Hidden Gems in Montmartre
Technically speaking Montmartre is already a hidden gem of Paris in itself.
The tiny community that exists within the winding streets tend to keep to themselves, and if it weren’t for the incredible Sacré‑Cœur church at the top of the hill this town would probably see a lot less foot traffic.
Montmartre has always been that “tucked away” city. The one nestled into the hills that isn’t always part of the rest of the Parisian chaos. Deep within this tucked away neighborhood Montmartre holds a few hidden gems of its own.
Often the only way to discover the hidden nooks of an area is to rely on word of mouth to lead you to the gems. Taking direction from those who have gone before you is a sure way to mapping out the most inclusive route possible.
The second way to uncover a neighborhoods lesser known attractions is just to walk. This is exactly how I was able to find the hidden gems in Montmartre that I’m going to tell you all about. I walked & walked; aimlessly but observantly.
Montmartre’s narrow streets and cobble stone grounds make it the perfect district to explore by foot. Traffic is virtually unheard of here and the winding roads make for great exercise. If you have time, join me on a free guided walking tour of Montmartre and find the hidden gems in sequence.
If you’ll be exploring on your own, here are a few hidden attractions to keep an eye out for en route!
Hidden Tea Room in Montmartre
12 Rue Cortot
Sometimes referred to as Paris’ ‘most charming’ museum; the Montmartre Museum was founded not so long ago in 1960 in the oldest house in all of Montmartre.
The museum’s collection seeks to tell the tales of the years gone by in the district. It is filled with paintings and posters that do just that. Decades of Montmartre history captured through an array of curated content.
Not many people know that the Montmartre Museum shares the land with a tea room hideaway right there in the gardens. The landscape of the premises is historic in itself because it is where Renoir once sat and created some of his best known masterpieces.
The artist made the space his workshop from 1876. Bal du Moulin de la Galette is a piece that was inspired by this land.
The landscape has since been referred to as Renoir’s gardens and nestled within them is a very small and very secret little tea room that is, surprisingly, open to the public. The set up of iron chairs and tables beneath the towering trees is simply enchanting.
Whether you’re visiting the actual museum or not, make time for this gem in Montmartre. Their home-made iced tea is wonderful on a summers day along with one of their fresh baked pastries to compliment it.
The great thing about this tea room being so hidden and unknown is that you’ll likely always have the space to yourself. Peace and quiet for a few moments as you take in the gardens and consider what it was that Renoir felt when channeling his inspiration from the very same spot.
I like to take a book with me and settle in for a few hours. They have a range of teas to try that will keep you satisfied for more than just a quick visit. If you happen to be in the area with friends then this is still a great place to wander into for a coffee and a cake before continuing on your day of exploration.
Average cost: Under €10
Museum admission: €9.50
Garden entry only: €4
Rue des Saules
As you leave our gem of a tea garden and the Montmartre Museum premises, continue down Rue Cortot and make a right at the end of the road onto Rue des Saules. Our next hidden gem in Montmartre actually shares land with the afore mentioned gardens of Renoir.
Toward the middle of the street you’ll come to the entrance of the Clos vineyard. The Clos vineyard is the only vineyard that is still surviving in the 18th arrondissement.
The actual space is locked up for most of the year and not accessible to the public. However you will still be able to admire the scenery over the light wire fencing that encloses the property. The shrubs and flowers that share that space with the grapes makes for a whimsical treat of a stroll through the suburban street.
The vineyard is still in full production and produces almost 1500 bottles of wine per year that are sold to the public. This wont be the most delectable wine you taste in France, but you’ll feel satisfied knowing that every cent of profit that the Clos vineyard makes goes toward funding of Montmartre community projects.
Every year, post harvest, the vineyard also hosts a little wine festival that is open to the public. The event is known as Fête des Vendanges and takes place over five days in October — if you’re around Paris this time of year then I highly recommend getting involved!
Studio 28 in Montmartre
10 Rue Tholozé
Our next hidden gem in Montmartre achieves much of its anonymity largely due to it’s location being so close to the Pigalle main strip.
Pigalle is a district that needs to be explored at least once in order to properly understand it. The sex, the sleaze, the scandal — all very prominent after a short stroll through the town centre .
As you move up Montmartre hill things take a more artistic turn for the better. Studio 28 is a hybrid space that was founded in 1928 (go figure).
It’s main function is of an art house cinema with a retro flair. The space also houses a fabulous bar area as well as a cafe and a garden. You are pretty much guaranteed to be entertained by this little Montmartre treasure.
