A walk in Montmartre
Originally written by Anna in Feb 2020 and updated by Natalie in June 2021
If you’re coming to Paris, you absolutely need to take a walk in Montmartre! This area is the most romantic and awesome place you’ll find in Paris. To visit Montmartre will positively inspire you and wake the artist in you up.
The truth is that usually people that visit Paris go straight to the Sacré-Cœur Basilica or to Place du Tertre, where street artists do tourists portraits and illustrations of the neighborhood.
But there’s so so much more about Montmartre than these! Its narrow alleys, its windmills, its little details, its soul are some of the things that make Montmartre so unique. A walk in Montmartre is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. It’s a walk you won’t be forgetting anytime soon. I’ve already heard people say that Montmartre was the reason why they fell in love with Paris.
Montmartre will turn out to be one of the reasons why you will want to come back to Paris.
Walking in Montmartre
A walk in Montmartre is very physical because it is uphill! If you want to fully enjoy Montmartre and visit the most important landmarks, you will have to do a lot of walking.
My advice would be for you to pick some comfortable shoes when coming to Montmartre and if you happen to come with a baby, prefer a baby carrier rather than a stroller.
If you’re interested in the history of Montmartre, you should know that for a long time it was in conflict with Paris. It was separated from Paris. In 1871, the inhabitants of Montmartre rebelled and created a new system of their own. It was called “La Commune” and they were kind of independent from the city of Paris for about three months. The true Montmartrois are pretty different from the common Parisians. They are revolutionary, free and talk what comes to their mind.
If you get the chance to meet a Montmartrois, you will know about the history of Montmartre and how they feel about it. You can meet our parisian guides during the many walking tours we run in Montmartre.
As you walk in Montmartre, you will quickly understand how it has inspired so many artists such as Picasso and Van Gogh. As you walk up the hill, you need to look at the buildings, the walls, every corner. Because in Montmartre, you are likely to find many surprises all through the walk.
Montmartre is a place where artists feel more at ease to speak their minds and share their thoughts and feelings with the world. Sometimes, they do it by leaving their mark on Montmartre walls. They spread their messages thanks to their paintings and productions on walls. In Montmartre, you will find many different kinds of art and style. The point is to send strong messages. It can be about love, politics, freedom, life in general.
How to visit Montmartre?
These are so many little details Montmartre has to offer, but many times people miss these little gifts because they head straight to the major landmarks such as the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. It is not a bad idea, but my feeling is that there are so much more to do.
If you join a walking tour in Montmartre you will be able to understand our lifestyle. You will learn all about this area and discover everything there is to discover about Montmartre and the mindset of the people. Only the locals will show you the best of Montmartre, away from the typical touristy stuff.
Then, maybe you want to taste the most amazing traditional French food, the most delicious pastries, the best cheeses paired with an award-winning baguette, and many other treats along the way. Hence, I highly recommend you to join a food tour in Paris.
As expected, there many companies operating in this area – it won’t be difficult to find a tour in Paris!
Things to do in Montmartre
Now that you’ve enjoyed a walk through the iconic Montmartre neighborhood, it’s time to discover more about this special area in Paris! And there’s plenty to see and do in Montmartre no matter when you visit.
Visit the Musée de Montmartre
If you’d like to learn a little more about the Bohemian history of Montmartre, you should visit the Musée de Montmartre. The museum was constructed in the 17th century, and is actually the oldest building in all of Montmartre! Over the years, many famous artists like Renoir, Utrillo and Valadon have called this property home, and worked from the studio on site.
Tucked away on the unassuming Rue Cortot,the museum is home to a stunning garden and vineyard, and the swing which inspired Renoir’s the balançoire. Collections include local paintings and sculptures, knick knacks, Montmartre mementos and decorative art in the former house and studio.
musée de montmartre – 12 Rue Cortot, 75018 Paris
open daily 10AM//6PM
metro station: abbesses
Take in stunning views of Paris
You’ve probably realized by now that the Sacré-Coeur is the area’s most famous monument, but did you know you can climb to the top of the towers? Actually, many visitors have no idea!
If you don’t mind climbing a few (hundred) stairs, the towers of Sacré-Coeur Basilica provide one of the most gorgeous views of the city. Perched high 130 meters over Paris, you’ll feel on top of the world here. And this is a great chance to grab some unique photos of the Ville Lumière.
During the high season (May-September) the Dome is open daily from 8:30-20:30.
The low season (October-April) has shorter hours, and is open from 9:00-17:00 daily.
sacré-coeur – 35 rue du chevalier de la barre 75018
Metro: Anvers, Abbesses
Click here to read my guide to the best moments to climb to the top of Sacré-Coeur.
Find a walking tour
Discover the great side of Montmartre with a local guide. Our free (tip-only) tour runs everyday so check out our website!
Maybe you are looking for a food tour? Check out our Montmartre food tour, and even better, our Vegetarian food tour!
So Much to See in Paris…
-> With so much to do in Paris, it’s difficult to choose what to visit. You want to have an amazing experience whilst in Paris…
-> You don’t want to miss Paris’ main attractions
-> Your time is limited
-> Start with a free (tip-only) walking tour of Montmartre – it’s the best way to explore “the old Paris”.
Book your spot now for free (no payment needed). We just want to know how many people will join us! We run Montmartre tours every day at 11am and 2.30pm.
Best Places to Eat in Montmartre
Soul Kitchen in Montmartre
33 RUE LAMARCK
This cafe is the brainchild of three female friends with a passion for people and food who saw a gap in the market in Montmartre.
