Walk around Montmartre cemetery

Stunning views, cobbled streets, tucked-away squares … discover a little-known side of Paris’s 18th arrondissement

Taking in cobbled streets, tucked-away squares, local cafés and stunning views of Paris and the Sacré-Cœur, this walk invites you to explore a less well-known side of the 18th arrondissement. Circling around Montmartre cemetery, which remains the main theme, it leads you on a discovery trail of the western side of the ‘Butte’ (Montmartre hill). Put on your walking shoes and set off for an urban hike!

The walk starts outside the metro station at Place de Clichy. Walk to Avenue de Clichy and turn right into Impasse de la Défense.

1 / Le BAL

Tucked away in this dead-end street is Le BAL – an arts project devoted to photography, founded by French photographer Raymond Depardon in 2010. Named Le Bal because it was a dance hall in the 1920s, the venue presents four or five exhibitions each year, and also organizes talks, film screenings and other performances. There is a bookshop specializing in books on photography including rare and limited editions, and the Bal Café offers an elegant setting for lunch, a tea-time break or evening meal.

Le BAL - 6 impasse de la Défense, Paris 18e

 More information about Le BAL

2 / Square des Deux-Nèthes

The BAL’s terrace looks out onto Square des Deux-Nèthes. Enjoy a short stroll around this delightful garden. One of the walls of the surrounding buildings features a giant portrait of Abbé Pierre by the American street artist JonOne.

Square des Deux-Nèthes – 24 avenue de Clichy, Paris 18e

 More information about the Square des Deux-Nèthes

Return to Avenue de Clichy and turn right into Rue Ganneron. A little way along, take a peek into Rue Cavallotti on your right.

3 / The shop-front shutters on Rue Cavallotti

The originality of Rue Cavallotti lies in the murals painted on the metal roller shutters of the shop-fronts. They are reproductions of posters depicting some of the people and places that made bohemian Montmartre famous – the Moulin Rouge, the Chat Noir, and the Moulin de la Galette. To see them, you’ll need to time your visit for early morning, before the shops open, or the evening once they are closed.

Rue Cavallotti, Paris 18e

Retrace your steps, cross Rue Ganneron and go down Rue Hégésippe Moreau.

4 / The Villa des Arts

Tucked away behind number 15 Rue Hégésippe Moreau is the little-known Villa des Arts, built by Henri Cambon in 1890. A number of well-known artists worked here, including Cézanne, Signac, Picabia and Eugène Carrière. The Villa des Arts complex consists of two town houses and a number of glass-roofed artists’ studios, visible from the lower part of Rue Ganneron where it runs alongside the cemetery. Don’t be afraid to open the gate and take a look. Forty-seven of the studios have been restored. These places have seen a good number of artists: from Cézanne, to Signac, via Picabia or Eugène Carrière.

La Villa des Arts – 15 rue Hégésippe Moreau, Paris 18e

5 / The 'L’attrape-cœurs' mural

At the beginning of Rue Etienne Jodelle you come face to face with a giant mural painted on the blind gable end wall of one of the buildings of the Villa Pierre Ginier. The mural, representing a young woman sitting on a heart suspended over the Parisian skyline, is the work of the street artist couple Zag & Sia. The painting is called L’attrape-cœurs (literally ‘the heart-catcher’) which is the French title of J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye.

Villa Pierre Ginier, Paris 18e

Carry on to the end of Rue Etienne Jodelle, and turn right into Avenue de Saint-Ouen.

If you feel like a coffee-break or a refreshing drink, you’ll find plenty of choice at Café Cozette. Choose from its extensive selection of fresh fruit juices or simply opt for an espresso.

Cozette – 20 avenue de Saint-Ouen, Paris 18e

Cross the avenue and go down Passage Saint-Michel.

6 / Saint-Michel des Batignolles Church

A surprise awaits you at Place Saint-Jean – the unusual silhouette of the modern Saint-Michel des Batignolles Church. Its distinguishing features are its red-brick bell-tower and its sober façade decorated simply with coloured mosaics.

Did you know ? The 6-metre tall copper statue of Saint Michael adorning the bell-tower is an exact replica of the one on top of Mont Saint-Michel Abbey.

Saint-Michel des Batignolles Church – 3 place Saint Jean, Paris 17e

Retrace your steps and cross Avenue de Saint-Ouen. At number 30 take a peek through the gate at the tranquil, leafy Cité Pilleux. Turn right into Rue Fauvet and then left to pick up Rue Ganneron again. In passing, admire the elegant façade of the Hôpital Bretonneau.

