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Montmartre, the last village in Paris

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Sacre Coeur

The last village in Paris, Montmartre was made famous by Picasso, Van Gogh, Renoir and Monet who lived there. The Moulin Rouge cabaret, Sacre Coeur Basilica and Place du Tertre are Montmartre key attractions. Places to visit in Paris.

Montmartre quick facts

Topped by the Sacre Coeur Basilica, Montmartre is the highest hill in the City of Lights at 128 meters. Rural until 1900, Montmartre became famous in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the arrival of pennyless artists such as Auguste Renoir, Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso. In spite of the affluence of tourists from all over the world, most Montmartre streets, almost free of car traffic, keep their village-like atmosphere, which set them apart in busy Paris.

Montmartre pronunciation

Stairs in Montmartre
Stairs in Montmartre

Montmartre top sights

The Sacre Coeur is the most famous Montmartre sight and a flagship Paris monument. It is also a vibrant 24/24 catholic church. The oldest church in Paris, Saint-Pierre de Montmartre near Sacre Coeur was built in 1147. She was the church of the prestigious Montmartre Abbey until the revolution in 1790. The Place du Tertre is the most crowded tourist spot. The lovely village square, Place du Tertre is shared by artists who paint tourist portraits and restaurant terraces. Painted by Renoir, Van Gogh and other famous artists, the Moulin de La Galette is Montmartre last windmill.

Moulin de la Galette in Montmartre
Moulin de la Galette in Montmartre

Montmartre visit

Walk around in Montmartre and discover gardens, steep streets and splendid Paris views. Have a drink Place du Tertre, eat or shop rue des des Abbesses, visit the lovely Montmartre Museum. Check Montmartre map. Try our Montmartre walk.

Visit Montmartre on a coach tour or spend an evening there envoying a musical dinner and a Moulin Rouge show. Information and booking.

Montmartre is very crowded during weekends. Go there early on weekdays. To best appreciate Montmartre, choose your hotel near Rue des Abbesses (Paris map), a lovely shopping street and the heart of Montmartre Parisians love. Find there in mostly pedestrian streets the Parisian mix of small fashion stores, food stores, restaurants and bars.

Paris metro: Abbesses station on line 12, and Anvers station on line 2. From Anvers station, walk to Montmartre funicular station (5 minutes) and ride funicular up to Sacre Coeur. Check Montmartre map below.

Sacre Coeur in Montmartre
Sacre Coeur in Montmartre

The Moulin Rouge cabaret

The Moulin Rouge, the most famous cabaret in the world, opened in 1889 at the foot of Montmartre. It became successful immediately thanks to its legendary dancers and singers who were immortalised by Toulouse Lautrec. It was made famous by the French Cancan, a frenetic dance in which the women throw up their skirts in time to the music.

Information on Paris by night tours including Moulin Rouge.

Moulin Rouge web site

Paris nightlife: Moulin Rouge Cabaret
Moulin Rouge Cabaret in Montmartre

Au Lapin Agile cabaret

The Lapin Agile was bought in the early twentieth century by the cabaret singer Aristide Bruant. The cabaret became a favourite spot for struggling artists and writers, including Picasso, Modigliani, Apollinaire, and Utrillo.

Today, traditional French songs, chansons by Piaf and Brassens, Paris songs are sang with the public in the intimate and no thrill cabaret room with no audio system. Four hour of pure delight. Au Lapin Agile web site.

Au Lapin Agile cabaret in Montmartre
Au Lapin Agile cabaret in Montmartre

Montmartre artists

The artists in Place du Tertre are ready to sketch out your face, a nice souvenir of Paris. They remind us of the pennyless artists, Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso, who lived in Montmartre in late 19th / early 20th centuries. Many of them, including Pablo Picasso and Amadeo Modigliani lived in Bateau Lavoir, which can still be seen today. The Moulin de La Galette, then a ballroom, was frequently painted. Montmartre inspired many movies like Amelie Poulain (video) which made famous a cafe and a grocery store.

Artists Place du Tertre in Montmartre
Artists Place du Tertre in Montmartre

Montmartre famous paintings

Renoir, Van Gogh and Picasso stand out among the painters who lived in Montmartre and painted it.

Paris seen from Montmartre - Van Gogh - 1886
Quarry in Montmartre - Van Gogh - 1886
Moulin de la Galette - Renoir - 1876
Gardens in Montmartre - Renoir
Harlequin with glass in Lapin Agile - Picasso - 1905

A number of artists and shops in Montmartre sell more affordable and good quality views of this picturesque district.

Moulin de la Galette in Montmartre by Vincent Van Gogh
Moulin de la Galette by Vincent Van Gogh

Montmartre religious history

Montmartre means mount of martyrs: Saint Denis, the first Paris bishop, was beheaded there in 250 and buried in the Martyrium (11 rue Yvonne Le Tac. Paris map. Tel: +33 (0)1 42 23 48 94. Visit Fridays 3 to 6pm).

On August 15th 1534, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Francis Xavier and five other companions bound themselves on the spot by vows, the first step in the creation of the Jesuits. The Jesuits later spread the gospel in China, Japan, Indonesia and South America.

Martyrium in Montmartre
Cafe des Deux Moulins featured in Amelie Poulain

Map of Montmartre

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