Top 8 Things To Do In Montmartre: A Local Parisian's Guide

March 10, 2021
Art & Culture

If you’re heading to Paris, you shouldn’t miss taking a guided tour of Montmartre, perched up on the 18th arrondissement in Paris.

The Bohemian district is a melting pot of history, art, and culture. A lot of people visiting Montmartre tick off popular spots like the Sacré-Coeur Basilica or the Place du Tertre.

But there’s so much more to Montmartre than what meets the eye. 

When I hopped on a virtual tour of Montmartre with Florent last week, he offered more than a glimpse into its narrow alleys, incredible art and culinary delights around the area, its winding streets, and windmills. 

I’d say ditch the checklist and soak in the little details that Montmartre has to offer. 

Notice the trails of wisteria and roses draped over stone houses. Stroll along the art district where the likes of artists such as Picasso, Renoir, and Toulouse-Lautrec once sketched some of their most popular work. Play peek-a-boo with the Eiffel Tower.

There’s a lot to explore, and Montmartre can tickle your travel bug. We’ve sketched out some of the best things to do in Montmartre before you head out for your next trip to the city.

Explore Montmartre just when the sun peeks out

Montmartre in Paris buzzes during the day. It’s home to an impressive art scene that is bustling with artists and sculptures that may catch you by surprise. It's one of the most popular tourist destinations in Paris and it's easy to see why.

Cobbled streets, historic buildings, spectacular views of the city and the shining white basilica (Fun fact? The church cleans itself!)

Parisians will be out with their dogs, jogging up and down endless stairs, chatting at corners and the artists are setting up before the crowds roll in. On this virtual tour with Florent, you might even have Montmartre all to yourself.

What's a trip to Montmartre without visiting Musée de Montmartre?

If you’re looking to explore Montmartre’s many secrets, this is your best starting point.

The museum stands proudly on top of the hill and is was home to over 14 popular personalities - from Dufy to Renoir and Poulbot. The Renoir gardens surrounding the museum offers one of the best views of Montmartre’s only remaining vineyard. 

Montmartre’s crowning glory: The Sacré-Coeur Basilica

It’s almost like the two go hand in hand that you cannot afford to miss visiting the basilica when you're visiting Montmartre. Gleaming white, it’s the neighborhood’s defining architectural beauty. 

Climbing the 222 stairs leading to the top of the Sacré-Coeur Basilica is an experience that sees millions of visitors every year. The tip of the basilica is Paris’ second highest point (we’ll let you guess number one).

On this virtual tour with Florent, you get to skip the line and capture some of the best views of Paris. 

A quick glimpse outside the landmark, and you might spot a string of street entertainment. 

Check out the sinking house of Montmartre

First things first: some of Montmartre’s best gems are those which are hidden in plain sight. 

Right after you head up the steps towards the Sacré-Coeur Basilica, a quick look to your right will throw an interesting red brick building. 

It creates this clever optical illusion that pops up when you tilt your camera to the side and voilá - you’ve formed the sinking house of Montmartre!

Fun bonus: This spot makes for a great Instagrammable postcard.

Get a portrait sketched at the Place du Tertre

At first glance, the charming Place du Tertre might seem like an art market bustling with artists, canvases, and colorful souvenirs. But you’d be surprised by its history. Artists may wait up to ten years to get a coveted spot here, and the cobblestone square is lined with historic buildings from centuries ago. 

On a virtual tour of Montmartre, you’ll notice it’s easy to while away some time here and be mesmerized by artists generating portraits on the spot. 

Grab a cuppa at La Maison Rose

If you’ve seen the fanciful comedy Amélie, you know what I’m talking about. This iconic Montmartre house is a stunner. 

The pink house nestled on the corner of Rue Aubrevoir and Rue des Saules is arguably one of the most photographed house in Montmartre. 

While no one really knows who built La Maison Rose, it has been serving coffee for quite a while - more than a hundred years! This was even before Montmartre became a part of Paris. It hasn’t shied away from the spotlight, either. This historic building has seen the likes of Picasso, Albert Camus, and Maurice Utrillo.

Vineyards everywhere!

If you’re looking for the ultimate secret location in Montmartre, then you simply must head to Clos Montmartre, the 18th arrondissement’s only surviving vineyard. Although the vines are closed to the public for much of the year, they can still easily be admired through the wrought iron fence which surrounds the sloping vineyard.

The sloping vineyard yields roughly 1,500 bottles of wine a year. For much of its existence, this vineyard was tended by monks, but it is now run by the Mairie de Paris.

You don't want to miss the windmills

Montmartre hill used to be dotted with windmills that ground flour and pressed grapes and Impressionist painters such as Utrillo, Renoir, and Van Gogh immortalized the existence of these Parisian windmills.

And the most famous (and obvious) one? The Moulin Rouge. But there are two other remaining wooden windmills in Montmartre.

If you're wondering whether the wooden windmills of Montmartre still exist (there were over 300 windmills centuries ago!), you'll see that one of the windmills has since been transformed into a popular restaurant, and the other one - the Moulin de la Galette - can only be spied through the trees.

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