A walk in the heart of Montmartre

Explore this pretty corner of Paris, home to the Sacré-Cœur, the funicular, famous squares and even a vineyard.

This walk starts outside the Marché Saint-Pierre. It takes you on an insider’s tour of the world-famous Montmartre Hill, ending up at place des Abbesses. You’ll walk up to the Sacré-Cœur, and then back down to the pretty Abbesses district. This fascinating area is a village within the city, with cobbled streets and a secret to unearth around every corner.

1/ Marché Saint-Pierre

The marché Saint-Pierre, just a short stroll from the multi-cultural Barbès district, is popular with not only Paris’s dressmakers, but also its interior designers and fashion designers. Shops full of rolls of fabric and voile in a vast range of colours and materials (cotton, silk and woollen fabrics for clothing; velvet, toile de Jouy and damask pour furnishing) is the biggest fabric market in Paris, and perhaps in the world. Fabrics are sold by the metre. The shop staff always have their measuring tapes and scissors to hand, ready to cut the length of material each customer needs.

Marché Saint-Pierre - Streets d'Orsel, Charles Nodier, Livingstone, Seveste, Pierre Picard and the Place Saint-Pierre, Paris 18th

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2/ Halle Saint-Pierre

Looking across the road, you will see an attractive brick building, the Halle Saint-Pierre. It was built in 1868 as a covered market by a follower of the famous architect Baltard and has had a range of uses since. In 1986, it became an exhibition space dedicated to art brut and art singulier. It also houses a bookshop and a cafe.

Halle Saint-Pierre - 2 rue Ronsard, Paris 18th

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3/ Square Louise Michel and the Montmartre funicular railway

Walk around the halle Saint-Pierre to place Saint-Pierre, where you will find the entrance to Square Louise Michel. With Le Ronsard Brasserie behind you, look upwards and drink in the fabulous view of the Sacré-Cœur. The gently sloping square embraces the hilltop. Around a wide central lawn lined with steps leading to a monumental fountain by Paul Gasq is a maze of bucolic paths overlooking splendid century-old trees. The Montmartre funicular, accessible with a simple metro ticket, tranports passengers effortlessly up to the Square Nadar and the Basilica. More sporty types can climb the steps in Square Louise Michel or the 222 steps in Rue Foyatier.

Did you know? Pretty Rue Foyatier is completely made up of staircases, leading all the way to the top of the hill. This is the classic Montmartre of black-and-white photos, and it is one of the only roads in Paris without a single inhabitant.

Square Louise Michel - 6 place Saint-Pierre, Paris 18th

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Square Nadar - 2 rue Saint-Eleuthère, Paris 18th

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Funiculaire de Montmartre - Rue Foyatier, Paris 18th

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4/ Arènes de Montmartre

You could be forgiven for thinking this small stone amphitheatre dated back to Roman times, but it is actually far more recent: it was built in 1941 as a venue for open-air performances. The Arènes de Montmartre Garden is only open when there is an event being staged. Walk along the side of the garden up rue Chappe, another street of staircases parallel to rue Foyatier.

Jardin des Arènes de Montmartre - 25 rue Chappe, Paris 18th

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5/ The Sacré-Cœur basilica

Montmartre was chosen as the site of the Sacré-Cœur, one of Paris’s major religious buildings, after the Paris Commune uprising (1871). Ground was broken in 1875 and the basilica took half a century to build. It was officially completed in 1923. Today, it is one of the most-visited sites in Paris. It has a highly distinctive appearance: it is white, 83 metres high, with an immense two-storey porch, five domes (one big round dome surrounded by four lantern towers) and a bell tower with the largest bell in France (19 tonnes). The basilica is decorated with France’s largest mosaic. The crypt and the dome are also open to visitors. The Sacré-Cœur is one of Paris’s most iconic monuments. It is open every day, and admission is free. The parvis in front of the building is just as well known, for its unique views across the city.

Did you know? Montmartre has been a place of worship since Gallo-Roman times. It was originally known as ‘Mont des Martyrs’, or martyrs’ mount.