Everything about Studio 28 screams blast from the past. The cinema itself is a complete time warp with its beautiful red velvet seats and screen curtains.
They show a combination of new release films as well as classics. I love coming here on a random day and just watching whatever is showing the hour I arrive, without any prior research or expectation. The shows start from 3pm and run late into the evening.
In typical hidden gem style, you can expect this cinema to never get too full or sell out; making it the perfect place to head out of pure spontaneity.
Cinema admission: €9
Un Hotel Particulier in Montmartre
Pavillon D, 23 Avenue Junot
You’d probably never even find Un Hotel Particulier in your awareness if it weren’t for the ability to pass information via word of mouth. The same is entirely true for me too.
Upon mentioning to a friend how much I enjoy meandering the Montmartre streets by foot she asked if I’d yet to pass by this mysterious location. Since the entrance to Hotel Particulier lies on a secret passage-like street the answer was no. I made a point of passing by the next time I was in Montmartre.
Hotel Particulier is the former home of the iconic Hermès family. The space is almost completely sealed off from prying eyes thanks to the tick foliage that encompasses the property.
This 19th century mansion was converted into a hotel in recent years and is where most of the Hollywood A-listers stay when visiting Paris. They love that the property is so hidden and that the neighborhood itself is so enchanting.
The hotel bar goes by the name Très Particulier and serves up some of the tastiest cocktails this side of Paris. Both the bar and restaurant are open to the public for enjoyment in spite of being completely reserved for guests in recent years.
The space is beautifully decorated with a 1930s tropical vibe. I enjoy visiting the hotel on Saturday or Sunday mornings when there is a full brunch spread. Nothing better than starting your morning with a blini and a stack of pancakes.
A short walk from the hotel is a lesser hidden gem in the Montmartre area. The Montmartre Cemetery has all the charm and appeal of the other Parisian cemeteries but on a more manageable scale.
Seeing the flowers and greenery emerge from the cracks in the cobblestone pathways is notably calming. The cemetery is also home to some well known writers and artists from centuries gone by. Walk amongst the tomb stones and see if any right a bell!
The Last Windmills of Montmartre
During the 16th century onward, the district of Montmartre was occupied by over a dozen grand scale windmills.
In French, ‘moulin’ means windmill. So technically the Moulin Rouge constitutes as one of the structures erected during this era. However the Moulin Rough happens to official fall into the district of Pigalle, and is not considered to be one of the last windmills left standing in Montmartre.
There are in fact only two of the dozen left to visit. Collectively these two windmills are referred to as Le Moulin de la Galette. Individually they are ‘Le Moulin Blute-Fin’ and ‘Le Moulin Radet’.
Taking an hour or two to track down the last windmills of Montmartre is a great alternative activity to the usual Parisian excursions. The first, Le Moulin Blute-Fin, stands on now-private property over on rue Lepic — it is still completely viewable from street level and worth the walk over.
Le Moulin Radet is a few minutes away on rue Girardon. This one sits on top of a famous strain of Montmartre based restaurants aptly called Le Moulin de la Galette after the two windmills.
These historic structures have impressively stood the test of century upon century in Paris. You can only imagine the things their walls have seen, heard and lived through. Their presence reminds us of just how long Montmartre has been an integral part of Parisian life as we know it.
Both windmills are free to visit.
Cafe des Deux Moulins in Montmartre
15 Rue Lepic
In an alley way just north of the Moulin Rouge there is another hidden gem of Montmartre: Cafe des Deux Moulins.
Just how much of a gem this space is to you will depend largely on your knowledge and love of French films.
Amélie is a very well known French comedy that was released in 2002. The main character Amélie lives an exciting life in Montmartre and works daily in a cafe. Cafe des Deux Moulins is the restaurant that was used or the film.
Fans of Amélie will enjoy spending some time in the same place where her character did. Try the Amélie salad if you’re in the mood to eat! It’s just as weird and wonderful as she was.
The staff seem to revel in Amélie and all her glory. They are equally as quirky and make for endless entertainment as you enjoy your food. They seem very keen for the legacy of the film to live on through the ambiance of the cafe.
The selection of crêpe’s is also very good at Cafe des Deux Moulins. One of these with a cup of coffee is a perfect way to enjoy a wintery evening in Montmartre. The cafe stays open late, until 2am most days.
Average cost: Under €25
My list of hidden gems in Montmartre is one that is continuously growing. With every new road to explore comes something previously unknown. I’m not sure this neighborhood will ever run out of things to find.
Join me as we hop from windmill to windmill… garden to garden… and uncover more secret spots of Montmartre. A guided walking tour awaits!