I was not always the biggest fan of Montmartre, Paris. It was rather far from where I was living at the time; there are too many hills and not enough escalators; it’s a little gritty; and on the other hand also very touristy. I find myself always on extra alert for pickpockets, especially near the basilica.
However, I recently re-explored and intend to go back. This is another running list to be updated as new adventures occur. And, if you have recommendations, be sure to drop a comment so that other people can enjoy, too!
Things to Do in Montmartre, Paris
Square Marcel Bleustein Blanchet
If you want to see Sacre Coeur, the front of the basilica is always mobbed and, I find, generally unpleasant as you are elbow-to-elbow, shoving your way through the crowd. If you walk behind it, however, you still enjoy the most marvellous view of the dome, with much more tranquility. It is rather small, but all you need for a nice picnic lunch.
I know I said that the entrance is awful, but going inside the cathedral is really an experience, to see the grandeur. I do have a soft spot for architecture, and the regal, lofty interior fits the bill nicely.
Musée de Montmartre Paris
Now THIS is where it’s at, my friends. I can’t tell you how many people walk past it and don’t realise it. It might have something to do with the fact that the infamous Maison Rose is its neighbour. The museum is not large nor is it free, but I heartily recommend. Renoir once had his studio here, and I stood on the swing he painted in what was aptly titled “The Swing” (“La balançoire”). The museum showcases the artistic history of Montmartre, from its painters to the cabarets. The garden is also quite lovely. You’ll leave knowing some more historical spots to check out!
Musée de la Vie Romantique
Actually just outside the border of Montmartre, this museum features permanent collections on the…Romantique period, as well as personal items from George Sand. I’m not a huge fan of this period of art, but the house itself is very charming — pink with green shutters — at the end of a quiet lane. There’s no flashy sign, and you might miss it if you’re not looking for it. Have a tea and cake in the rose garden after.
It’s a basketball court sandwiched between two buildings and really worth seeing. I’ll let you do the googling (or better yet, just go!) to see what it’s all about. Located just a few minutes walk from the Pigalle metro station.
Le Mur de Je t’aime
Also technically just outside Montmartre’s borders but a fun find by the Abbesses station. A wall of “I love yous.”
Fotoautomat, 53 rue des Trois Frères, Montmartre Paris
One of a slew of vintage photo booths throughout the city. Step inside, make four faces, and wait four minutes. You’ll get a little strip of photos freshly developed and printed…all done on film! You can visit all the booths in the city…they’ll take you to all corners of Paris!
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