Top 3 Statues to Find in Montmartre
I’m not usually one to preach the hunting down of statues; there’s usually only so many stone carved people with heroic backstories one can stare at before they all start to look the same.
Montmartre, however, has a number of interesting statues that aren’t your usual run-of-the-mill war heroes. What’s more, visiting them doesn’t require a large portion of your day — you can make your way between each one by foot and still be in time for lunch specials in the Place du Tertre.
Here are the three statues worth finding in Montmartre and why you should pay them a visit…
1. The Man Who Could Walk Through Walls in Montmartre
Place Marcel Aymé
Most people pass by this statue during their free guided walking tours through Montmartre.
The official name of the pice is Le Passe-Muraille, which can be loosely translated as the ‘passer through walls’. The people of this neighborhood simply refer to is as the man who could walk through walls when in casual conversation.
As you can probably guess, the story was one about a man who was able to pass through walls. The man’s name is Dutilleul; and the story follows him on a wild journey through Paris from working as a civilly servant to eventually landing up in prison where he uses his through-wall abilities to escape.
Dutilleul is said to have lunch in a Montmartre cafe following his prison break, before sending word to the warden asking him to come and settle his bill.
The statue is a recognizable part of Montmartre. It depicts Dutilleul moving through the stone wall reaching out his hands as he does.
Everyday, tourists from around the world stop here to photograph themselves posing with Dutilleul or attempting to pull him out of the wall. His left hand is now discolored due to the heat difference of this part of the statue being constantly touched.
Some even attempt to perch on his shoulders for the perfect photograph; others are picture kissing the man on the lips. A word from the wise on the streets of Paris; never kiss anything that is up for public display — seriously, just refrain.
You can get to the square that contains the statue by walking down Rue Norvins.
2. Place Dalida in Montmartre
Dalida was an immensely successful French singer who was born to Italian parents in Cairo, Egypt.
Dalida moved to Paris permanently in 1962 after falling in love with the city. Her first and only home here was right in the heart of Montmartre; a village that was dear to her heart.
When she first moved to Paris, Dalida’s intention was to land film and acting roles. This proved unsuccessful for her and it was only when she agreed to partake in a singing contest that her talents were finally realized.
In 1957, Dalida held her first official concert for the people of Paris at the Olympia Hall. It was a raging success, and Dalida would go on to charm her way into the hearts of the French people for years to come.
In 1987 Dalida was batteling with her mental health following the loss of some close relatives. She tragically took her life in her Montmartre home.
The Place Dalida is a public square dedicated to her memory and the contributions she made to the music scene in Paris. In the centre of the square is a unique, life size statue of Dalida made by French sculptor Alain Aslan.
It is a beautiful piece of art. The same sculptor is also behind the statue that sits atop Dalida’s tomb in the Montmartre Cemetery . A life size, angelic statue that stands proudly day after day as visitors come to pay their respects.
3. Statue of Saint-Denys in Montmartre
2B Impasse Girardon
Statues of saints are another category I prefer not to throw around when giving people quality tips on things to see in Montmartre. Headless statues of saints, however, that’s something I’ll get behind.
The Statue of Saint-Denys can be found in the Suzanne Buisson garden in Montmartre. He was the first bishop of Paris and other representations of him can be found throughout the city.
What makes this particular statue so interesting is the legend that goes with it. The story goes that Saint-Denys was preaching Christianity to the people which went against Roman laws of the time. When spotted by a Roman governor, he was beheaded.
They say that Saint-Denys walked six kilometers with his head in his hands before finally stopping to wash it in a fountain. This very fountain is the foundation for the statue of the bishop we see here today.
While we can see many logistical flaws in this legend I’m sure, it’s nice to think back to a time where bishops and Roman governors roamed the streets of Montmartre unbeknownst to them what a global attraction the village would become some day.
According to legend, our guy continued his journey up through Montmartre and the rest of the 18th arrondissement, all the way into the neighborhood of St Denis in the far north of Paris. This is where we find the St Denis Cathedral today.