There are few cafes in this neighborhood with a vegetable-heavy menu. Vegans and vegetarians don’t necessarily struggle in Montmartre, but finding an abundance of options is easy either. At South Kitchen the menu take value in fresh, plant based ingredients with meats and cheeses thrown in here and there. They also offer wonderful fresh juices and smoothies. There is something for everyone in this cafe.
Le Bal Cafe in Montmartre
6 IMPASSE DE LA DÉFENSE
Berry pancakes are a sign of a cafe worth a closer look. Further down Montmartre hill we find le Bal Cafe, a loved spot for the Pigalle and Montmartre residents of Paris.
Le Bal is best for brunch and late lunch. This is when the cafe is at its most vibrant. The dishes are fresh and creative; you’ll also be able to enjoy alcoholic beverages with your food if you so desire. The food is wonderful, but there aren’t many options for vegan and gluten free diners aside from a salad or two. The cuisine is French with a twist of Austrian — as far as I know this is unique to Paris, and especially to Montmartre. The chef himself is Austrian which explains the interesting take on regular dishes.
La Maison Rose in Montmartre
2 Rue de l’Abreuvoir, 75018 Paris, France
Most people are astounded to learn that La Maison Rose actually existed before Montmartre did. To put things into perspective: La Maison Rose has been serving coffee and other things for over 100 years. Picasso was the most loyal patron at this establishment. He had a long standing friendship with the owners and thus made La Maison Rose his preferred hangout spot and occasional work space.
I won’t divulge too deeply into this but I am somewhat of a self proclaimed soup connoisseur — and La Maison Rose has the best French onion soup I’ve tasted in Paris.
If you, like me, don’t enjoy your soups to leave you feeling ten times heavier than when you sat down then you’ll probably agree with my conclusion about the French onion.
Top 5 Reasons to Visit La Maison Rose in Montmartre
Brasserie Thaï in Montmartre
5 Rue Poulbot, 75018 Paris, France
Most of the better restaurants in Montmartre are centered around French cuisine, with a few exceptions.
The Brasserie Thaï bring high quality Thai food to the district on the hill. Owned by Thai immigrants, this is one of the top places to experience these dishes in Paris.
What’s great about authentic Thai cuisines is that there’s always a lot of unintentionally vegan/vegetarian dishes suitable for people who are avoiding meat, dairy and even gluten.
There’s still more to see in Montmartre
- Whenever you’re coming to Montmartre, the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret is unmissable! It is, undoubtedly, the most famous cabaret in the world! Its architecture inspired and keeps inspiring many other cabarets all around the world, from many cities in Europe to Las Vegas. Its name is also universally known, thanks to the 2001 movie by Baz Luhrmann starring Nicole Kidman. The Moulin Rouge is sexy, fun and unique! Tickets can be difficult to obtain at the door. You can buy tickets in advance with Viator.
- Have you ever seen the movie Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain? If you haven’t, you really should! Add this movie to your to-do list! It’s so charming and part of French culture! In my guess, there’s not a single Parisian who has not seen this movie. You’ll love it! The story is simple and very nice. There are so many beautiful scenes in Paris. In the movie, Amélie Poulain moves to Montmartre, so you’ll be seeing a lot of Montmartre! And one place in particular is the Café Deux Moulins where Amélie works! It’s a typical Parisian café where the movie was shot! Definitely, a place you should see during a walk in Montmartre!
- Another great place for you to see when walking Montmartre is Place du Tertre. It’s very close to Basilica of the Sacré Cœur. If you like authentic art and appreciate looking at artists at work, you need to go to this square. Montmartre artists gather in Place du Tertre, do portraits and illustrations of the neighborhood. Many of them live from their art. Also, in case you’re looking for a different type of souvenir from Paris, you can buy little paintings and illustrations of Paris and Montmartre. Buy the paintings directly from the artists, not from the little souvenir shops around the Place du Tertre because they’re fake!
- Le Mur des Je t’aime means The wall of “I love yous” in English. It is located at Place des Abbesses. It’s one of the highlights of a walk in Montmartre because it’s so fun, original and romantic! The words “I love you” are written on the wall in more than 300 different languages. You should go there with your lover and take a picture together! I’m sure it will make a great photo to frame in your living room back home!
- Basilique du Sacré Cœur is obviously one of the things you absolutely need to see during your walk in Montmartre! It is on top of the hill and offers one of the bests views over Paris. When you reach the top and stand in front of the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur with Paris at your feet, it feels as if the time had stopped. It reminds you of how little you are in this world and that life is to be enjoyed. Every moment needs to be cherished. Everytime I go there, I feel like I’ve found the meaning of life! (joking).
- Another great place to see during a walk in Montmartre is the Montmartre Cemetery. If you happen to go there, you will quickly realize that there are plenty of cats wandering there. Well, it is actually their home. In the twentieth century, many cats were abandoned in the cemetery. Municipal services used to capture them and put them down, until a few persons stood up and struggle for animals rights. Cats needed to be fed, treated and castrated. The “L’école du chat“, which means cats school, association was born. Since then, the association kind volunteers feed the cats that live in the Montmartre cemetery and take care of their well-being. Their work has to be rewarded, so don’t hesitate to donate or even to adopt and go back home with a new Parisian friend!
Before reaching the top of Montmartre, there are still so many things to see and visit. For instance, the Place Dalida, the Montmartre vineyard and many more places! If you want to see all the surprises Montmartre has to offer, you should read our complete guide “Top 10 things to do in Montmartre”!
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I hope you’ve enjoyed my article about a walk in Montmartre! And I hope I’ll see you very soon in Montmartre!