7 / Square Carpeaux

Rue Ganneron runs into Rue Carpeaux, and the delightful Square Carpeaux on your left is a lovely place to stop for a rest. The road and square are named after the nineteenth-century French painter, sculptor and draughtsman Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, who spent a lot of his time here. During the summer months concerts take place in the bandstand.

Square Carpeaux – 23 rue Carpeaux, Paris 18e

 More information about the square Carpeaux

Go back up Rue Carpeaux, then turn right into Rue Marcadet and carry on to the junction with Rue Duhesme.

If you feel like a coffee-break or a refreshing drink there are plenty of cafés and restaurants to choose from in the streets where Rue Duhesme and Rue Marcadet meet, including La Divette de Montmartre, l’Etoile de Montmartre and the Cave Café. The pavement cafés here are a popular meeting-place with locals. 

La Divette de Montmartre – 136 rue Marcadet, Paris 18e

L’Etoile de Montmartre – 26 rue Duhesme, Paris 18e

Le Cave Café – 134 rue Marcadet, Paris 18e

8 / The stairs and entrance to Lamarck-Caulaincourt metro station

Take Rue de la Fontaine du But and climb the stairs at the end to reach Rue Lamarck and the highly photogenic Lamarck-Caulaincourt metro station. Settle down at the pavement café Le Refuge and observe the ballet of Parisians entering and exiting the legendary metro entrance, immortalised in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s film Amélie (Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain).

Continue your climb – up the stairs of Rue Pierre Dac, across Place Constantin Pecqueur and up the stairs of Rue Girardon.

9 / The Bust of Dalida

At the top of the stairs of Rue Girardon stands sculptor Alain Aslan’s bust of Dalida, the Egyptian-born French-Italian singer who lived in the nearby Rue d’Orchampt. Opposite, Rue de l’Abreuvoir offers a fine panoramic view of the Sacré-Cœur and surrounding houses.

Bust of Dalida – place Dalida, Paris 18e

Venture up the picturesque Allée des Brouillards, best known for its eighteenth-century château, built as a country house. Just a few more steps and you’ll reach Place Casadesus and Rue Simon Dereure. From here, turn left into Avenue Junot.

10 / Avenue Junot and the Villa Léandre

Avenue Junot features a number of elegant town houses. To mention just one, number 15 was designed by the modernist architect Adolf Loos in the late 1920s for Tristan Tzara, poet and founder of the Dada movement. Visitors are also charmed by the Villa Léandre with its brick bow-windowed houses. You could almost imagine for a minute you were in England!

Avenue Junot and Villa Léandre, Paris 18e

 More information about the avenue Junot et la Villa Léandre

At the top of Avenue Junot, turn right into Rue Girardon and walk towards Rue Lepic. From here turn right into Rue Durantin, a small pedestrian street dotted with a number of works of street art.

Turn left into Rue Caulaincourt.

11 / The Terrass’Hotel

The Terrass’ Hôtel is on the corner of Rue Joseph de Maistre. Don’t be afraid to go inside and up to the seventh floor for a stunning rooftop view over the city! As you can imagine, this is a very popular venue in fine weather, and an ideal spot in which to enjoy an apéritif while soaking up the Parisian panorama.

Terrass’Hotel - 12-14 rue Joseph de Maistre, Paris 18e

 More information about the Terrass’ Hôtel

Continue along Rue Caulaincourt, which becomes a bridge spanning the lower part of Montmartre cemetery. On the other side of the bridge, a small stairway on your left leads to Avenue Rachel, where you will find the entrance to the cemetery.

12 / Montmartre cemetery

Given that Montmartre was a favourite haunt of so many artists, it is hardly surprising that many of them chose to be buried in Montmartre cemetery, known officially as the Cimitière du Nord. A plan at the entrance indicates the graves of some 300 famous artists and composers including Hector Berlioz, Jacques Offenbach, Edgar Degas, Michel Berger, France Gall and Vaslav Nijinski. Famous writers such as Emile Zola, Alfred de Vigny, Stendhal, Alexandre Dumas ‘son’ and Georges Feydeau are also buried here, as well as film legends François Truffaut, Jean-Claude Brialy and Sacha Guitry. There are more than 800 trees of 38 different varieties.

Did you know ? One of the most famous personalities buried here is none other than Dalida – whose bust you came across a little earlier on this walk. Her grave features a life-size sculpture by the same artist, Alain Aslan.

Montmartre cemetery - only entry at n° 20 avenue Rachel, Paris 18e

 More information about the cimetière de Montmartre