An Insider´s Guide to Montmartre of Paris

What to do in Montmartre Paris?

Part charming village, part urban melting pot, Montmartre is a much-loved Parisian neighbourhood in the 18th arrondissement. Energetic, artistic, and boasting extraordinary views and a buzzing nightlife, it has long been a magnet for visitors and locals. Crowned by the soaring Basilique du Sacré Cœur, the steep cobbled streets wind around ivy-bound buildings housing cafes and artisans, giving the neighborhood a bohemian vibe that stands apart from much of Paris.

My TOP 5 Highlights in Montmartre

  • Savor the views from Montmartre (35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018): At 430 ft (130 m) above Paris, the views from the summit of Montmartre are unrivaled. Grab something to go from the many foodie destinations and enjoy a panoramic al fresco lunch.
  • Grab a crêpe (or two) from La Crêperie (7 rue Joseph de Maistre Montmartre, 75018): The prosaically named La Crêperie is anything but ordinary. Some of the best crêpes in Paris, made to eat while exploring the colorful streets of Montmartre.
  • Find famous French names in Cimetière de Montmartre (20 Av. Rachel, 75018): Ghoulish? Perhaps. But moody Montmartre cemetery has long been a destination for curious visitors drawn to the famous souls resting there. From Eurovision winner France Gall to feted Napoleonic Marshall Jean Lannes, there’s a famous name for every interest.
  • Get your portrait done on Place du Tertre (Pl. du Tertre, 75018): Place du Tertre distils the essence of Montmartre into one vibrant square. Artists draw portraits while thirsty patrons take a moment to absorb the artistic energy in picturesque surroundings.
  • Get inspired at Musée d’Art Naïf in Halle St-Pierre (2 Rue Ronsard, 75018): Acclaimed artists once lit up the neighborhood with their creative alchemy. Halle St-Pierre keeps that tradition alive with works from self-taught, ‘naïve’ artists. Arresting art in an evocative old food market that exemplifies Montmartre.

General information

Visitors arrive in droves at Montmartre for the bohemian atmosphere and rich artistic history. Add in remarkable views over Paris and a thriving restaurant scene, and it is an itinerary-topping destination. Aside from a sprinkle of seediness around the neon sex shops and tourist gift shops of Boulevard de Clichy, Montmartre is easy and safe to explore any time of the day. A laidback vibe is only undone by the number of visitors on the streets, which attracts ‘over-eager’ vendors. Sensible pickpocket precautions are advisable here (anywhere in Paris, actually). And should you encounter them, the overly-insistent bracelet ‘sellers’ are not giving out ‘free’ gifts, so best to avoid accepting anything they hand you.

How to get to Montmartre?

Several Métro stations serve Montmartre:

  • Line 12: Abbesses (in the heart of the neighborhood)
  • Line 2: Blanche, Anvers

Bus lines serving Montmartre:

  • 30, 54, 68, 80

For a shuttle bus around the district and neighboring Pigalle, the Montmartrobus is convenient and frequent.

  • My Tip: You can also reach the neighborhood very comfortably with one of the Hop on Hop off buses in Paris. These are also included in many Paris Sightseeing Passes, with which you can save money on sightseeing during your visit to Paris. Take a look!

Attractions, activities, and tours in Montmartre

Montmartre packs a lot into a compact neighborhood and makes for a demanding day if you plan to see them all. To help you, we’ve picked our favourite highlights that showcase the best of France’s most urban village.

Top attractions

In this neighborhood there are many attractions that you should visit. You can find the best ones here.

  1. 01

    Au Lapin Agile

    Theater in Montmartre
    Our highlight
    Montmartre “Cabaret Au Lapin Agile” (Cabaret des Assassins, 1875) is a famo
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    Legendary Moulin Rouge is nearby, but historic au Lapin Agile (Agile Rabbit) is the original Montmartre institution. Le Lapin Agile, or Au Lapin Agile, is a small traditional Parisian cabaret on the rue des Saules on the Montmartre hill in the 18th arrondissement, where small artists have been performing their own poems and songs in a family setting since the 19th century.

  2. 02

    Basilica du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre

    Religious Site in Montmartre
    Our highlight
    Sacre Coeur church, Paris
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    You can’t go anywhere in Paris, let alone Montmartre, without seeing the pristine white church that crowns Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement. Sacré-Coeur is one of the youngest churches in Paris. It consists of the basilica and a bell tower. In it hangs the famous “Savoyarde” bell, which weights 19 tons and it is said to be the heaviest swinging bell in the world. The inside is impressive, but the views from the outside are even better. An idyllic spot to enjoy a jambon beurre.

