Street Artistes, Montmartre
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Montmartre is a charming quarter - the heart of Bohemian romanticism of Paris and the first neighbourhood in everyone's mind at the mention of Moulin Rouge, Amélie and La Môme (aka La Vie En Rose). In its heyday in late 19th century and early 20th century, it was a mecca for writers, artists, poets, musicians and cabarets. Camille Pisarro, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí and Edgar Degas have all called Montmartre home at some stage of their lives. Today, it may not have retain the same state of favour, but it remains a bustling area with street performers, artists and writers who continue to draw their inspirations from the city at the foot of the hill of Montmartre.
Artistry aside, amidst the uphill streets and stairs is a vineyard - Clos Montmartre - which usually remains in the background but comes alive during La Fête des Vendanges. Atop the hill, the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur (the Basilica of the Sacred Heart), built between 1875 and 1919, dominates the skyline. The Basilica is accessible through the Montmartre funicular or by walking over 200 steps up the hill.
Sights and Activities
Basilique du Sacré-Cœur
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- Basilique du Sacré-Cœur sits high atop Butte Montmartre and it is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Christ. Inside, the Great Mosaic of Christ dominates the vault and the dome can be visited for a grand view of the city. (parvis de Notre Dame, 75018; M: Anvers, then Funiculaire de Montmartre)
- Saint Pierre de Montmartre is one of the oldest churches in Paris, and it is situated just adjacent to the great basilica. (2 rue du Mont-Cenis, 75018; M: Anvers, Abbesses)
- Place du Tertre is at the tourist centre of Montmartre, filled with artists and portraitists. The square is lined by restaurants on the four sides, some of which their terrace seatings spill into the Place du Tertre as well. (75018; M Abbesses)
- Espace Dalí Montmartre houses a permanent exhibition of over 300 works by this Spanish surrealist master. (11 rue Poulbot, 75018; M: Abbesses)
- Musée de Montmartre is a museum of culture and history of Montmartre, with a collection of photographs, paintings, artefacts and documents, in particular those reflecting the Bohemian life of the area. (12 rue Cortot, 75018; M: Lamarck-Caulaincourt)
- Musée d'Art Naïf Max Fourny, located in the Halle-Saint-Pierre, contains over 600 works of naive art in its permanent collection. (Halle-Saint-Pierre, 2 rue Ronsard, 75018; M: Anvers)
- Moulin Rouge is characterised by the neon-lit windmill blades runs performances daily, with wild and colourful dance shows including the infamous cancan. (82 blvd de Clichy; M: Blanche)
- Église Saint-Jean-de-Montmartre is a church decorated in the interior in Art Nouveau style but with ceramic exterior and interlocking arches reflection Middle-Eastern architecture. (19 rue des Abbesses; M: Abbesses)
- Musée de l'Érotisme is a museum housing a collection of erotic arts from all over the world, from ancient wood sculptures to modern digital installations. (72 blvd de Clichy, 75018; M: Blanche)
- Cimetière de Montmartre is the final resting place for many Montmartre-based artists, including Edgar Degas, Alexandre Dumas (fils) and Henri Rivière. (20 av Rachel, 75018; M: Place de Clichy, Blanche)
- Clos Montmartre is the last remaining working vineyard in Montmartre and it celebrates La Fête des Vendanges annually following harvest, with food and wine tasting, music and more amusingly Cérémony des Non-Demandés en Mariage (ceremony to NOT get married to your partner). (14-18 rue des Saules, 75018; M: Lamarck-Caulaincourt)
Getting There and Around
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By Métro / Funicular
The area is served by métro and a funicular, all using the same standard t/t+ ticket.
- Métro line 2: Blanche, Pigalle, Anvers, Barbès-Rochechouart
- Métro line 4: Barbès-Rochechouart, Château Rouge
- Métro line 12: Pigalle, Abbesses, Lamarck-Coulaincourt, Jules Joffrin
- Funiculaire de Montmartre: Funiculaire Gare Basse, Funiculaire Gare Haute
Abbesses is one of the few "deep" métro stations, embedded 36 metres below ground. Access via elevators or hundreds of steps up the decorated spiralling staircase.
The roads on the hills of Montmartre are narrow and windy, so extra care should be taken if driving in the area. Like most parts of Paris, parking spaces are limited.
The nearest and most convenient Vinci Park operated carparks are "Square d'Anvers" on Boulevard de Rochechouart and "Barbes Rochechouart" on Boulevard de la Chapelle.
The most useful bus route is Montmartrobus which travels to/fro Pigalle and Jules Joffrin. Other buses that serve the area includes 30, 54, 80, 85 and 95.
There are numerous Velib' stations around Montmartre although cycling uphill can be strenuous for those unused to it.
Walking around by foot is a good way to explore Montmartre although there often stairs to get from one level of the hill to another, which may be tiring for visitors who are not particularly fit or pose trouble for visitors with considerable amount of luggage with them.
Food and Drink
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Restaurants / Bistrots
- Au Grain de Folie: 24 rue la Vieuville, 75018 (M: Abbesses) - small but good vegetarian/organic restaurant
- Moulin de la Galette: 83 rue Lepic, 75018 (M: Abbesses, Lamarck-Caulaincourt)
- Au Rendez-Vous des Amis: 23 rue Gabrielle, 75018 (M: Abbesses)
- Café Le Refuge: 72 rue Lamarck, 75018 (M: Lamarck-Caulaincourt)
Pâtissier / Bakery
- Arnaud Larher: 57 rue Damrémont, 75018 (M: Lamarck-Caulaincourt)
- Le Grenier à Pain Abbesses: 38 rue des Abbesses, 75018 (M: Abbesses) - bakery with one of the best baguettes in Paris
The area around Boulevard de Clichy is the red light district of Paris. It may get unsavoury at night so care should be taken. Precautions should also be taken in crowded places against pickpockets.
Around the greens at the hill leading to the Basilica, scammers may also be in operation. The most commonly used tactic here is by asking visitors to "lend" a hand, of which a friendship band of some sort is quickly made and secure, after which a payment is asked in return. Firmly (while remain courteous) say "non, merci" if the "string men" approach and move away resolutely.