Top 10 Reasons to Live in Montmartre
Someone once said “you haven’t truly lived in Paris, until you’ve lived in Montmartre”.
The words of this stranger resonate loudly every time I set foot in this hilltop village over in the 18th arrondissement. They say if you blindfold a true Parisian and drop them in Montmartre, they’d be able to tell you exactly where they were just based off of the smells, sounds and general ambiance of the suburb.
Montmartre is just that; an overload of the senses. One that stays with you long after you leave.
So why leave at all? Why not stay? I give you the top 10 reasons to live in this village of the north — read on!
1. Living Away From the Chaos of Central Paris in Montmartre
You must understand that Paris was not always the traffic filled, bustling metropolitan city that it is today.
Originally Paris was a simple, yet beautiful, European town with much barren land littered with rolling hillsides, farms, windmills and churches. Life was even simpler in Paris than it appears to be today.
Of course, as cities grow and ease of mobility around the world increases — tourism finds its way into the best of them. Today, the central arrondissements of Paris are high functioning tourist hubs year round.
Unless you make your way to a landmark at the crack of dawn, there is virtually no way to view places like the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Trocadéro Gardens or Arc de Triomphe in peace and quiet. You are almost guaranteed crowding at all times; this is simply the nature of the center.
Being further north and up an inclined hillside, Montmartre manages to keep away from the chaos of the center and one can find more moments of solitude despite it being a tourist hub of its own.
Things move a bit slower in these parts. Weekends there are crowds, yes, but a morning midweek walk through city streets will see you enjoying many of the roads entirely to yourself.
For locals of Paris being able to do this is priceless, making Montmartre the most ideal residential area of choice.
2. Your Backyard is the Sacre Coeur in Montmartre
Just one of the most beautiful churches on the planet a few steps from your bedroom, no big deal.
The Sacre Coeur is the crown of Montmartre. It sits proudly on the summit, luring visitors in from all over the city and greeting the residents of the neighborhood each new morning.
The Sacre Coeur is Montmartre’s biggest tourist attraction, bringing in over a million visitors annually .
Entering the Sacre Coeur is free; only once inside will you have the opportunity for donation and purchasing of souvenirs to commemorate your visit. The Dome Tower atop the church is the only part that one has to pay admission to gain access to; you’ll have a 360 degree, panoramic view of Paris from here, it’s quite something.
In front of the Sacre Coeur there is a large public step/square area that visitors can enjoy at their leisure. From here you’ll have a similarly impressive panoramic view over the entire south of Paris.
Being able to stroll up here around midnight whenever you can’t sleep, for example, is a privilege that only the Montmartre resident can really enjoy.
3. Picasso, Renoir and Monet Once Called These Streets Home in Montmartre
The appeal of many to live in Montmartre is to share the streets that the great artists of the 19th and 20th centuries once called home.
That’s really how it all started. Montmartre is the official artists district of Paris thanks to the influx of creatives from around the world post Revolution.
Back then, Montmartre was nothing like it is today; far less developed, few winding streets and little to no infrastructure. This made it the perfect landing point for penniless artists who wanted to live in Paris but couldn’t afford areas like the city center.
Artists move in and attract the attention of developers who then see opportunity for retail stores, cafes, restaurants and galleries. Gentrification takes its due corse and before you know it the very artists who made the town what it is can no longer afford to live there themselves.
We see the importance of art in this suburb in the remnants that include the Place du Tertre, the Halle Saint-Pierre, the Dali Museum and the Montmartre Museum (where Renoir actually lived for a few years).
4. The Bakeries in Montmartre
I learnt early on in Paris that one needs to find their bakery in whatever district it is they happen to live. Said bakery should ideally be within walking distance, open early, and open seven days a week without fail.
This is something undeniably Parisian.
The people of Paris take much value in the ability to leave home and walk to their bakery of choice for morning coffee and French pastries. It is an age old tradition and an important part of the daily routines of those that live in the city.
Montmartre is lined with bakeries and patisseries on every block, each with their own unique flair and trading hours, making them versatile to the needs of the residents here.
Whether its warm almond croissants you crave or simply fresh baked bread every other day, the district can cater.
Le Pétrin Médiéval is the best one (in my opinion) near the bottom of the hill. Further up, near the I Love You Wall, The Coquelicot is a bakery/cafe hybrid that makes the best croissants on this strip — go see for yourself!
5. The Cafes in Montmartre
Cafe culture is something that Montmartre holds near and dear to daily life. There are more cafes in this neighborhood than there are restaurants; this is simply what the people here prefer.