  3. 03

    Montmartre cemetery

    Cemetery in Montmartre
    Our highlight
    Cimetière de Montmartre à Paris
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    The immense necropolises of Paris are popular traveler destinations. Montmartre cemetery, popularly known as the Cimetière de Montmartre, is the third biggest in Paris. It is a maze of imposing, overgrown tombs with a who’s who of French cultural icons interred there. A fascinating and slightly offbeat diversion. For an extra dose of the bizarre, consider visiting the nearby bust of French chanteuse Dalida, memorably polished by many hands apparently seeking good luck.

  4. 04

    Musée de Montmartre

    Museum in Montmartre
    Our highlight
    Paris – gardens dedicated to Auguste Renoir surround the Museum of Montmartre
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    Montmartre museum is located at Rue Cortot N°8-14 in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. It opened it gates for the first time in 1960. The museum is rather small and incongruously rustic. Home to a vineyard (producing reputedly terrible wine) and scenic gardens, artists like Pierre-Auguste Renoir once lived there. Alluring to art-lovers and urban escapees.

  5. 05

    Place du Tertre

    Square in Montmartre
    Our highlight
    Montmartre in Paris, France
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    Place du Tertre is a square in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, west of the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur and St-Pierre de Montmartre. It is considered the heart of the Montmartre district and is one of the most famous sights in Paris.

Best tours

There are many things to do in this district. Here you can find the best tours.

  1. 01

    Montmartre: Food & Wine Tasting Tour

    Walking Tour in Montmartre
    viator Montmartre Food Tour
    Source: viator.com
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    On this exclusive gastronomic tour, you’ll sample Paris’ most delicious delicacies – from gourmet cheeses to delicate pastries. Enjoy up to ten select gourmet stops and get a glimpse of landmarks like Moulin Rouge or Sacré-Cœur along the way.

    Language: English

  2. 02

    Montmartre: Walking Tour

    Walking Tour in Montmartre
    gyg Montmartre Walking Tour
    Source: getyourguide.com
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    Montmartre is bursting with points of interest. This good value tour explores them in the company of a knowledgeable guide. The meeting point for the guided tour is the Carrousel de Saint-Pierre in Park Square Louise-Michel. The tour starts with the Sacre-Coeur and you will also receive a skip-the-line ticket for the church. Later in the tour you will make stops at popular sights such as the Place du Tertre.

    Languages: English, Portuguese, German

  3. 03

    Paris in a Day: Montmartre, Eiffel Tower, Seine River Cruise & Louvre

    Combi Tour in Montmartre
    viator Montmartre Combi Tour
    Source: viator.com
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    This tour promises to show Paris’s crown jewels in one invigorating day. A guided walking tour of Montmartre is included in the whirlwind tour of Paris’s must-see destinations. Also included is a skip-the-line ticket to the Eiffel Tower and a cruise on the Seine. The following stops await you on the tour: Montmartre, Ile de la Cite, Louvre Museum, Le Trocadero et son esplanade and the Eiffel Tower.

    Languages: English

  4. 04

    Romantic Paris: Lost Lovers Montmartre Exploration Game

    Walking Tour in Montmartre
    viator montmartre romantic walking tour
    Source: viator.com
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    Enjoy a whole new way to discover the Montmartre district of Paris – and find the area’s most romantic destinations – with the help of this self-guided smartphone exploration game. You’ll discover Montmartre highlights like the Sacré-Coeur Basilica, see the café where “Amélie” worked, and learn stories about the area’s romantic history all while finding clues.

    Languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch

Eating & drinking in Montmartre

This neighbourhood brims with culinary vitality. Cool bars, charming cafés, and international flavors combine to make Montmartre a popular dining destination.

Top restaurants

  1. 01 L’annexe

    Bistros are reliable places to sample decent French food without breaking the bank. L’annexe in the 18th arrondissement is cozy and welcoming and serves a short and well-executed menu.

  2. 02 La Boite aux Lettres

    If bistro food appeals, La Boite aux Lettres (the letterbox) in the 18th arrondissement is a safe bet. A traditional restaurant with a touch of creativity and a moderately-priced menu.

  3. 03 La Crêperie Mon Ami

    Not the only crêperie in Paris. However, the sparkling reviews confirm it is one of the best. Their coconut and Nutella crêpe is legendary. Made for takeout (no seats) and people watching. You will find this insider tip in the 18th arrondissement.

