Are you planning a trip to Paris? Make a point of stopping off to visit Montmartre, the capital’s not-to-be-missed district!
What better place to discover Paris from its sacred heart than the Montmartre district? Montmartre is one of the many districts of Paris that now make up a large part of the capital’s 18th arrondissement. Known for its basilica and views over the city, a visit to Montmartre is a must. Life here is more flowery and joyful, with its steep streets, famous staircases and numerous theatres.
A visit to Montmartre also means immersing yourself in a bohemian atmosphere and way of life that you won’t find anywhere else… Are we there yet?
The Montmartre district in a nutshell
The hill has always been the main feature of the Montmartre district, whose history goes back a very long way. First of all, the name Montmartre comes from Gallo-Roman times, when a temple dedicated to the god of war, Mars, stood on the site of what is now Saint-Pierre church. Over the centuries, the “Mont de Mars” became the “Mont des Martyrs” and then the “Mont Martres”. The word martre being the translation of the word martyr in Old French.
Formerly an independent commune, Montmartre became part of the capital in the mid-19th century when Paris was extended. This integration was synonymous with renewal for the “Butte-Montmartre”, which became a popular spot for many artists of the time. Unfortunately, however, it was gradually abandoned in favour of the rest of the city. Nevertheless, the Montmartre district never became empty. It remains a source of inspiration for many people, who enjoy discovering it a little more every day.
What to see and do in the Montmartre district of Paris?
The Sacré-Coeur Basilica and Square Louise Michel
The Basilique du Sacré-Cœur is Montmartre’s main attraction. Firstly, because of its height (130 metres), it is easy to spot, and secondly, because it represents the district in its own right. Like the Eiffel Tower, it is a symbol of Paris, and it would be a mistake to visit Montmartre without stopping here. Built in 1874, it overlooks the whole of Paris and is linked to Square Louise Michel, a large green space, by huge staircases.
Book your tour in advance : Paris: Sacré-Coeur and Montmartre with an experienced guide
The Montmartre Funicular
The Funicular will take you to the top of the Butte-Montmartre, including the Sacré-Coeur Basilica. Directly accessible on metro lines 2 (Anvers stop) and 12 (Abbesses stop), it is an original way to climb the Butte. In less than two minutes, and for the price of a metro ticket, you can reach the top and have easy access to the basilica.
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Pigalle, seductive and sensual
Just a stone’s throw from the Sacré Coeur Basilica is Pigalle. Below the Montmartre hill, Pigalle is a popular area for tourists. Its reputation is well established, and you can see for yourself.
There are still a few sex shops and specialist bars lining the streets, but people’s idea of an uninhibited Pigalle is wrong. In summer, it’s a verdant area, with many trees planted along the grand Boulevard de Clichy.
The parish and the church
There’s more to Montmartre than the Sacré-Coeur Basilica. In fact, there are other monuments such as the parish church of Saint-Pierre de Montmartre, next to the basilica. Built in 1134, it is the second oldest parish still standing in the whole of Paris and therefore has a captivating history.
You can also visit the Saint-Jean de Montmartre church, built in 1894, with its distinctive red brick façade.
The Cimetière de Montmartre, a haven of peace for walkers, is a popular spot for the burial of many famous figures.
Dalida, Michel Galabru, Michel Berger and France Gall, Stendhal and Émile Zola are all buried here. Many artists are buried here, adding another dimension to the visit.
The Je t’aime Wall
If you want your trip to take a romantic turn, head for the Mur des Je t’aime, in Square Jehan-Rictus. Love is translated into nearly 300 languages, and all written on a 40 m² wall of black tiles.
The work, designed by Frédéric Baron and Claire Kito, symbolises unity and humanity. Above all, it embodies the love it should show.
Guided tours of Montmartre
The Little Train
Even in Montmartre, the classic and eternal Petit Train makes its rounds, to the delight of its passengers. The district can be a little tricky to get round because of its many staircases, but the Petit Train allows you to discover it effortlessly.
Designed to give you a complete overview of the Montmartre district, this guided tour is sure to delight young and old alike.
Book your tickets in advance : Visit Montmartre and back on the Little Train
Walking tour of the Montmartre district
We only know a district once we’ve seen it from top to bottom. That’s why we’re offering you a walking tour, ideal for soaking up the bohemian and artistic atmosphere of Montmartre. Accompanied by a guide, learn all there is to know about the district, its history, its artists and its everyday life.
Explore Montmartre by investigating
Get to know Montmartre at your own pace on this interactive scavenger hunt walking tour played on your phone. Decipher riddles, interact with the most important attractions of the city, and unlock interesting facts and legends. An ideal outdoor activity for first time visitors, couples, groups, families, and children. Can be used as a great team-building activity.
After downloading the scavenger hunt tour on your mobile device (via a link and login credentials received upon booking), use the mobile app and integrated maps to reach 10 of Montmartre’s most important attractions on foot.
