Countless articles, posts, guidebooks and films advise on a perfect Paris trip. We, as many visitors before us, fell in love with the city instantly. Of all districts, sights and museums, Montmartre was the main reason for our Paris affection. Here are our tips for the perfect afternoon in the quirky neighbourhood.
Start your tour with style
Your first steps should lead to the magnificent Sacré-Cœur Basilica. Every small lane offers a different view over the landscape of Paris. Be sure to turn around once in a while. The Eiffel Tower may appear from above a rooftop any time.
On your way up, pass by the Grenouilles Paris take out in 55 Rue du Chevallier de La Barre and get some delicious Parisian baguettes to go. If you’re up to it, they also offer Champagne to go (glasses included). With your picnic packed continue to the famous Sacré-Cœur stairs for the magnificent Paris panorama view, pop the Champagne and enjoy your lunch!
On midday, the stairs start filling up, but there’s plenty of space for everybody. Be prepared for some envy looks of the crowds passing by.
After the lunch provided you with enough strength, visit the Sacré-Cœur basilica.
How do you get in without waiting in a long line? Observing and patience are the answer. While chilling on the stairs, you’ll see that a tourist train and a funicular arrive several times an hour with big groups. Wait until the crowds get smaller and swoop in just before the next group appears.
Start your visit with climbing the 300 steps leading to the 80-m high dome. On a clear day, you can see as far as 30 km. Paris will lie beneath will feet.
It’s up to you, whether you’d like to visit the famous Montmartre museums later. There is Espace Dalì, Halle St-Pierre, Museum de l’Èrotisme. With good weather, we preferred staying outside.
Take a walk
Afterwards, take a walk through the narrow streets of Montmartre. Don’t miss the local market on place du Tertre, where until today local painters sell their artworks. Buy an original souvenir in the form of a little painting or pose for a caricaturist. Be certain to pass by the only Parisian Vineyard – Clos Montmartre.
At some point get back Rue Lepic until you reach Café des Deux Moulins at the number 15, the location of Amélie’s Café from the famous Amèlie movie. Spare a couple of minutes and try a glass of pastis for an aperitif.
A short walk down the Rue Lepic to Boulevard de Clichy will take you directly in front of the Moulin Rouge. It’s a perfect place for pictures, videos, boomerangs or whichever way you prefer to immortalise your memories
Spoil your stomach
One probably can’t do anything wrong by choosing any restaurant in Montmartre.
Before a big French dinner, stroll around the boutiques and brasseries for a little while. Get a plate of oysters as a pre-dinner snack accompanied by a glass of rosé in one of the bistros on Rue des Abbesses. We liked the ones at Le Sancerre bar, but there is plenty to choose from.
To get the most out of your French culinary experience, book a good restaurant for dinner. The deliciousness of the food in the restaurant we chose – VAVA on 42 Rue Vèrnon is indescribable. You must try it yourself.
A word of advice: Be sure to book in advance. The owner told us they are “victims of their own success”, so it’s a bustling place. If your schedule allows it, reserve for the later turn at 9:45 pm. That way, you can enjoy yourself until late in the night without having to give up your place after 2 hours of dining. You can easily book via Facebook PM.
Where to stay
You can find many hotels, hostels, B&Bs and apartments in Montmartre. We stayed in a lovely Hotel des Arts. The pretty rooms with chick decor are named after famous artists of Montmartre. The hotel blends in perfectly with the atmosphere of the artistic neighbourhood. If possible, ask for a room with a balcony overlooking Montmartre’s rooftops.
How to reach Montmartre
You’ll get off directly in front of the Moulin Rouge if you use the metro line 2 (blue) and disembark at Blanche. Use the same line and disembark at Anvers for Sacré-Cœur.
Line 12 (dark green) will take you the Abbesses metro station with the last remaining original Art Nouveau glass canopy entrance.
Do not get off at Abbesses if you carry heavy luggage. The spiral staircase has more than 150 steps, and there is no elevator. It’s much better to admire the station’s glorious Art Nouveau design from outside.
On our Paris trip, we left our hearts in Montmartre. We’re sure, you will too!