The charming Montmartre district is known for the white-domed Basilica of the Sacré Cœur, the Moulin Rouge and for the many famous artists who once lived and worked here including Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and many others. Today artists still gather in Place du Tertre for the benefit of the tourists that fill the streets each day, especially in summer.
It is possible to see inside the basilica but photography is not allowed and, in my opinion, the interior is not as impressive as the exterior. There is a great view across Paris from the steps of the basilica or, better still, from the main dome itself.
Also at the top of the hill of Montmartre you will find the church of Saint Pierre de Montmartre, which is reputed to be the location where the order of Jesuit priests was founded. It is far older than the basilica which rather over shadows it.
The best way to enjoy the area is to explore the steep, cobbled streets between the basilica and the metro stations Blanche and Anvers, one of the most historic and interesting neighborhoods in Paris. Keep in mind that Blanche metro station is in the ‘red light ‘ district on Boulevard de Clichy which is lined with bars, kebab shops, sex shops and peep-shows, however, it is also home to the famous Moulin Rouge. At the other end of the street you’ll find Boulevard de Rochechouart and the Elysees Montmartre Theatre. While less known, this is said to be the oldest can-can dance theatre in Paris and is now one of its most famous music venues. Designed by Gustave Eiffel the building’s roof, mezzanine and columns are official historic monuments.
Metro for Sacré Cœur: Anvers (Line 2) and Abbesses (Line 12)
Metro for Moulin Rouge: Blanche (Line 2) and Pigalle (Line 12)
Metro for Elysees Montmartre: Anvers (Line 2)
Tip: For those who would find walking up the steep streets and climbing the steps to the top of the hill impossible catch ‘Le Petit Train de Montmartre‘. It is also a good option for those with young children while still allowing the adults to enjoy a tour of the area. Catch the train at Place Blanche by the Blanche metro station and get off at Place du Tertre.
Photography: Kathryn Burrington, Travel With Kat