Best Things to Do in Montmartre – Paris’ Bohemian Quarter

Montmartre is a very famous district in Paris’s 18th arrondissement that is known for its bohemian charm, picturesque cobbled streets, and breathtaking view from the hill with the same name. If you explore this area, you will discover the artistic spirit and charm that make Montmartre unique in Paris. Enjoy strolling through the alleys, getting lost in small shops, and savouring a delicious crepe or coffee in one of the neighbourhood’s typical cafes. In this guide, we’ll unveil the things to do in Montmartre, ensuring you make the most of your visit to this captivating quarter.

Things to Do in Montmartre - Discovering Paris' Bohemian Quarter

Why visit Montmartre?

Montmartre’s bohemian past has left an enduring charm on the Butte Montmartre. The district is popular with tourists, but its real local life offers a village-like atmosphere. Strolling through its picturesque streets, climbing its stairs (yes, it can be a bit of a workout!), admiring the view from the Sacré Coeur, and discovering the many good addresses are all pleasures for visitors. The area offers a break from the Parisian hustle and bustle and immerses you in a charming Paris that is sometimes depicted in films. For an in-depth tour of Montmartre, consider booking a guided tour.

Things to do in Montmartre, Paris - Square Louise Michel

Things to Do in Montmartre – Around the Sacre Coeur

If you’re visiting Montmartre, exploring the Sacré-Cœur Basilica is an absolute must. The white, majestic basilica is the heart and soul of Montmartre and can be seen from anywhere in Paris. It’s located at the top of Montmartre and offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the French capital. No matter which route you take to get to the top, you will be rewarded with a stunning view of Paris, and you can even spot some famous monuments in the distance.

I have two favourite viewpoints of the Sacré-Coeur. The first is at the bottom of Square Louise Michel, where you can enjoy a magnificent view of the basilica. The second is at the foot of the basilica, where you can take in a stunning view of Paris’s rooftops.

Construction of the basilica began in 1871 to honour the victims of the Franco-Prussian war, and it was finally consecrated in 1919. The Roman-Byzantine style basilica was built with travertine limestone, which was designed to get whiter as it ages. This means that the monument’s whiteness has remained constant since its construction.

Sacré Coeur Basilica - what to do in Montmartre, Paris

Visit the Sacré Coeur Basilica

If you are planning to visit the Sacré Coeur Basilica, it’s good to know that access is free. However there might be a small queue, but it’s worth waiting for, especially if you want to admire the vast mosaic-decorated ceiling. If you want to learn more about the basilica and its history, you can book a guided tour of the Sacré Coeur or even a tour of Montmartre, which includes a visit to the Sacré-Coeur.

Things to do in Montmartre, Paris - Climb to the Dome of the Sacré Coeur

Climb to the Dome of the Sacré Coeur

If you wish to climb to the dome or the crypt, where Christ’s heart is allegedly kept, you will need to pay around 7 euros. However, if you are up for a challenge and not afraid of climbing up 300 steps, I strongly recommend climbing the Sacré Coeur Dôme for a breathtaking panoramic view of Paris.

Admire the Sinking House of Montmartre

Things to do in Montmartre - Sinking House of Montmartre

The Sinking House of Montmartre is an unusual attraction that has recently gained popularity. It is an optical illusion of a building that appears to be tilted and sinking into the grass. This leaning house is located next to the Sacre Coeur Basilica, but it can be easily missed. To view the Sinking House, you need to walk up the final flight of stairs towards the basilica and stand on the last steps near the green grass. Tilt your camera to get the desired view. It is important to note that the Sinking House of Montmartre is just an optical illusion, but there are actual sinking houses, such as the tilted sinking house townhouses in Quai Turenne, Nantes.

Things to Do in Montmartre – Montmartre Hidden Gems

Stroll along the streets of Montmartre

Things to do in Montmartre, Paris - Stroll along the streets of Montmartre

If you venture away from the crowded Sacre Coeur and Place du Tertre, you will discover that Montmartre has much more to offer. Wandering around is one of the top things to do in this neighbourhood, as it has plenty of pretty streets located at the top of the hill, such as rue des Saules, rue de l’Abreuvoir, rue Lepic, rue du Mont-Cenis, and rue des Abbesses. Each time you stroll around, you will discover little gems that make this place unique and worth exploring.

If you’re interested in visiting Renoir’s house, you can find it at 6 Rue de l’Abreuvoir. You can stroll down the hill to a lovely little park where you can see men playing boules on Sundays or children having fun.

