Located in the 18th arrondissement, Montmartre is home to romantic, winding streets, classically French artisan quarters, and one of Paris’s most famous basilicas.
La Basilique du Sacre Coeur, which peers out over much of Paris from its perch on the hill in the northern end of the city, offers the best views early in the morning. There is a quiet stillness before the surrounding area fills up with vendors hawking trinkets and scammers trying to tie string around your wrist; you can watch the city come to life as it slowly wakes up.
The maze of twisting streets behind Sacre Coeur leads to Place Du Tertre. This square was once home to a Benedictine monastery but has evolved into an artists’ hub. Some of France’s most recognisable 20th century painters frequented this place, and today, painters and sketch artists all around the square are happy to produce portraits for paying tourists.
Beyond the Place Du Tertre, a meandering stroll takes you past Montmartre’s much-photographed icons, such as the cafes La Maison Rose and Le Consulat. But there are also some excellent museum finds; le Musée de Montmartre and le Musée de la Vie Romantique both provide glimpses of life in Montmartre in bygone eras.
A little away from Sacre Coeur, Rue des Abbessess feels less claustrophobic, with its wide avenue lined by shops and bistros. The area feels much more like a place for the locals, as passerby stop to chat with diners taking advantage of outdoor seating at all times of the year (thanks to some heat lamps).
Dusk in Montmartre is a magical time. The street lamps cast a warm glow as the last rays of sunlight stretch across pavement and life winds down for the day. It’s the best time to stop for an aperitif after a busy day exploring this charming part of Paris.
Have you been to Montmartre? What did you think of it? I’d love to know- leave a comment with your impressions!