  4. 04 La Portena

    International kitchens flourish in Montmartre int the 18th arrondissement. With Argentinian flair, La Portena serves generously filled empanadas that stay warm right to the top of Montmartre. Ideal for a picturesque lunch.

  5. 05 Les Tantes Jeanne

    Les Tantes Jeanne (the aunts Jeanne) is a culinary superstar in Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement. Renowned for its Kobe beef and innovative tasting menus, it is in demand for special occasions.

The most beautiful cafés

From hip coffeeshops to atmospheric old-timers, there are plenty of decent cafés in Montmartre. Our favorites offer a blend of good coffee and must-see destinations.

  1. 01 Café des Deux Moulins, aka the Amélie café

    Café des Deux Moulins in the 18th arrondissement is an international superstar. Chosen to capture the spirit of the quartier for an international audience, the red exterior is instantly recognizable and a must for Amélie fans.

  2. 02 Café Tabac

    This quirky café in the 18th arrondissement is actually next door to the tabac (tobacconist), yet makes fun use of the signage and the context in a quartier where coffee and cigarettes were once considered a satisfactory breakfast. The bright, airy space, small terrace, and acclaimed coffee make this a popular breakfast stop.

  3. 03 La cave café

    More bar than café, la cave café in the 18th arrondissement comes to life in the evening with regular live music. Stop for a glass of vine on the welcoming terrace, but don’t be surprised the party escalates.

  4. 04 Le Consulat

    Le Consulat is a much-photographed Montmartre landmark. Try to grab a table and take your time to enjoy an iconic Montmartre destination in the 18th arrondissement.

  5. 05 Le Vrai Paris

    An enchanting facade draped in pink flowers helps Le Vrai Paris in the 18th arrondissement stand out. Orderly terrace tables look out over a bustling corner of Montmartre, while an eclectic menu draws in visitors who want to kick back and enjoy the agreeable surroundings.

  6. 06 Les Cinq Marches

    Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement has numerous modern coffee shops that don’t fit the old village stereotype. Les Cinq Marches (5 steps) is the type of bright, airy coffee shop found in many big cities. But a cute terrace and good coffee earn it a special mention.

Shopping in Montmartre

With few big brands, this neighborhood is a refuge for independent retailers that invites you to disappear down alleys and find hidden gems.

The finest art galleries and museums

Where artistic legends once sought inspiration in Montmartre, today it welcomes up-and-coming artists with a contemporary outlook, like our pick of the best galleries in Montmartre.

  1. Paris – gardens dedicated to Auguste Renoir surround the Museum of Montmartre

    01 Musée de Montmartre

    Montmartre museum is located at Rue Cortot N°8-14 in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. It opened it gates for the first time in 1960. The museum is rather small and incongruously rustic. Home to a vineyard (producing reputedly terrible wine) and scenic gardens, artists like Pierre-Auguste Renoir once lived there. Alluring to art-lovers and urban escapees.

  2. 02 Dalí Paris

    The Dalí Paris is a permanent exhibition in the 18th arrondissement of Paris dedicated to Salvador Dalí, consisting mainly of sculptures and engravings. The museum near the Place du Tertre in the Montmartre district has around 300 original works of art. Salvador Dali made surrealism a household name and created wonderfully bizarre symbolic masterpieces that have captivated generations of art lovers.

  3. 03 Galerie Montmartre

    Another pocket-sized art gallery in the 18th arrondissement of Paris showcasing emerging and lesser-known artists. Looking out over the portrait artists clustering on Place du Tertre, the distinctive red façade makes it an easy destination for casual modern art fans to find.

  4. 04 Halle St-Pierre - The Musée d'Art Naïf

    A former food hall exhibiting ‘outsider’ artworks from ‘naïve’ (self-taught) artists, this gallery encapsulates the avant-garde spirit of Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement.

The most beautiful hotels

No surprise. Charming, bohemian Montmartre has some chic hotels. This shortlist speaks for itself, with some fantastic hotels in the heart of the district.

  1. montmartre
    Source: booking.com

    01 Hôtel des Arts

    4 Stars | Family-run, this hotel is appreciated for its warm customer service, well-equipped rooms, and slightly offbeat stylings. Ideally situated in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, this is a hotel that wins glowing reviews.

