At le fin de siècle, Montmartre was a hub for some of the greatest artists and writers in history. Once home to many of the infamous sights of the city of lights, Montmartre's winding, cobblestone streets have many joys - some obvious, and some thoroughly less so!
Art is a barren route, of which glory is the oasis.
- Henri Murger
The Unmissable Areas of Montmartre
The layout of Montmartre may be one of the most uniform of arrondissements, but its quarters and corners have their own character. From Pigalle to the Place du Tertre and the Basilica of Sacre-Cœur, when we say there's "something for everyone" in Montmartre, we mean it.
Pigalle is hipster central for the nouveau bohemians and is home to more than its fair share of artsy joints. The area of South Pigalle is now affectionately known as SoPi.
Theatres and cabarets line Rue des Martyrs and the boulevards, interlaced with adult video shops and classical music venues. Vintage and oddities shops line the steep back streets that head north to the Sacre-Cœur.
There’s a special feeling that hits the second you see the travertine-white of the Sacré-Cœur peeking out from over the tops of Parisian rooftops. Be it framed by grassy knolls or trees in accordance with the seasons, the basilica is a simple, mapless (and definitely smartphone-less) way of finding your way home.
Insider Tip: Stay in an apartment close to the basilica so you can rise early and experience one of the best sunrises you'll ever see
Place du Tertre
Around the corner from the basilica is the Place du Tertre: a square of easels and galleries, artists in flat caps and berets, and the history of the galleries and cafés that surround it.
Staying close to it means you'll be able to experience it during the night. In silence, with echoes of conversation, and the sound of heels against the stones.
Must-sees: Galerie Montmartre, Rue du Calvaire
Enjoy Cabaret at Au Lapin Agile
Take a left on your way south from Sacre-Cœur and in minutes, you'll be on Rue des Saules. This picturesque road is on the incline next to the only vineyard left in Paris. On a nondescript corner, you'll see a small, dusty pink cottage that looks plucked from the French countryside. This still-functioning cabaret once catered to Montmartre's poverty-stricken artists. These days, it's a little less "I'll give you a painting if you give me absinthe” and more of a traditional cabaret experience.
Address: 22 Rue des Saules
Vibe: La vie Bohème will never be dead so long as Au Lapin Agile is around
Insider Knowledge: Make reservations. They aren't mandatory, but on a nice evening the floor can fill fast!
Le Bateau-Lavoir - named by poet Max Jacob - once served as something of a Chelsea Hotel for the Montmartre crowd. While the original building on Place Émile-Godeau burned down many years ago, it has since been rebuilt. Notable guests who stayed in this Montmartre hotel were Picasso and Matisse.
Address: 13 Rue Ravignan (just below Place du Tertre)
Van Gogh's House
An easy five-minute walk from Le Bateau-Lavoir, you’ll find Rue Lepic. Rue Lepic is where Van Gogh and his brother Théo once lived.
This Montmartre home offered the impressionist a view of the Parisian skyline that he painted many times. Most notably in View from Vincent's Window.
Where: 54 Rue Lepic
Vibe: Exactly as you’d imagine it to be - a little sexy, a lot silly, and very very frilly.
Insider Knowledge: Take in dinner and a show during the winter or early spring before the swathes of tourists descend.
The Moulin Rouge
Baz Luhrmann had one thing right: At the Moulin Rouge, you can-can-can. The courtesans of the Moulin Rouge are credited with coming up with the dance as a means of seduction.
In the heart of Pigalle, everything is some version of means of seduction. Toulouse-Lautrec was the Moulin Rouge's most infamous patron and most of its classic posters can be attributed to him.
Address: 82 Boulevard de Clichy
Le Chat Noir
Le Chat Noir is thought to be one of the first modern cabarets. The establishment moved several times around the Sopi (South Pigalle) area to accommodate its growing artistic clientele.
One of the last buildings that hosted this legendary cabaret has now been turned into a boutique hotel that's worth a peek.
Address: 68 Boulevard de Clichy
Le Fabuleux Montmartre d'Amélie Poulain
Essential viewing before you go to Paris has to be Amélie.
Many who come to Montmartre come to experience the world through Jean-Pierre Jeunet's lens and Amélie Poulain's eyes. This can be both a blessing and a curse as some of the hottest spots in Montmartre - notably those that featured in the film - can get a little too hot.
But it’s possible to get your whimsical fix, without feeling crushed by tourists.
Café des 2 Moulins
Many travel blogs and magazines would tell you to avoid this charmingly quaint café. Our advice: Don't! It's true, the café that inspired the cafe in Amélie can get busy at times.
You can tell the difference between the locals and tourists by seeing who has their phones out and a créme brulée in front of them. But the atmosphere is worth every second.
Address: 15 Rue Lepic
Insider Tip: For quieter times, visit during the week between lunch and tea time.
Au Marché de la Butte
The grocer's in which Amélie proclaims even artichokes have hearts isn't unlike the film and is an excellent place to strike up a selfie. Or, if you're like most of us, have a friend snap a "candid" shot of you walking by. Trust us, the owners are more than used to it.
Address: On the corner of Rue des Trois Frères and Rue Androuet
(Amélie's apartment is at 56 rue des Trois frères)
Eating in Montmartre
- La Bohème du Tertre online reviews don’t do its atmosphere or delicious food justice. La Bohème stands where the historic Hotel du Tertre once did. Renoir's muses and girls from the nearby Moulin Rouge would sit outside of the hotel, attracting wandering clientele.
Address: 2 Place du Tertre
Vibe: Traditional, artsy, and open late
- La Bonne Franquette comes from a French expression of the same name. À la bonne franquette means simple; without ceremony. Cezanne, Monet, and Piaf all found comfort there and Van Gogh’s La Guinguette was inspired by the gardens.
Address: 18 Rue Saint-Rustique
Vibe: Informal and relaxed
- Le Café de la Poste was mentioned in wartime love letters from Simone de Beauvoir to Jean-Paul Sartre. Out of the way of the tourist spots, La Poste is an authentic Parisian establishment in one of the best locations to people watch.
Address: 76 Rue Damrémont
Vibe: Cozy, charming, and great value for money
Exclusive Places to Shop in Montmartre
- Dessine-moi un soulier is a speciality shoe shop that offers you the custom shoes (and accessories!) of your dreams. With a variety of styles and materials to personalise as much or as little as you want, this little boutique is to die for.
Address: 7 Rue Houdon
- Self-taught Parisian jeweller Emmanuelle Zysman has a boutique which can be found on Rue des Martyrs. If you like artisan jewelry with rare gems, strangely brilliant designs, and the best materials, Emmanuelle Zysman is worth a visit.
Address: 81 Rue des Martyrs
- On a back street on the corner of Rue des Martyrs and Rue la Vieuville, one of the best of the best vintage boutiques in the city is waiting to be found. Chinemachine has a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it quality from the outside. Inside there’s always classic records playing, the walls are adorned with framed prints of Bowie and Prince, and hiding in the racks, you'll find some of fashion's greatest couturiers - from Maison Margiela to Chanel.
Address: 100 Rue des Martyrs
- Ty Miam Goz is a specialised grocery store that brings all of Bretagne’s best right to Paris. Worth it just for a bottle of Breton cider or four.
Address: 64 Rue d’Orsel