Last Updated on 18th January 2021 by Sophie Nadeau
If you’ve spent as much time looking at Paris photos on Instagram as I have, then no doubt you’ve spotted ‘La Maison Rose’ of Montmartre at least once or twice in your feed. Located on a cobbled lane in the maze of streets behind the iconic Sacré-Coeur basilica, you’ll find it. Head to the corner of Rue de l’Abreuvoir and Rue des Saules and there it is… A restaurant once frequented by Picasso himself. Here’s a quick history of the pink house of Paris!
La Maison Rose: The ‘Pink House’ of Picture Perfect Montmartre
Once upon a time, Montmartre was a hilltop village in its own right, covered in wooden windmills and little houses. Sprawling vineyards graced the hilly landscape. Today, just one vineyard survives, that of the ‘Clos Montmartre.‘ This small reminder of the 18e arrondissement’s rich past is well worth a quick peek while passing by and the place produces just 1700 bottles of ‘vin’ a year.
Luckily for us, the village feel that sets Montmartre apart from the rest of Paris has not been lost with its absorption into the fabric of the city. Instead, small traces of an out-of-Paris vibe can be found throughout the lanes that criss-cross the district, including at La Maison Rose.
After all, this colourful restaurant façade was made famous even before social media had even been invented. Indeed, the artist Maurice Utrillo who hailed from Montmartre immortalised the iconic exterior of La Maison Rose within his painting of the same name, ‘The Little Pink House’ in the 1930s.
Over the years, La Maison Rose was included within several of his more famous works. And to this day, Utrillo remains one of the only iconic Montmartre painters to have actually been born in the 18e district. Other iconic artists to have enjoyed the charm of Montmartre include Matisse, Picasso, and Vincent Van Gogh.
Café de La Petite Maison Rose Address | 2 Rue de l’Abreuvoir, 75018 Paris, France
There has been a coffee shop at La Petite Maison Rose for well over a hundred years, and this small bar on the side of Montmartre was once a boarding house where writers would come to enjoy their lunchtime meals for a modest price.
Picasso himself frequented the venue on more than one occasion. After all, he was friends with the founders… Sometime in the early 1900s, shortly after her marriage in 1906, Laure ‘Germaine’ Gargallo Florentin Pichot opened a restaurant, that of La Maison Rose.
She had married Catalan painter husband Ramon Pichot Girones, a man who favoured the impressionist style when creating new art pieces and was part of Picasso’s inner circle. Together Germaine and Pichot ran the well-priced coffee shop and canteen, drawing in artists who would go on to become some of the biggest names of the 20th-century.
Albert Camus, Suzanne Valadon and Maurice Utrillo all frequented the restaurant at some point or another.
Elsewhere in Montmartre
Wander further down the cobbled lane of rue de l’Abreuvoir, and you’ll stumble upon Place Dalida, which may well be the prettiest square in the city. Stroll one street over and the Musée de Montmartre offers a more extensive look at the history of artists in the area.
Once home to the creative Renoir, the museum offers extensive gardens (with views onto the nearby vineyard), and plenty of exhibitions highlighting the creative atmosphere that could be found throughout Montmartre post-WWI, and again post-WWII. Fancy discovering more of Montmartre? Read my free and self-guided walking tour of Montmartre!
How to visit La Maison Rose of Montmartre for yourself
If you’re looking to snap postcard perfect photos of the pink house, then you simply must set your alarm to go off incredibly early so that you can head to Montmartre for sunrise to capture the place sans tourists. Head to the restaurant later in the day, and you’ll likely find the place swarming with visitors!
The restaurant itself is not known for its food, but for the ambience, it encompasses, as well as its enviable location in the heart of one of Paris’ most iconic districts. For much of 2017, the pink restaurant remained closed for major renovations, but some internet sleuthing today indicates that it is now reopened to the public once more!
Nearby, the restaurant of Le Consulat Café (18 Rue Norvins) is one of the best coffee shops in Paris and offers additional outdoor seating if you can’t find a place to sit outside La Maison Rose (space is fairly limited)! If you’re in search of a more substantial bite to eat, then Le Refuge des Fondus (17 Rue des Trois Frères) offers some incredibly edible fondue served with wine which arrives in baby bottles!
La Maison Rose in the snow, January 2021