Top 5 Unusual Streets in Montmartre
Montmartre is one of Paris’ most visited neighborhoods, and despite being home to some incredible museums, monuments and charming little streets, most tourists tend not to stray far from the emblamatic Sacre-Coeur.
Over the years, Montmartre’s interesting, hilly topography has created some of the city’s most unique architecture and unusual streets. Perched high on a hill or butte overlooking the rest of the city, Montmartre boasts elegant monouments, sumptuous views, and a taste of its once-village charm.
Narrow pedestrian passages, hidden villas, and even optical illusions can all be found among the top 5 unusual streets in Montmartre. These spots make for creative photoshoots, or simply a nice respite from the tourist throngs. Read on to discover my recommendations!
1. Rue Poulbot
One of the most unusual streets in Montmartre is just steps from the artsy Place du Tertre, which is one of the busiest squares in the neighborhood. Formerly a gathering place for local artists during the Bohemian era, today the Plâce du Tertre is surrounded by cafés and bustling with tourists. Although, some of the ancient village-style charm remains, and you can still spot many an artist at work rain or shine.
Walk just past the Place du Tertre to discover one of the top 5 unusual streets in Montmartre. Rue Poulbot leads downhill from Place du Tertre past the Dalí Museum and ends at the Rue Norvins, one of the main thouroughfares in Montmartre.
This street’s history makes it one of the most unusual in Montmartre. During the 19th century, Montmartre was still an artsy, working-class village on the outskirts of Paris. Formerly called the Impasse Traînée, this street was an important pedestrian passage, lined with white houses and lush gardens; evoking the typical village charm. Maurice Utrillo even immortalised the street in one of his paintings.
The name of the street was changed to Rue Poulbot in 1967, but apart from that, not much else has changed. The majority of its buildings are protected by the French government and date back to the Montmartre’s village days. Nowadays, this winding cobblestone street is much busier, but it hasn’t lost its charm and village-like vistas.
2. Passage Cottin
Now this next one is a little bit of a workout, but I hope you’ll agree that it’s worth it. Passage Cottin is one of the most unusual streets in Montmartre, but in my opinion, it’s also one of the coolest.
That’s because Passage Cottin is actually part ancient stairway and part street, which is very typical of this hilly nieghborhood. The unique aspect of Passage Cottin is the incredible views from the top of the stairs.
I reccomend you enter the Passage from Rue Ramey, and climb the stairs for a view from the top (and the next place on my list is right next door). The picturesque passage turns into a steep and narrow staircase, leading up to the top of the butte between two classic Parisian buildings. Once you’ve made the 6-story climb, you’ll be treated to vistas of the Sacré-Coeur just in front and all of Paris laid out behind you.
For my fellow photographers out there, this passage is a great location if you want to try a Montmartre stairway shot, sans crowds. If you do try and shoot here, I would reccomend you aim for the morning or late evening for the best light. The buildings on either side of Passage Cottin create heavy shadows and harsh lighting during the day.
metro: chateau rouge
3. Rue du Chevalier de la Barre
Next up on my list of the top 5 unusual streets in Montmartre is the charming Rue du Chevalier de la Barre. The entrance to this street is conveniently located right at the top of the stairway of neighboring Passage Cottin.
This part of the long street is cobblestone and pedestrian-only, which is very typical of old Montmartre. Modern street art provides a stark contrast as historic hou
ses with colorful doors and cheerful window boxes line the top part of the street; which remains full of old-world charm. The two-lane road slowly turns into a verdoyant single-person stairway as it winds its way down the butte back to Rue Ramey.
Since it’s off the main tourist path, the street is usually pretty calm. Plus the fact that it’s a pedestrian-only zone with typical backdrops makes it an excellent spot to snap some Paris photographs.
metro: Chateau rouge
4. Villa Leandre
Villa Leandre is located off the Avenue Junot just steps from the Place Dalida, where you can catch a glimpse of the late French singer’s former mansion. And maybe even make a wish on the famous statue at the other end of the street. Expertly situated on a quiet side street outside the tourist hustle and bustle, Villa Leandre is a hidden village in Paris.
The lovely little street features quaint multi-story brick homes complete with tile rooves, hedge fences, and charming gardens. Here it’s strangley quiet and calm, so you can almost forget you’re in a big city. Reminiscent of both Notting Hill and the neighborhood’s once upon a time village roots, Villa Leandre is a surprising find in the middle of one of Paris’ most touristy districts.
5. Rue Cyrano de Bergerac
The next stop on my list is just one hundred meters from Lamarck-Cauliancourt metro, but seems to remain a local secret.While the name Rue Cyrano de Bergerac is quite the mouthful, it’s actually named for a 17th-century French poet. Again, part stairway and part pedestrian street, Rue Cyrano de Bergerac remains true to the Montmartre landscape. It is also one of the smallest rues on my list of the top 5 unusual streets in Montmartre.
To get to this street, I suggest entering at the top of the staircase, from Rue Francoeur, and then making your way down towards Rue Marcadet. The top of the staircase is situated on a charming little street, and the view directly in front of you is close to inception. One single lamp post stands at the top of the stairs, right in the middle, and Haussmanien-style buildings rise above you in every direction; giving an Inception-type vibe.
Hopefully now you’re a bit more familiar with the top 5 unusual streets in Montmartre! These spots are great for exploring a lesser-known side of Paris, and of course, for taking great Paris photos.
Main monuments and unusual streets aside, the Montmartre is a destination in and of itself. So please don’t hesitate to join one of our guided walking tours to learn more about this iconic Parisian nieghborhood.
See you soon in Paris!