Le Moulin de la Galette

Le Moulin de la Galette, Montmartre, Paris

Le Moulin de la Galette is located on the same street as the Café des Deux Moulins. You will find the Moulin de la Galette. This windmill initially ground grains to make a brown bread called “galette”, which gave it the name Moulin de la Galette. The owners transformed the windmill into a “guinguette” (tavern) and dance hall where locals and artists gathered to socialise with a glass of wine from the local area while eating the bread from the mill. The Moulin de la Galette became very popular in the 19th century. You can even see one of the famous scenes from the tavern, “Le Bal du Moulin de la Galette”, painted by Auguste Renoir at the Musée d’Orsay

A little history of Montmartre windmills:

Montmartre used to have several windmills, but now only two remain: the Blute-Fin and the Radet. The owner of the Radet mill moved it near the Blute-Fin and opened a tavern at the foot of the mills. This tavern is now known as the Moulin de la Galette. The Blute-Fin is no longer open to the public, but the Radet can still be seen on the roof of the Moulin de la Galette restaurant, located at the corner of Girardon and Lepic streets.

Take a look at the Clos Montmartre Vineyard

Clos Montmartre Vineyard - Montmartre, Paris

Did you know that there are vineyards in the heart of Paris? It may be hard to imagine, but the Clos Montmartre Vineyard still produces a few hundred bottles of wine every year. Unfortunately, the vineyard is not open to the public except for guided tours called “Vignes et Musée de Montmartre”, which includes wine tasting and takes place every Saturday. Another option is to attend the wine festival (Grape Harvest Festival) held on the first Saturday in October when the produced wines are auctioned off! If your visit doesn’t coincide with either of those events, you can still admire the vineyard from Rue des Salues or Rue Saint-Vincent.

Au Lapin Agile

Au Lapin Agile - Montmartre, Paris

Cabaret Au Lapin Agile is a cabaret known for its artistic performances that have been in operation since 1860. It is situated at 22 rue des Saules and is a popular gathering place for renowned artists. The name of the cabaret comes from a rabbit illustration on its facade, which was created by the caricaturist André Gill. The Lapin Agile was later referred to as “Lapin à Gill” and eventually became known as the Lapin Agile (agile rabbit).

Le Passe-Muraille

Passe-Muraille - things to do in Montmartre, Paris

The Passe-Muraille is a unique sculpture located on Rue Norvins. It was created as a to tribute Marcel Aymé’s short story “The Man Who Could Walk Through Walls“. The story follows the adventures of Mr Dutilleul, who uses his superpower to take revenge on his boss and later to commit burglaries. Despite being arrested, he manages to escape his prison cell using his power. 

The Passe-muraille is a remarkable statue and is one of the most unusual ones in Paris. As you stroll along the charming cobbled streets of Montmartre, take a moment to admire this sculpture. It was inaugurated in 1989 and is located in Place Marcel Aymé, just a stone’s throw away from Rue Norvins, where the author lived for many years. The sculpture, which portrays Monsieur Dutilleul, was created by Jean Marais, who was not only a great actor but also an accomplished sculptor.

Montmartre offers a guided tour of street art with an artist.

Place Dalida:  House, bust and tomb of Dalida

Sculpture of singer  Dalida - Things to do in Montmartre

Place Dalida is where you will find the bust of Egyptian-born French singer Dalida. A massive star in the ’60s and ’70s, Dalida lived in Montmartre; hence, the commemorative bronze statue is located at the end of the charming street. Fans of the singer or those simply curious can follow in her footsteps by visiting three places dedicated to her. First of all, her statue can be found at the intersection of Rue de l’ Abreuvoir and Rue Girardon. Apparently, touching her bust brings luck, I am not sure if that’s true, but by seeing how the bronze statue is polished in that region, many people tried their luck! Secondly, you can see the house she once lived in (11B rue d’Orchampt – private residence). Lastly, her grave is located in the Montmartre cemetery. 

Following in the footsteps of Amélie Poulain

Pay Homage to Artistic Legends at Montmartre Cemetery 

Montmartre Cemetery, located in Montmartre, is a revered place that holds a significant artistic history. It is the final resting place of famous artists like Edgar Degas, Émile Zola, and Stendhal. A visit to Montmartre Cemetery offers a unique experience away from the crowds. It’s perfect for a peaceful stroll.

