The 18th arrondissement of Paris, known as Montmartre, has a certain je ne sais quoi that has been inspiring people since the late 19th century when it was known as the Artists District. Back in the day, Montmartre brought together some of the most famous artists of the time including: Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet. Perched above the City of Lights, it’s easy to see why so many people from the past, as well as the present, are captivated by this area of Paris.

Montmartre can be explored however you feel fit, and after our third visit to this area of Paris we’ve put together our own “Walk Through Montmartre”, including all of our favorite places to visit.

Where to start:

From our experiences, we’ve found that Montmartre shows it’s true colors by walking through the narrow alleyways, small side-streets and slowly enjoying this beautiful area of Paris (we always feel safer doing this during the day rather than at night). To start the walk we usually make our way to Rue des Abbesses.

This street is home to one of our favorite french bakeries, Le Grenier à Pain, as well as number of cafes, shops and the famous Mur des Je t’aime (I love you : the wall). The best way to experience this street is to walk up and down with a baguette or pain du chocolat in hand while stopping at the different shops. One of our favorite shops is the Librairie du Abbesses, where you can buy a new book or beautiful handmade card.

Le Grenier à Pain Montmartre Paris

Continue to Artists Square:

After walking Rue des Abbesses, make your way to Place du Tertre, to see the “Muse of Montmartre” that is alive today. Place du Tertre is a square where you can watch artists set up their easels and display their work (all of which is for sale). Although this area has become a popular tourist hotspot, we love wandering through the square and watching the artists paint, sketch and interpret the city of Paris in their own unique style. It’s best to do this in the morning around 10am as it isn’t too crowded yet and you can watch the artists begin to set-up.

While walking around this area don’t be surprised when you get stopped by someone offering to do a caricature of you on the spot. If you have the time and money, we’d say go for it! The people that do these caricature are very talented, but ask the price before saying yes and be sure to do a little negotiating (it’s easier to negotiate with them in the morning before they start to get busy)!

Montmartre Paris

Place du Tertre Montmartre Paris

Place du Tertre

One thing that isn’t inspiring about this area is how absurdly expensive the restaurants are that surround the square. We thought it would be nice to sit down and enjoy a cappuccino as we watched the artists, but when we got the bill it costs us €12 for two cappuccinos. Our advice, skip the coffee and just enjoy the art… caffeine free.

See Paris from the top of Montmartre’s hills:

After spending some time at the square, continue your walk to the the famous Basilica Sacre-Coeur, which offers an incredible view of Paris. The basilica inspired by roman architecture is free to enter and should not be missed while visiting Montmartre.

Basilica Sacre-Coeur Montmartre Paris

Behind the Sacre-Coeur there is also a small quiet park called Parc de la Turlure, which makes for a great spot to sit, relax and take a break from walking around.

Parc de la Turlure Montmartre Paris

Finish-up by exploring on your own:

Once you’ve spent sometime near the Sacre-Coeur, there are plenty of places to continue your exploration of this inspiring part of Paris. Every small side street can lead to what may become your favorite part of Montmartre. There are also two very good museums located within Montmartre; The Dalí Museum, a permanent exhibition devoted to Salvador Dalí as well as the Museum of the Montmartre. Also be sure to make your way to Clos Montmartre, a small vineyard located in Montmartre.

Montmartre Paris

Clos Montmartre Paris

Clos Montmartre

Additional activity: If you’re exploring the Montmartre area be sure to pass the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret club. It’s located on Boulevard de Clichy just below Rue des Abbesses and it was an integral part of Paris’ once thriving cabaret scene.

Have you visited Montmartre before? What is you’re favorite thing to do?



One comment on “The Muse of Montmartre, Paris

  • My wife and I visited Paris in 2016 & 2017, the latter time with friends. We visited Sacre-Coeur. 3/4 of us climbed to the top (my knees didn’t want to go) and walked to Place du Tertre. The street reminded me of the opening scene from Beauty and the Beast. We had drinks and crepes in a restaurant in the center. Prices didn’t seem crazy to me. It was my favorite day of our second trip. Wish I had known about the winery, though it is now on the list for next time or the time after that. Interesting that you didn’t advocate this trip at night. I had also read the same on Pinterest.

    I followed your blog for a bit but “lost” it somehow. Congrats on the wedding! May you have many years of travel together.