  2. booking hotel de flore
    Source: booking.com

    02 Hôtel de Flore

    3 Stars | Hôtel de Flore is hidden away behind the Moulin Rouge on the edge of Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement. Quiet, spotlessly clean rooms in a modern, functional hotel make this a solid option in a great location.

  3. montmartre
    Source: booking.com

    03 Hôtel Monsieur Aristide

    4 Stars | More than a neighbourhood gem in the 18th arrondissement, Hotel Monsieur Aristide is one of the best-reviewed hotels in Paris. A retro vibe and elegant finish are perfected throughout, from the cozy bar to the 25 immaculately appointed rooms that includes garden studios and rooms with a view.

  4. montmartre
    Source: booking.com

    04 Le Relais Montmartre

    4 Stars | Compact, softly furnished, with a secluded courtyard, Le Relais Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement has the air of a sophisticated country retreat. A reputation for friendly service further elevates this classy escape.

  5. montmartre
    Source: booking.com

    05 Mom'Art Hôtel & Spa

    4 Stars | Overlooking a delightful interior courtyard, the 24 tastefully decorated rooms range from cozy to elegant. A spa, restaurant, and address in the center of Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement make it a popular romantic getaway.

History & Facts

Defining the enduring character of the neighborhood, Montmartre was a thriving village outside the Paris city limits until 1860. Nonetheless, Martyr’s Hill (or Montmartre) was an important site to Parisians because of the 12th-century church of Saint-Pierre de Montmartre, Paris’s second oldest church. A Benedictine abbey at the same site ultimately succumbed to the fate of so many other abbeys during the revolution, it was razed. A signifier of later infamy perhaps, with the hill serving as both a Russian artillery post for shelling Paris in 1814 and a flashpoint in the 1871 Paris Commune uprising.

The quartier underwent seismic changes after joining metropolitan Paris. The city’s Belle Époque was also Montmartre’s golden age. Cafés and artist associations sprung up. Celebrated artists and composers rubbed shoulders, including Picasso, Modigliani, van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, and many luminaries from the Parisian art and music scene. Most famously, Renoir lived and painted scenes in the neighborhood. His most celebrated work, Bal du moulin de la Galette, depicts a weekend at the still- standing windmill (moulin), a Montmartre landmark.

Montmartre
Ariel view over the neighbourhood of Montmartre with the famous Sacre-Coeur in focus.

 

The arrival of the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur was a defining moment in Montmartre history. Dominating the city skyline, the 83m (272 ft) Roman Catholic church was built between 1875 and 1914 and quickly became an iconic Parisian landmark. Visible from all over the city, it is now Paris’s second most visited attraction. Further burnishing Montmartre’s bohemian credentials, the 2001 global smash hit, Amélie (or Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain) was filmed in the neighborhood.

FAQ

Is Montmartre easy to explore on foot?

Wandering around the precipitous streets of Montmartre is part of the experience, but comfortable footwear is advisable. If your feet need a break, look for some unique local transport. The Petit Train de Montmartre snakes between Place Blanche and Place du Tertre. Enlivened with commentary, it is a gentle way to see the area. Meanwhile, utterly unique funicular railways connect the base and summit of Montmartre (fares included in Métro passes). 90-seconds to catch your breath before having it taken away again by the views.

Do I need a map to explore Montmartre?

Not really. The soaring basilica serves as a waypoint, while the main streets are tightly packed and interconnected. A tourist map will help spot any hidden gems.

Is Montmartre safe?

Yes, although a little precaution against pickpockets is necessary. And look out for so-called ‘gifts’ handed to you, as you’ll be asked to pay for
them.

Neighboring districts

Bordering the bohemian district are contrasting quartiers. The standout district is Pigalle, home to the Moulin Rouge. Blurring boundaries with Montmartre, Pigalle was once a red-light district and is still a good time place, albeit a little more sanitized. The historic Avenue des Martyrs south of Montmartre stretches down the border of Rochechouart in the 9th arrondissement. A dynamic and long street filled with shops and restaurants.

Head further south into the 9th arrondissement to reach two Parisian icons, the resplendent Palais Garnier and the legendary Grévin Museum waxworks.
West of Montmartre is on-trend Batignolles, a quartier that also lays claim to a ‘village’ vibe and is known for its small English garden, Square des Batignolles.

 

About the author
Laura Schulze

I love traveling! Whether it's the Australian outback, the fjords of Norway or city trips to the most beautiful cities in the world like Paris, Singapore, Barcelona or New York - I'll write down my best tips so that your trip will be a very special highlight.

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