Café des Deux Moulins

If you’re looking for the perfect place to experience the atmosphere of the iconic movie Amélie, look no further than Café des Deux Moulins, located at 15 rue Lepic. The café is named after the two famous windmills located nearby: Moulin Rouge and Moulin de la Galette. In the movie, the main character, Amélie, works as a waitress there. You’ll notice several nods to the film scattered throughout the cafe. Whether or not you’re a fan of the movie, you’ll appreciate the charming Parisian ambience of this typical brasserie, complete with bistro tables and chairs.

Montmartre holds great significance in the movie “Amélie”, also known as “The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain”. The film, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, is set in Montmartre and features many iconic locations. Therefore, if you wish to retrace Amélie’s footsteps, there are numerous places to visit in Montmartre. 

Things to do in Montmartre – Stroll through Place du Tertre

Visit Place du Tertre

Visit Place du Tertre - Things to do in Montmartre

A few blocks from Sacré-Cœur, you will find the picturesque and vibrant Place du Tertre. The square, one of the most visited in Paris, is always busy. Strolling through Place du Tertre is one of the top things to do in Montmartre. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, wander around or sit down on the terrace of a cafe and watch the artists at work. You can also visit some of the art galleries located there.  

The relationship between Montmartre and artists started in the 19th century as the neighbourhood had some of the most stunning settings with breathtaking views of the city as well as cheap rents. Many renowned artists such as Renoir, Van Gogh, and Picasso lived there. 

Montmartre has changed a lot since then. The working-class neighbourhood is now a very touristy area. However, one thing has remained: the artistic vibe. You will still see painters, portraitists and caricaturists in front of their easels, presenting paintings or offering to paint your portrait or caricature. Although this is a very touristy activity, it is a great way to ensure that artists can strive. Plus, you will return home with a lovely and funny drawing to remember your trip to Paris.

Have a Drink at Maison Rose

La Maison Rose on rue de l’Abreuvoir - What to do in Montmartre

La Maison Rose is, without a doubt, one of the most photographed spots in Montmartre. The place, which was once the home of Catalan painter Ramon Pichot, was made famous thanks to a painting by Maurice Utrillo entitled “The Little Pink House ”. Located at 2 rue de l’Abreuvoir, this house, which was once a meeting place for artists in the 19th century, is now a restaurant and a favourite for Instagrammers.

La Maison Rose is a charming pink house that has maintained its traditional French look for over a century. It serves delicious French cuisine, making it one of the prettiest places to dine. During the summer, you can enjoy the pleasant atmosphere while dining outside.

Cafe Le Consulat

Café Le Consulat - what to do in Montmartre, Paris

The Café Le Consulat is a well-known café in Montmartre that is also steeped in history, therefore, it’s a popular place for lunch. This bar-restaurant was made famous by artists such as Van Goth, Picasso and Monet, who loved to come and enjoy a meal during the 19th century. The restaurant is within walking distance from the Sacré-Coeur Basilica. 

Despite the changes occurring during the centuries, the cafe has remained the same, keeping its original charm. Step inside to try out a delicious French dish or simply a coffee by the terrace if you are lucky enough to find a space. 

Things to Do in Montmartre – Around Abbesses

Places des Abbesses

Place des Abbesses is home to the Abbesses metro station, which is the deepest station in Paris. Although you can access the platforms by descending the decorated stairs, there are also elevators available. The station entrance is an iconic Art Nouveau style that is often featured in postcards. 

Visiting Place des Abbesses is a must-do in Montmartre, not only to admire the station entrance but also to visit top attractions such as the Wall of Je t’Aime and the Church of Saint-Jean de Montmartre. The square offers many places to sit and relax.

Mur des Je t’Aime

Finish your self-guided tour of Montmartre at the famous Mur des Je t’aime (Wall of Love). This is not a historic place in Montmartre but is well known to visitors to Paris! It’s a favourite selfie spot for couples and wedding photoshoots. Dating from 2000, the 40 m2 mural is the work of artists Frédéric Baron and Claire Kito and is made up of 612 tiles with the word “I love you” written 311 times in 250 different languages. It is located in Square Jehan Rictus, right by the entrance to Abbesses Metro Station and next to Place des Abbesses. The garden is small, but you can nonetheless take a small stroll or simply take a seat on one of the benches and admire the mural.

Delve into Montmartre’s History

Musée de Montmartre - Things to do in Montmartre, Paris

Looking at the majestic white basilica sitting atop Montmartre, one can imagine that the basilica has been there for centuries. In fact, it is much younger than many churches and chapels in Paris. Construction on the basilica started in 1875, but it was not until 1919 that it was inaugurated. 

