Last Updated on 16th October 2020 by Sophie Nadeau
Wandering through the cobbled lanes of Montmartre, spying the unusual houses of the village, and even marvelling at the secret vineyard to be found there, is one of the greatest joys of visiting Paris. This is especially true when it comes to during the early morning when few people about, enjoying Autumn in Montmartre when the mornings are crisp, the leaves start to fall from the trees, and there’s no better time to photograph the 18th arrondissement!
Many visitors make the Paris mistake of seeing the Sacré-Coeur, strolling past the artists of Place du Tertre… and that’s about it when it comes to exploring Montmartre! As such, just a few streets back, along rue Cortot, rue de l’Abreuvoir, and behind them still on rue Saint-Vincent, there’s plenty of beautiful architecture and greenery to be spied with fewer crowds than those which swell around the Basilica.
When is the best time to see autumn leaves in Montmartre?
Of course, the exact day or week that the autumn leaves change tends to vary each year depending on the weather and climate of that summer. However, as a rule of thumb, the leaves typically begin to change in the first week of October and are fully red and orange by the second week.
As such, the best time to enjoy fall in Montmartre is during the second and third weeks of October. Go too early and the leaves will still be green; go too late and you’ll have missed all of the leaves at their most beautiful! In order to check on the leaves before making a trip up to Montmartre, I tend to check on social media, and in particular, Instagram, in order to see what others have posted, thus giving an indication on how ‘red’ the autumnal vibes of the 18th have become.
Square Georges Marcel Bleustein-Blanchett
For those in search of a secret and secluded park while in the area, Square Marcel Bleustein-Blanchett provides one of the best Sacré-Coeur views and is an absolute delight to sit in for a little while to pause, chat with friends, or read a good book.
Come fall time, the trailing Wisteria and other greenery transform into an explosion of colour, framing the park and the Basilica beyond it in vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows. It’s worth noting that while nothing is left of it today, this square was once the home of one of the lost windmills of Paris.
Directly linking the crossroads where La Maison Rose is to be found together with one of the main roads leading through the 18th-arrondissement, despite its lack of fame, there are a surprising number of beautiful terraced houses to be spied here, with oodles of trailing plants which turn golden come autumntime.
rue de l’Abreuvoir & Place Dalida
Just the other side of the crossroads from rue Cortot is the Instagram-famous ‘La Maison Rose‘. A café in operation for over a century, where even the most prominent of early twentieth-century artists once visited, the trailing vines covering the Montmartre establishment are ever so pretty to photograph.
Carry on along rue de l’Abreuvoir to the little cobbled square at the end of the Montmartre Street. Reach the end and you’ll be rewarded with a fantastic postcard-perfect perspective of the autumn leaves along the street, all the while capturing the Sacré-Coeur in the background.
PS, local legend has it that touching the bust of Dalida’s breasts will give you good luck which is why this part of the statue in the centre of the square is so worn! Visit at the same time as a tour group and you’ll soon be in a queue for snapping a photo together with the bust of the iconic singer.
When the summer season comes to an end, the air grows colder, and the nights shorter, Montmartre’s only vineyard transforms from vivid green to a burnt umber shade. Best-seen from just beside the Lapin Agile cabaret building during Autumn in Montmartre, this is one hidden gem of the 18th arrondissement you certainly won’t want to miss during your sojourn in Paris!
If you’ve ever seen a photo of a lamp set against a burning red set of fall leaves on Instagram, then you’ve almost definitely seen a photo of the iconic post along rue saint-Vincent. For exact directions on how to find the lamppost (and the best time to visit), be sure to check out my lamppost of Montmartre visitor’s guide.
Montmartre Grape Harvest Festival
Each and every year, the Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre takes place, typically around the second weekend of October. While the vineyard is closed to the public for the rest of the year (though can be spied through the metal grillings which surround it), on this select weekend wine grown in the 18th-arrondissement is auctioned off, with profits going to local causes. Other events during popular festival include dancing, singing, and more!
Cimetière du Calvaire
There’s a little cemetery in Montmartre which is so small, old, and off the beaten path, that even many Parisians themselves do not know of its existence. Hidden in the shadow of the awe-inspiring domes of the Sacré-Coeur Basilica, the Cimetière du Calvaire (Calvaire Cemetery) is not only the smallest cemetery in Paris, but it’s also the oldest… And it’s only open for one day a year!
That day happens to be the 1st of November (which is obviously during the autumn), making a visit to the Cimetière du Calvaire one of the best things to do in Montmartre in fall. While visiting the cemetery is free, you can visit by guided tour in French only. There is typically a short waiting time to get in and it’s most certainly worth taking a peek inside if you’re able to!