Basilique du Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre - Parvis du Sacré-Cœur - 35 rue du Chevalier de la Barre, Paris 18th

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6/ Place du Tertre

From the Sacré-Cœur parvis, it’s just a short walk to place du Tertre, Montmartre’s most famous square.  This small public square in the centre of Montmartre district was known as a place where local artists congregated as early as the nineteenth century. And the tradition continues today. Some 300 landscape and portrait artists make the square their studio, taking turns to display their work or create an image of you. A portrait makes a fabulous souvenir of Paris! And why not sit down in one of the restaurants around the square and enjoy a meal as you soak up the village atmosphere?

Did you know? Montmartre has always been a favourite with artists. To name but a few, it has been home to Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Emile Zola, Jacques Prévert, Jean Cocteau and Édith Piaf.

Place du Tertre, Paris 18th

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7/ Dalí Paris

As you follow the signs to the Dalí Paris Museum, you will cross place du Calvaire, a small square dominated by a large house with an intriguing art nouveau front door. You are looking at the maison Neumont, built in 1905 by the painter Maurice Neumont. Place du Calvaire leads to the Dalí Paris Museum, an exhibition space dedicated to Catalonia’s most celebrated artist, Salvador Dalí. It displays more than 300 of his works (paintings, sculptures, engravings, objects and furniture), from the private collection of curator and art collector Beniamino Levi.

Dalí Paris - 11 rue Poulbot, Paris 18th

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8/ Musée de Montmartre

Number 12, rue Cortot is the oldest house in Montmartre. It is the former home of the painter Auguste Renoir, and it is here that he painted many of his masterpieces, including Bal du moulin de la Galette and La Balançoire (which you can see at the musée d’Orsay). The former studios, where Raoul Dufy and Maurice Utrillo also worked, now house the Musée de Montmartre. It tells the story of the district and how it buzzed with artistic talent. Behind the museum, the elegant jardins Renoir offer stunning views over the Clos Montmartre vineyard. Round off your visit to the museum with a stroll in the gardens and a refreshing drink on the sun-drenched terrace at Café Renoir.

Musée de Montmartre - Jardins Renoir - 12 rue Cortot, Paris 18th

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9/ Jardin sauvage Saint-Vincent

A little corner of wild nature like this one is rare in Paris. Vegetation has been given free reign, and the 2,000m² garden is home to ivy-covered trees and bushes, a pond and a whole ecosystem teeming with life. The jardin sauvage Saint-Vincent is open for guided tours only, from 1 April to 31 October.

Jardin sauvage Saint-Vincent - 17 rue Saint-Vincent, Paris 18th

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10/ The Lapin Agile and the Maison Rose

The colourful, distinctive facades of Au Lapin Agile and the Maison Rose form an integral part of Montmartre. Today, they frequently feature in photos. In the past, they were key to the district’s history. Numerous artists enjoyed shows at the Lapin Agile - among them Paul Verlaine, Auguste Renoir, Amedeo Modigliani, Guillaume Apollinaire, Guy de Maupassant and Pablo Picasso. It is one of Paris’s oldest cabarets still in operation. The history of the Maison Rose is similar. It was opened by Laure Germaine Gargallo, a model who was married to the painter Ramon Pichot, a friend of Picasso, as an inexpensive restaurant in the early 20th century. It was frequented, among others, by Albert Camus, Suzanne Valadon and Maurice Utrillo. Today, it is a little gem of a restaurant with a menu focused on local produce and a welcoming and creative vibe, popular with locals, Parisians and visitors alike.

Au Lapin Agile - 22 rue des Saules, Paris 18th

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La Maison Rose - 2 rue de l’Abreuvoir, Paris 18th

11/ Clos Montmartre - Montmartre Vineyard

Yes, Montmartre has a vineyard! You will find Le Clos Montmartre - its official name - with its 2,000 vines, on the corner of rue des Saules and rue Saint-Vincent. Each year, it produces a maximum of 1,000 bottles which are quickly snapped up. Every October, a festival is organized outside the Sacré-Cœur to celebrate the harvest.

Clos Montmartre - Vigne de Montmartre - Rue des Saules, Paris 18th

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12/ Dalida’s house

No visit to Montmartre is complete without a stop at 11 bis, rue d'Orchampt. This is the house where the Egyptian-born French and Italian singer and actress Dalida lived from 1962, and died on 3 May 1987. She is one of the icons of Montmartre. A short distance away, you will find a pretty little square named after her, with a bronze bust by artist Alain Aslan. Her tomb, in nearby Montmartre Cemetery, is not to be missed either!

