With its winding cobbled streets, local shops, lively cafes and street artists, Montmartre is the epitome of French character. Despite being quite touristy in areas, Montmartre is a designated historic area and has managed to retain much of its authenticity and romantic charm. A walk through Montmartre feels like you’ve stepped back in time. Most visitors head to Montmartre to see the Basilique du Sacré Coeur, the Place du Tertre and of course, Moulin Rouge. But there is so much more to this neighbourhood than these famous landmarks. Spend a day wandering around Montmartre and you’ll find a village that is quite unlike anywhere else in Paris. Here are a few of the places that make Montmartre such a charming area to explore.
1. Rue de l’Abreuvoir
There are so many beautiful streets in Montmartre but Rue de l’Abreuvoir is my favourite. This picturesque, cobbled street is a popular place for painters. Standing at the bottom of the street, you can almost picture Monet, Picasso and Van Gough all sat with their easels painting this pretty scene when they lived in Montmartre.
2. La Maison Rose
Located at the top of Rue de l’Abreuvoir, La Maison Rose is an important part of Montmartre’s history. The restaurant was opened in 1905 by Germaine and Ramon Pichot and was frequented by generations of famous artists, including Maurice Utrillo, Modigliani and Pablo Picasso, who was friends with the owners. Its pastel pink façade and green shutters have made it an Instagram favourite but it’s also worth going inside to see the vintage décor and sample some of the traditional French dishes.
3. Rue Cortot
Just across from La Maison Rose lies another fairy tale street, Rue Cortot. There is something very enchanting about the cobbled street with its ivy covered buildings. Further up the street you’ll see the old water tower and the stone clock tower which look like part of a castle from a distance. Rue Cortot is also home to the oldest building in Paris, Bel-Air House, which now houses the Musée de Montmartre. Built in the 17th century, the former residence was a meeting place for many artists including Auguste Renoir who had a studio here.
4. Clos Montmartre Vineyard
Just down the road from La Maison Rose, you’ll find Le Clos Montmartre, the oldest working vineyard in Paris. Montmartre was once full of vineyards but many were destroyed during the French revolution. Clos Montmartre survived and was renewed in 1933 as a way to protect the land from property developers. Today, the vineyard produces about 1500 half-litre bottles of Gamay and Pinot Noir each year which are sold and auctioned for local charities at the annual wine festival, La Fête des Vendanges, which takes place in October. The vineyard is closed to the public but you can still wander round the outside of the railings and admire the colours of the vines.
5. Rue du Mont-Cenis
Built on a hill, steps and winding stairways can be found around every corner in Montmartre. Lined with lampposts, the steps at Rue du Mont-Cenis always make me feel like I’ve walked into an old Hollywood film, especially at night when they’re lit up and create a soft glow. On a clear day you can get a lovely view towards the North of Paris from these steps.
6. Le Consulat
Wander along any street in Montmartre and you’re sure to stumble across some of the cutest cafes in Paris. Le Consulat café is just a few minutes from Sacré Coeur and has plenty of vintage charm. The café has served a number of acclaimed artists and writers over the decades, including Picasso, Monet and Van Gough. If you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy a glass of wine and watch the world go by, this is the place.
7. Le mur des je t’aime
Located on the square at Place des Abbesses, this beautiful mural was designed by Frédéric Baron and Claire Kito and has become a must-see for people visiting the city of romance. The mural is made from 511 dark-blue enamel tiles and features the phrase ‘I love you’ in nearly 250 different languages. The splashes of red over the mural are said to represent parts of a broken heart which the wall tries to bring back together.
8. Lamarck-Caulaincourt Metro Station
You’ll probably recognise this metro station from the numerous Instagram photos. It’s another Parisian icon and one of the most photogenic metro stations in Paris with steps running up both sides and le Refuge bistro across the street. If you enjoy street photography then this is a great place to come as there’s a real buzz and vibrant feel as people go about their day to day activities.
I hope you found this blog post helpful. If you have any recommendations for places to see in Montmartre let me know below. I’d love to hear from you!