre
Montmartre is a great place to visit year round, however spring and winter and my favourite seasons to visit.
If you visit during the spring the streets will be covered in beautiful flowers which is really beautiful to see. And if you visit during winter, Montmartre hosts it’s Christmas market so there is a really special vibe here, especially if it is snowing!
Bear in mind if you visit during August many of the restaurants and shops in Montmartre will be closed.
How To Get To Montmartre
The most convenient way to get to Montmartre is by Metro. Metro Station Blanche on Metro Line 2 takes you to Pigalle (right outside Moulin Rouge) so you can always start here and walk up the hill to Montmartre, or get off at Metro Station Abbesses on Metro Line 12.
Other Places Near Montmartre To Visit
Cafe des Deux Molins
Within walking distance of Montmartre is the Cafe des Deux Molins – located at 15 Rue Lepic. Cafe des Deux Molins is another authentic cafe in Paris that is worth a visit. Cafe des Deux Molins gained popularity for tourists to visit after the 2001 French movie ‘Le Fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain’ was released and this was the cafe the main character was working in.
This is a great movie to watch before or after your visit to Montmartre, as the majority of the movie is set in Montmartre!
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