Did you know? Besides Dalida, the house at 11 bis, rue d'Orchampt has had a number of other famous residents. Particularly noteworthy was Louis-Ferdinand Céline, who lived there during the Second World War.

Dalida’s house - 11 bis, rue d'Orchampt, Paris 18th

13/ Moulin de la Galette

Le Moulin de la Galette - FaçadeAnother quintessential symbol of Montmartre is Moulin de la Galette. It was an entertainment venue popular with artists. Major painters including Auguste Renoir and Vincent Van Gogh featured it in their work. You can see Auguste Renoir’s Bal du moulin de la Galette at the musée d’Orsay in Paris. Vincent Van Gogh’s oil paintings from the Le Moulin de la Galette series are on display in various major museums across the world (Chicago, Tokyo, Berlin, Buenos Aires and others). The windmill itself is closed to the public, but you can eat in the restaurant of the same name, just below the monument.

Le Moulin de la Galette - 75-77 rue Lepic, Paris 18th

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Le Moulin de la Galette (restaurant) - 83 rue Lepic, Paris 18th

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14/ Avenue Junot and villa Léandre

Paris is full of fascinating hidden streets, concealed cul-de-sacs and discreet driveways. This is often where you will find elegant houses and lush gardens tucked away. Square Montsouris in the 14th arrondissement and Cité des Fleurs in the 17th are two examples. But Montmartre has a hidden street too: villa Léandre. To see it, first head off the beaten track and find avenue Junot. It is famous for its artists’ studios and stylish town houses. At number 15, you can admire a stunning property which belonged to Dada poet Tristan Tzara.

Avenue Junot et villa Léandre, Paris 18th

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15/ The Montmartre Cemetery

Wandering around Montmartre’s extensive cemetery is another great way to soak up the history of the area and its lively culture and art scenes, both past and present. There are 20,000 tombs in the cemetery. It extends on both sides of rue Caulaincourt and is proud to be the final resting place of many of France’s most celebrated personalities. Naturally, the arts are strongly represented, with actors, painters, musicians, composers, authors, film directors, opera stars and more, but there are also military figures, politicians, architects, mathematicians, physicists, historians and surgeons buried in the cemetery. Some of the most famous graves you will find are those of Edgar Degas, Gustave Moreau, Hector Berlioz, Sacha Guitry, Georges Feydeau, Stendhal, Théophile Gautier and Alfred de Vigny. There is also a striking monument to Émile Zola, whose ashes lie in the Panthéon. Last but not least, don’t miss Dalida’s spectacular tomb. On it stands a life-size statue of her facing towards Montmartre Hill, backed by a golden sun, the rays beaming out like a halo.

Cimetière de Montmartre - 20 avenue Rachel, Paris 18th

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16/ Mur des Je t'aime

Paris is called the City of Love, so it’s no surprise to learn that it has an ‘I love you’ wall. You can find this touching work by artist Frédéric Baron - who collected the phrase ‘I love you’ in more than 300 different languages and dialects - in square Jehan Rictus on place des Abbesses. Baron worked with a calligrapher and a painted-wall specialist to create his work on a wall 4m high and 10m long.

Mur des je t'aime - Square Jehan Rictus, Paris 18th

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Square Jehan Rictus - 14 place des Abbesses, Paris 18th

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17/ Place des Abbesses

This is the ideal place to sample the Parisian lifestyle. Opposite the cafe terraces in place des Abbesses stands Saint-Jean de Montmartre Church. It is known as ‘Our Lady of the Bricks’ in honour of its art nouveau style brick facade. The cafes make the ideal vantage point from which to spend a few minutes watching life in the pretty square. It is the epitome of Paris, with all the typical street furniture: a Wallace fountain, an art nouveau metro entrance (created by Hector Guimard himself), a newspaper kiosk, a street bench, lamp posts and a merry-go-round. This is the finishing point for your walk, and an ideal final impression of Montmartre.

Did you know? Abbesses metro station, the entrance to which is in the square, is Paris’s deepest. The platforms are 36 metres below ground level. You can reach them via a long spiral staircase, decorated with murals. If that sounds a little strenuous, rest assured, there is a lift!

Place des Abbesses, Paris 18th

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Eglise Saint-Jean de Montmartre - 19 rue des Abbesses, Paris 18th

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