Wander around the 18e arrondissement for long enough, and you’ll start to notice that there are plenty of little spaces and secret parks just waiting to be explored. Tucked away, behind the Parvis de Sacré Coeur and away from all the tourists, you’ll find the very best public green space in Montmartre: Square Marcel-Bleustein-Blanchet.
Square Marcel-Bleustein-Blanchet: A green oasis in the heart of the 18e
Once called Park Turlure after a former windmill on site, the square is terraced and provides some of the best (and perhaps most unique) views of the Sacré-Coeur. After all, fewer people wander around the back of the basilica, preferring to stop and photograph the ecclesiastical building face on. But if you were to visit Montmartre, then remaining in the touristic spots would be your first mistake! The area has plenty of hidden gems to explore (not just the Sacré-Coeur and Place du Tertre) and its cobbled lanes are best explored on foot.
In the spring, Square Marcel-Bleustein-Blanchet is filled with blossoming wisteria, while in the summer months, the little park is the perfect place to enjoy a Parisian picnic, as well as a great place to stop and rest in the middle of a Montmartre walking tour. Come the Autumnal season, the leaves turn golden hues and look magical against the backdrop of a sparkling Sacré-Coeur. So I guess, what I’m trying to say is that the Square is pretty photogenic all year ’round!
Moulin de Turlure: A ‘lost’ windmill of Paris
Once upon a time, up to thirty windmills graced the hillside of Butte Montmartre. Back then the area was a little village away from the bright lights of Paris and the hills were filled with rolling greenery and farmland. Looking at the Montmartre landscape today, however, it’s obvious that much has changed in the past few centuries.
Over the years, the city of Paris expanded and the windmills were knocked down to create extra housing space. The creation of nearby ‘Clos Montmartre‘- the arrondissement’s hidden vineyard was formed in a bid to keep some of the ambience of Montmartre of old…
Today, just a couple of windmills survive and these lone ghosts all that remain of the lost windmills of Paris. The mills were not only used to grind and mill wheat but other materials as well. The windmills were used to crush grape harvests or to create building materials for local factories.
One of those lost is that of ‘Moulin de Turlure’ which existed only for the briefest of moments during the end of the 18th-Century to the beginning of the 19th-Century. The windmill of Turlure was created in 1769 by Pierre Debray (whose family owned the still-existing Moulin de la Galette) and destroyed in 1827 to make way for new business ventures. From 1853 and 1860 a pub was built on the site and named the Tower of Solferino. Today, the park occupies a terraced space of 4700 m² and plenty of history hides behind its leafy façade…
Le Moulin de la Galette next to one of the lost Windmills of Paris, Montmartre, 1885