Montmartre. With its maze of cobbled lanes, ivy-clad houses and wealth of rich history, there’s nowhere else in the city quite like the 18e arrondissement, nor would you want there to be. Montmartre is the unique gem of Paris and is a must-see on any visit to the City of Love. But, of course, if you need any more reasons to visit this quirky district, here are 10 very good reasons to love Montmartre!
#1 Cobbled Lanes
First things first: let’s start with all the prettiness! Walk through any given arrondissement in the city, and you’re sure to come across a cobbled lane or two. Walk through Montmartre, and it’s a whole other story. Quite literally everywhere you look, you’ll find lane upon lane of cobbled streets! For more inspiration on your Paris trip, check out this guide to the most charming streets in Paris.
#2 Montmartre has a Village Feel
Unlike the rest of the city, there is little to no Husmannian architecture represented here in Montmartre. Instead, there is a distinct ‘village’ feel that is rapidly becoming lost the city over. Apart from a few select locations (Cité Florale and Square de Montsouris come to mind), much of Paris is rapidly changing, though there are still a few oases of calm that retain their stunning village vibe. Here’s your guide to the forgotten villages of Paris.
#3 Montmartre has plenty of Ivy Clad Houses
Let’s face it, there are few places in Paris more ‘grammable than Montmartre. Whether you want to practice your photography skills, or just snap some photos for Instagram, you should totally head to the 18th! For more photo locations across the French capital, check out this Instagram guide to Paris.
#4 Museums and galleries
As the home of art in Paris, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Montmartre is filled with quirky little galleries and house museums that are well worth a visit. From the very (free) Musée de la Vie Romantique to learning about the history of Montmartre in Musée de Montmartre (which may well be my favourite museum in the entire city), there’s a museum and gallery to suit every taste (and budget).
#5 Montmartre is home to all of the history!
Over two millennia worth of history is condensed into one small area in the 18e arrondissement of Paris. From the pagan origins of the Sacré-Coeur to history unfolding in front of your very eyes at Place du Tertre (which is full of contemporary artists selling their works and painting ‘en plein air’), there’s no shortage of history to be found in the area.
Not only was Montmartre a major melting pot for artistic ideas and writing inspiration during the 19th and 20th-centuries, but the arrondissement has also been called “home” by many famous residents over the years, including the singer Dalida and the artist Vincent Van Gogh. In a somewhat surprising story, it’s also along rue Lepic, in the very heart of the 18th arrondissement where Renault cars were born!
#6 The abandoned windmills of Paris
Once upon a time, the outskirts of Paris were home to many a thriving farming community. Filled with fields, pastures, and windmills, today few of these features remain. Montmartre is home to the last few surviving windmills and they’re definitely a quirky sight to see.
While one can be found close to l’Hotel Particulier Montmartre, which also happens to be one of the best places to stay in Montmartre, and is largely obscured by trees, the other Montmartre windmill can still be seen from Rue Lepic above the restaurant of Le Moulin de la Galette.
#7 The vineyard of Montmartre
One of the few remaining vineyards in Paris is located in Montmartre. Known locally as the ‘Clos Montmartre’ the inside of the vineyard is sadly closed to the public. Luckily, you can still get a good peek from the outside (and particularly from the Gardens of Musée de Montmartre). This secret little space is akin to stepping out of Paris and straight into Provence.
Each year, a festival is held during the harvest time, which typically takes place between the middle and end of September. During this time, Le Clos Montmartre is actually open to the public and the wine produced in the vineyard is auctioned off, with the proceeds going to local community projects.
#8 The views over Paris
Montmartre provides some of the most iconic and panoramic views that the city has to offer. If you’re looking for somewhere to head for the best sunset view of Paris (or even sunrise), then Montmartre has some of the best views on offer in the entire city.
In order to enjoy views of the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, Notre Dame, and many other Parisian attractions, head to the Parvis du Sacré-Coeur, i.e. the pretty piazza in front of the Basilica. However, be sure to arrive well before sunset so as to secure the best viewing spot. This is especially true of the summer months when the best spots from which to enjoy Paris at sunset fill up fast!
#9 Montmartre has plenty of quirky eateries and restaurants
From the cute cafés to the unassuming family-run businesses, Montmartre is teeming with great places to eat. Some of my favourite include Le Refuge des Fondus (17 Rue des Trois Frères, 75018 Paris, France. Yes, they serve their wine in baby bottles!) and Le Consulat (18 Rue Norvins, 75018 Paris, France. This cute little café is located just behind the Sacré-Coeur and makes for the perfect spot to pick up a coffee).
#10 Montmartre is home to cherry blossom in the spring, wisteria in early summer, and autumn leaves in the fall
There is perhaps no better time to visit Paris than in one of the European shoulder seasons (i.e. late spring or early fall, just before or after peak season- summer). While spring welcomes the start of the warmer months and all of the cherry blossoms in Paris, the early summer offers the chance to spy the best of wisteria in the French capital.
Meanwhile, as Autumn signals the beginning of the Holiday season, this is always a great excuse to snap photos of all of the golden leaves. And with fewer tourists around than in the hotter months of the year, there’s perhaps no better time to visit one of the leafier arrondissements of the city, Montmartre…
Things to know before planning a visit to Montmartre
If I could just give you one Paris travel tip, it would be that, just like when exploring any other major European city, comfortable walking shoes are an absolute must! The district of Montmartre is filled with ups and downs, steps, and many cobbled lanes. As such, this is not the place to bring your high heels or those chic shoes you still need to break in!
For those looking to explore the 18th area of Paris in further depth, you might consider actually staying there. After all, the way to beat the crowds of Montmartre is to explore during the morning, and the easiest way to do this is by staying in the area. Luxurious hotel options include Maison Souquet and Hotel Particulier Montmartre, while more affordable places to stay can be found in the form of Timhotel Montmartre and Hotel Mercure Paris Montmartre Sacré Coeur.
Finally, Paris, like much of mainland Europe, uses type C and E. This means that if you’re travelling from the US, Canada, the UK, and many other countries, then you’ll need to purchase a travel adaptor. This all in one adaptor contains USB ports and works with several different plugs.