At each stop, learn about the attraction and solve a location-based riddle that can only be solved if you reach the specific location. Use logic, imagination, observation, and team spirit to unlock the correct code and reveal the next destination of the city sightseeing game.
At each stop, learn about the attraction and solve a location-based riddle that can only be solved if you reach the specific location. Use logic, imagination, observation, and team spirit to unlock the correct code and reveal the next destination of the tour. Start the activity whenever you like and enjoy the flexibility to pause your game at any time to take a break, snap the perfect photos, stop for lunch, or visit a museum. Choose to continue the tour later or save the rest for another day.
Book your activity in advance : Paris: Montmartre Self-Guided Highlights Scavenger Hunt Tour
Dinner and show at the Moulin Rouge
It’s a shame to visit Montmartre without taking the time to linger in one of the most famous cabarets in Paris (and the world).
So treat yourself to a dinner and show at the Moulin Rouge and enjoy your evening in a unique, festive and gastronomic atmosphere! Having said that, tickets are often victims of their own success, so book as early as possible.
Book your tickets in advance : Paris: cabaret at the Moulin Rouge with champagne
Discovering secret corners
Get off the beaten track and discover Montmartre in a different way.
With a local guide, explore the district’s secret spots and discover some of the less-frequented but very charming corners. Then round off your visit with a visit to the Lapin Agile, another of Paris’s iconic cabarets.
Book your tour in advance : Paris: Hidden Gems of Montmartre with Local Guide
Gastronomic tour of Montmartre
This guided tour of Montmartre is perfect for those with a love of food and heritage. For three hours, sample the district’s typical delicacies: pastries, cheeses, chocolates, wine…
While you’re there, take a look at the symbolic buildings of Montmartre, such as the Sacré-Coeur. Not only will the gastronomic guide take you to the most delicious spots, but he’ll also show you some spectacular locations. So don’t wait any longer, combine business with pleasure.
Book your activity in advance : Montmartre 3-Hour Local Gastronomy Tour with Tastings
The best hotels to stay in the Montmartre district of Paris
Against all expectations, not all hotels in Paris are overpriced.
For example, from €90 per night, stay at the Luxelthe Hotel, located ten minutes from the Sacré-Coeur Basilica. The decor is modern and charming, with enough purity to give the rooms a sober atmosphere. For the same price, you can also opt for the Hôtel Juliette, at the foot of the hill. The rooms are warm and comfortable. Perfect for a stay for two.
Finally, for those on a budget, we recommend the four-star Terrass Hotel. Its panoramic terrace will give you a second chance to see the whole of Paris. The decor is tastefully done in the spirit of “artist chic”.
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Where to eat in Montmartre?
Visiting Montmartre will make you hungry. But don’t worry, there are plenty of restaurants in the district that are well worth a visit.
First of all, we recommend the Mom’Art by Gregory Cohen, a gem nestled in the heart of Montmartre. This bistronomic restaurant, led by the renowned Gregory Cohen, offers a unique culinary experience blending traditional flavors with a modern twist. Known for its creative and refined dishes, Mom’Art is a must-visit for those seeking an exceptional dining experience in a charming and artistic setting. Don’t forget to reserve your table to immerse yourself in this delightful fusion of art and gastronomy.
Alternatively, a bit further, opt for the traditional cuisine restaurant La Vache et le Cuisinier, renowned for its authenticity. Last but not least, for the slightly more timid, go to La Bonne Franquette. A family-run business for over 45 years, this establishment is very welcoming and pays tribute to French cuisine in a bucolic atmosphere.
Finally, for those who want to soak up the bicentenary Parisian atmosphere, head for Le Bon Bock, the oldest restaurant in the district, built in 1879 and a firm favourite with artists ever since.
How do I get to Montmartre in Paris?
If you want to visit the Montmartre district in Paris, you’re spoilt for choice. The city of Paris is extremely well served by public transport, so it’s very easy to get around.
Montmartre by Metro
You can reach Montmartre by metro on four lines:
- 2 (7 stops: Place de Clichy, Blanche, Pigalle, Anvers, Barbès-Rochechouart, Stalingrad, La Chapelle),
- 4 (5 stops: Barbès-Rochechouart, Château Rouge, Marcadet-Poissonniers, Simplon, Porte de Clignancourt),
- 12 (7 stops: (Pigalle, Abbesses, Lamarck-Caulaincourt, Jules Joffrin, Marcadet – Poissonniers, Marx Dormoy, Porte de la Chapelle),
- 13 (4 stops: Place de Clichy, La Fourche, Guy Môquet, Porte de Saint-Ouen).
🔗 Read Also: Paris transport: how to get around Paris?
Montmartre by Bus
- Lines 30, 31, 54, 67, 74, 80, 85 and 95.
- Special bus: line 40
Now you know how to visit Montmartre, all you have to do is enjoy the ride!