Montmartre: Paris’ artistic quarter
Montmartre is a hill that lends its name to the surrounding neighbourhood, a village within France’s capital. To avoid getting lost, look up and use the iconic Basilica of the Sacré-Coeur perched on top of the 130-metre-high slope to guide you. Younger than it looks, this Roman Catholic church only dates back to the early 20th century.
Take your pick of Paris Métro stops to reach Montmartre. The number 12 line features the most stations, closely followed by the number 2. If you want to visit the Sacrè-Couer, get off at Anvers on Line 2 and follow Rue de Steinkerque or leave Line 12 at Abbesses and walk along Eue Yvonne le Tac.
The Basilica of the Sacre-Couer is open to both sightseers and worshippers every day of the week from 6:00am to 10:30pm. The shop sells both souvenirs and prayer aids such as crucifixes, icons, and rosary beads. For those who wish to pray at night, you have to register at least 48 hours in advance: by email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, online, or by phone on +33 1 534 189 03.
Other sights to see in Montmartre include Rue Cortot’s Musée du Montmartre. This art gallery is located where Renoir had his studio. There’s even a room full of artwork chronicling the famous Cancan dance with several pastels on this theme from Toulouse-Lautrec who would draw as he watched the dancers go through their routines at the Moulin Rouge in nearby Pigalle.
What was once a cheap working-class place to live which attracted starving artists has metamorphosed into a trendy area populated by media types. Go retro at La Rideau de Fer in Rue André del Sarte. Where you can purchase some classic vinyl.
If you find the main drag in Montmartre too touristy, lose the crowds by slipping down one of the area’s many side streets. This is where you’ll find the neighbourhood’s best restaurants. Like Restaurant Miroir, a classic bistro in Rue des Martyrs.
Similarly tucked away is the Le Supercoin bar in Rue Baudelique. Where the ethos is to put your mobile away and engage in conversation. Over a beer pulled from three taps or one ordered from the five-page menu.
The nocturnal scene in Montmartre is a lively one, with the district home to some of Paris’ leading concert venues. These include Le Trianon in Boulevard Rochechouart which has reinvented itself somewhat since its days as the French capital’s first music hall. Similarly reborn is Elyseé Montmartre on the same boulevard.