Montmartre is the quarter of Paris dedicated to bohemian lifestyle, art, dreams and fairy tails.
A decent amount of travelers coming to Paris choose to stay in this neighborhood because of what it represents. Montmartre is full of arts and sceneries and offers a lot of top attractions you will like.
Here you will find all the things you should know before going there ! Let's start with the most important ones.
What is Montmartre ?
Montmartre is a hill looking over the Paris landscape. Starting from the Roman Empire, this hilltop had been accommodating temples, monasteries and villages for 2000 years. The completion of the gigantic Sacré-Coeur Basilica just a century ago added a certain landmark as well.
However, the international fame of the Montmartre neighborhood emerged in the late 19th century, when the city of Paris had dramatically grown. That former village became an adjacent part of Paris, much more distinct than the other ones, both in cultural and moral terms.
In a few decades, Montmartre was a perfect nest for the artistic groups and uncommon people coming to Paris. Soon enough, Montmartre became the biggest stage of art in the world.
Today, it is still preserving its vintage and rustic style that gives Montmartre its magical atmosphere.
Where is Montmartre ?
Montmartre is in the 18th Arrondissement (District) of Paris City. Geographically it covers the northern part of the Right Bank behind the Boulevards de Clichy and de Rochechouart.
Here is a map to locate the Montmartre neighbourhood in Paris:
How can I go to Montmartre ?
It does not count as a Montmartre visit unless you go to the Sacré-Coeur Basilica. So the info below presents with alternatives how to get there:
- The shortest way to go up to the terrace in front of the Sacré-Coeur Basilica is the funicular from the Square Louise Michel. It is just one stop, elevator like lift just to reach to the top.
- If you would rather walk, you may start from the Abbesses Metro Station on the Line 12, and climb the rest of the hill through the cobbled-stone streets of Montmartre.
- Lamarck – Caulaincourt Station (also on the Line 12) is another option to come from the opposite side of the hill
What can I see in Montmartre ?
A great panoramic Paris view, a unique and stunning church, pretty squares along cobbled stone streets filled with colorful shops... and these are not even near all !
There are works and real life stories of great artists like Modigliani, Dali, Van Gogh, Renoir and many more. Do you prefer to take a couple of nights out ? Montmartre might offer several options including Pigalle, the red-light quarter of Paris. This hill is a perfect place for strolling and discovering arts, culture and take good photos.
Eventually, Montmartre does not have a giant museum or boulevards. On the contrary, it is a charming quarter of Paris full of extraordinary people, intense stories and interesting details. In order to benefit of the most of Montmartre, having a plan helps a lot along through its narrow and irregular streets.
Best things to do in Montmartre
Let's make a list of top sights of Montmartre:
1. Sacré-Coeur Basilica
The name of this Catholic temple translates as the Sacred Heart of Christ, that is what the construction was dedicated to. Sacré-Coeur Basilica simply stands on the top of Montmartre hill towards Paris. It is is the second most visited religious building in Paris after Notre-Dame Cathedral.
The parvis area before the basilica is popular for the visitors and always crowded. There are three levels of terraces where you will find everybody trying to have their best photos with Paris or the monument in the background.
The structure is quite interesting both from outside and inside starting from its hybrid style blending the Roman and Byzantine continuity.
Tickets & Admission to Sacré-Coeur Basilica Paris
The entrance to the Sacré-Coeur is free and open every day between 6:30 am and 8 pm. Still there is a security check that could mean a very short waiting time.
No guided tours are allowed inside the basilica to maintain the silence. The church has its downloadable audios and official books at its store that costs around 5 €.
The only paid-entrance is for the dome. The entrance is at the left-hand side before the entrance of the church. There are 300 steps to climb as no elevators to use. The cost of a ticket is 6 €.
The dome of Sacré-Coeur is open everyday from 8.30 am to 8 pm (May to October) and 9 am to 5 pm (November to April)
2. Montmartre Museum
A very traditional house of the neighborhood that was used by the local artists back in the age called "la Belle Epoque". In short, this museum will give you a real sense of this area vibrates.
Tickets & Admission to Musée de Montmartre
The Montmartre Museum is open from 11 am to 6 pm except Mondays and Tuesdays. The admission is 13€ for adults. There is a student discount and children under 10 are free.
3. Place du Tertre
Place du Tertre is a pretty cute square occupied by local artists and surrounded by bistros and cafés at the heart of the Montmartre Hill. The square and the streets around are quite pleasant to make a break particularly during the less popular hours.
4. Saint-Pierre de Montmartre
Saint-Pierre de Montmartre Church had been a part of the royal abbey back in the middle ages, a monastery complex since the early history of Paris.
According to the tradition, Saint-Denis, the first Bishop of Paris, was professing the faith and growing the Christian community. There are many layers of history inside all visible on the architectural, decorative or theological elements. The doors are usually kept open until 6 pm.
5. Vignes du Clos
The last piece of vineyard of this former village of Montmartre is a hidden gem of Paris.
Every year in October, the festival brings thousands of Parisians for 5 days since 1934, in order to celebrate the last bit of pastoral life. Even you don't coincide with the harvest, this tiny bit of greenery put a smile on one's face nevertheless.
6. The Windmills of Montmartre
The most essential elements of this rustic neighborhood are its still surviving couple of windmills. They could take you to a different age with their stories. Some of them are open to the public.
7. Moulin Rouge
Last but not least, down at the foothill, Pigalle is famous for its night life and of course, one of the best theaters in Paris, the iconic Moulin Rouge ! You may want to have a look... or you will regret it for ever !
- Tip : Get your tickets to the Moulin Rouge in Paris.
Now you know everything about Montmartre Quarter. Do you know other quarters of Paris ? We recommend you to discover the intellectual Latin Quarter, l'Île de la Cité rich of history or the very fancy Le Marais Quarter. They all tell a different story.
If you have questions about Montmartre, ask us in the comments below !