The Bal Cafe, Cafe des Deux Moulins, Soul Kitchen, Neighbors, The Hardware Societe… I could go on. For someone who struggles to decide between white and brown bread the abundant choice of cafes in Montmartre is my version of hell.
Living in Montmartre, however, will give you the opportunity to visit a different cafe for each different meal. I doubt you could make your way through all of them within a year, but since you live here now this sounds like a challenge worth taking.
If you’ve enjoyed a free guided walking tour through Montmartre you’ll know it as the bright pink cafe on the winding, cobblestone street. Yes, one of the most photographed buildings in Montmartre but once inside this won’t bother you at all.
6. Montmartre is Thought to be One of the Most Beautiful Parts of Paris
This is something that comes up time and time again after one too many glasses of wine at a street-side bistro somewhere in the city. Which neighborhoods in Paris truly is the most beautiful?
You’ll always have the Haussmann worshipper who’ll insist it’s les Halles, or the local of le Marais who will remind you their streets are the cleanest (not wrong). Sometimes there will be the millennial who will preach the “below the surface beauty and soul” of neighborhoods such as Belleville or Barbès (also not wrong).
But we’re here for the holistic beauty; aesthetic, below the surface, community and energetic beauty of Paris all in one — and that is Montmartre, every time.
There is a reason the words “whimsical” and “dream like” are so often used when regular adjectives simply aren’t enough to convey the tone of Montmartre.
There are very few people who have the opportunity to say that they happen to live in this dream world. If a chance to live here finds you — take it!
7. The Nightlife in Montmartre
Montmartre is where you’ll drink, dance and converse until a reasonable hour before enjoying the evening stroll back to your home.
The nightlife here is classy. There are a few distinct bars that serve the residents and the bistros & cafes also turn into the nightlife venues as the hours tick by.
Au Clair de Lune is the local favorite, just east of the Sacre Coeur. A cafe/bar hybrid that will kick you out at 11:30 on the dot before things can spiral out of hand.
For cocktails you’ll need to go west; Chez Camille is a wonderful, cozy spot loved by the Montmartre residents. Doors close around midnight which, again, is probably saving you from yourself.
When I reflect on Paris and what I have experienced throughout the different arrondissements, Montmartre nightlife is the area most suited to introverts and those who value intellectual exchanges while enjoying their French wine.
8. Meet People from Around the World in Montmartre
A melting pot, is it not? Despite being a residential village in Paris, Montmartre also has many hotel and Airbnb accommodation options for rent between the rolling streets.
Since it is further out from the city center, accommodation here is more affordable for travelers and is thus usually always booked out, year round!
This means that during your time living on the hill you’re going to mingle with an array of people and cultures from around the world, every single day. From the cafes in which you frequent, to the attractions that you walk past; you’ll share the streets with a global community at all times and it’s wonderful.
Everyone in Montmartre is a potential friend, that’s just the nature of the people who are making their way between the sites, restaurants, cafes, bookstores and exhibitions. A beautiful, coexistent community where all are welcome — join us?
9. Best Brunches in Paris in Montmartre
If you’re living in Paris then you’re likely already aware of how important brunch is, particularly on weekends.
The French take their brunch quite seriously. Between 10am and midday you’ll find competitive brunch specials throughout the city, with Sundays being the start of the show. ‘
Since most of the residents in Montmartre work during the week, the weekend is where they get to take part in this celebrated past time. The village has some of the best brunch options in Paris — have you ever eaten at Marcel? Oh mon Dieu.
Once you’re living in this neighborhood you’ll quickly realize that you can’t stroll over to your favorite cafe in Montmartre on Saturdays or Sundays and just expect to get a table. Booking becomes essential, even in your own neighborhood!
A brunch that requires booking but is far less chaotic is the one held in the Hôtel Particulier in Montmartre. This space is tucked away in a residential road, so travelers can’t really stumble upon it. You dine here with intention and it is a beautiful brunch day out in the artist’s village.
10. Endless Photo Opportunities in Montmartre
I once overheard someone say that anyone can be a social media influencer if they live in Montmartre. While I don’t think they were being kind in their words, they may be on to something.
Even the most mundane of suburban scenery becomes a grand display of Parisian beauty in Montmartre; there are photo opportunities on ever corner.
A trash can fallen over near an ivy-covered gate? Art. An elderly woman shaking crumbs from her breadbox onto the street outside her apartment? A photographers dream.
The Montmartre Cemetery is probably the most photogenic cemetery in the world. The Clos Vineyard behind the Montmartre Museum is a picturesque patch of natural land in the middle of a suburban scape.
I have no doubt that those who look back on their photo evidence of life in Montmartre do so fondly, simply due to the effortless beauty that is captured here even when one isn’t trying.