Last Updated on 6th January 2021 by Sophie Nadeau
Montmartre. If there’s one arrondissement I could return to again, and again, it’s this time-warp in central Paris. The sights, the smells, and of course, all of the cobbled lanes come together to form a little piece of quirky France that’s best explored on foot. Its quirky architecture, rich history, and the fact that it has acted as a muse for artists, poets and writers alike for centuries make it the perfect spot to get lost in, perhaps even for a few hours. Here’s a Montmartre Walking tour; a self-guided walk full of quirky activities and sites.
Montmartre Walking Tour: Practical Advice, Tricks & Tips
Before you head out on your Montmartre Walking Tour, there are certain things you should know. Firstly, make sure that you wear suitable walking shoes: this is one area of Paris where there really are plenty of cobbled lanes.
Though the walking time is just 26 minutes, allow yourself at least a couple of hours to ensure that you have enough time to see all the sites and attractions along the way (after all, there are plenty of museums, small streets, and eateries you may want to spend a while in along the way). If you’re considering stopping for lunch, and perhaps also an afternoon tea, then allocate yourself an entire half day.
Walking time: 26 minutes
Distance Covered: 2km
Parvis du Sacré Coeur
Begin your self-guided walking tour of Paris at the Parvis du Sacré-Coeur, the gateway to Montmartre. You can reach the Parvis du Sacré-Coeur via a number of different routes. The nearest metro station is Anvers (line 2 blue) and you can walk up the numerous steps from the Carousel, up to the Sacré-Coeur.
If you approach the Basilica from this direction, you’ll pass the Sinking house of Montmartre along the way. Alternatively, you can reach the Parvis via the funiculaire de Montmartre. Opened in 1900, the journey lasts a minute and a half and costs the same as one metro ticket.
Once at the top, take a moment to admire the landscape, and the city of Paris sprawling out below you. This is your first glimpse of Montmartre and a portal into another time zone…
The iconic Basilica of the Sacreé-Coeur has been a place of worship for thousands of years (during Roman times, it was even used as a pagan place of worship). And, let’s face it, you predominantly visit Montmartre to catch at least a quick glimpse of the iconic Basilica. Entry to the church is free, though no photographs are allowed inside.
Musee de Montmartre
Pretty in pink, and complete with a set of gardens dedicated to Renoir, Musée de Montmartre is the perfect introduction to life in Montmartre, and the culture which has grown up around the area. Located at 8-14 Rue de Cortot, here you’ll find a selection of artworks by many a famous resident of the area, as well as a brief history of Montmartre itself.
If you really want to get an understanding of Montmartre, and the history of the area, then no Montmartre Walking Tour would be complete without a visit to the Clos Montmartre, one of the last working vineyards in the middle of Paris. Situated just to the rear of Musée de Montmartre, the vineyard produces just a few bottles of wine annually.
La Maison Rose
Incredibly famous since the rise of Instagram, La Maison Rose stands at the end of one of the prettiest roads in Paris and is surrounded by cobbled streets. The restaurant/ café is open daily for food and drinks and is pretty much as cute as you can imagine (from the photo).
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. Today you can still enjoy traditional French fare on the little chairs and tables outside of the Parisian café.
The pretty little road of rue de l’Abreuvoir overlooks the Sacré-Coeur and some of the prettiest architecture Montmartre has to offer. Many of the houses are covered in ivy, and it’s one of the best places to see Wisteria in the city come wisteria season in April/ May. The street takes its name from an ancient watering trough situated in its centre, and dates back all the way to the 14th-century.
Perhaps the prettiest square in Paris, Place Dalida is well worth a stroll around, and perhaps a quick stop to snap a photo or two. The square is named after the iconic singer Dalida, an Egyptian/ Italian who called Paris home during her most famous years.
Moulin de la Galette
Once upon a time, the hill of Montmartre and its surrounding countryside was home to a whole multitude of windmills. Though this is no longer the case, a few still survive to this day. Moulin de la Galette is a testament to the history of Montmartre, as well as its enduring culture. Today, the Moulin (windmill) operates as a restaurant and is open on a daily basis for lunch and dinner. A windmill has stood here, in this spot, since at least the 17th-century.
Picasso’s Paris Studio
As you will have already seen from your time at the Montmartre Museum, the area has inspired countless artists, writers, and poets for centuries. One of the most famous of these was Picasso, who spent a lot of time in Montmartre when he was starting out.
As a result, he set up shop in Montmartre, Le Bateau-Lavoir to be precise. Though much of the building was sadly destroyed by fire in the 1970s, the façade survived and the building was reconstructed.
Montmartre, 1925, via Wikipedia
Le Consulat Café
Perhaps the cutest cafeé in Paris (if one coffee house is even allowed to claim that title), Le Consulat is well worth a look when you’re in Montmartre. Situated at 18 Rue Norvins, this little café is overlooked by the Sacré-Coeur, a cobbled street and is the perfect place to stop off for a quick coffee. For exactly how to order a coffee in Paris, I’ve written a short guide here!
Place du Tertre
If you want to see where the artists spend their time in Paris nowadays, then you need to look no further than Place du Tertre. Filled with little artists’ stalls, here you’ll find painters painting en plein air as well as the chance to purchase some of their artworks (if you’re looking for a particularly unusual souvenir to bring home with you). Surrounding the Place du Tertre square, you’ll find a large selection of cafés and shops selling ice cream.
Le Refuge des Fondus
If you’re looking for traditional French cuisine, then Le Refuge Des Fondus is the place to head to. Enjoy wine, by the [baby] bottle- yes, the wine quite literally is served in baby bottles. Here, you’ll also find more fondu than you could possibly eat (and it’s oh so delicious!)
Le Mur des Je T’aime
A wall dedicated to all things love, the wall has ‘Je T’aime‘, (or I love you for all my English speaking readers) in over 250 languages, with over 300 declarations of love listed in total! Spend the penultimate stop on your Montmartre Walking Tour celebrating love, and stop to admire the wall for a short moment. The I love you wall is at the base of the Butte Montmartre and comprises 612 tiles of enamelled lava. All in all, it’s well worth a look!
L’Objet Qui Parle
Finish off your Montmartre walking tour by indulging in a typically Parisian- and more specifically Montmartre- pastime. That’s right, try vintage shopping a la Parisienne in L’Objet Qui Parle(the talking object). This vintage shop in Paris stocks quite literally everything; from drawings to ceramics, to the bizarre. It offers you the chance to purchase a particularly unique souvenir from your time in Montmartre, and Paris in general…