Did you know? The Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur, for a long time, depended solely on donations from wealthy individuals and businesses. The names of these individuals are engraved in stone there.

You can delve into the history of Montmartre by visiting the Musée de Montmartre, a hidden gem in the charming neighbourhood. Learn all about Montmartre’s past, from being a workers’ neighbourhood to one that inspired many artists. While there, be sure to explore the Renoir Gardens, which was inspired by Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s masterpieces. 

Another essential attraction in Montmartre is the Dalí Paris Museum, which showcases Salvador Dalí’s imaginative and eccentric works.

Artist playing accordion in Montmartre, Paris

So this is it for our guide to the things to do in Montmartre. Although it may seem like a lot, you can easily spend an afternoon or the whole day exploring. If you’re interested in learning about the history and details of each place, we recommend booking a guided tour, otherwise, the guide will help you explore the area at your own pace.

We hope you enjoyed reading this guide and that it helps you plan your visit to Montmartre.


Things to Do in Montmartre – Practical Information

Where is Montmartre

Montmartre is located in the 18th arrondissement, the northeast and highest part of Paris. Known for the presence of many artists and breathtaking views, Montmartre is also a historic place full of things to do and see.

How to Get to Montmartre

If you are not staying near Montmartre, the best way to get there would be by public transport. The RATP transport networks are incredibly efficient and reliable. The Métro and RER take you everywhere in no time. 

Which station is closer to Montmartre

Montmartre is well deserved, thanks to its excellent location. I suggest you take either line 2 or 12, and you can stop at any of these stations: 

  • Line 2: Anvers, Blanche or Pigalle 
  • Line 12:  Abbesses,  Lamarck-Caulaincourt or Pigalle 

Choosing the station will depend on the activities you wish to do first. Anvers is the station closest to the Basilica, while Pigalle is the best station for the Moulin Rouge, and Abbesses is best for those who want to follow in the footsteps of Amélie Poulain.

Little Train of Montmartre - things to do in Montmartre, Paris

Getting around Montmartre

Getting around Montmartre is mainly done on foot. If walking is not an option for you, or if you have limited mobility, the number 40 RATP bus (formerly Montmartrobus) runs through most of the streets of Montmartre. By taking the bus, you can complete part of the route to discover the things to see in Montmartre on foot. 

Additionally, the Little Train of Montmartre runs through the streets of the Butte Montmartre. It will help you discover the attractions of the Montmartre district without exhausting yourself. The little Montmartre train operates from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the season (until 5 p.m. in winter) and departs from Place Blanche, near the Moulin Rouge. In 2023, the cost of a ticket is €10.

Should you get the Montmartre funicular?

The Montmartre Funicular is a popular choice among tourists who visit Montmartre. It travels up the steep slope of Square Louise-Michel, saving you from climbing the well-known stairs located at the foot of the Sacré-Cœur. The nearest Metro station to the Montmartre Funicular is Anvers. The RATP is responsible for managing the funicular, and you can use a standard metro ticket to ride it. However, be prepared for long waiting times during peak season.

Montmartre, Paris - A hilly neighbourhood with lots of stairs

Or the stairs?

On the other hand, if you prefer a more traditional approach, you can climb the Montmartre Stairs. Compared to the funicular, the stairs offer a more scenic route, and you can take your time to appreciate the beautiful views of Paris. However, remember that climbing the stairs can be tiring, especially for those not used to physical exertion.

In either case, be aware of the insistent and annoying sellers of African bracelets at the lower station of the funicular.

Where to eat in Montmartre?

There are numerous bistros and restaurants to explore in Montmartre. Here are some top recommendations for foodies visiting Montmartre:

  • Bouillon Pigalle: Unlike bistros and brasseries, bouillons serve cheap, traditional French food that’s worth the wait. Therefore, you will usually find a queue forming. Expect onion soups and steak frites (with limited vegan and vegetarian choices).
  • Coq Rico: This traditional rotisserie is on the pricey side but offers delicious and generous portions.
  • Abattoir végétal: For vegan and vegetarian dishes, this cute coffee shop offers veggie meals as well as gluten-free options.
  • Hardware Société: This nice restaurant serves hearty brunch and lunch options with vegan and vegetarian-friendly dishes, as well as gluten-free alternatives.

Where to stay in Montmartre

For those who wish to delve deeper into the 18th arrondissement of Paris, it might be worth considering staying there. There are luxury options such as Hotel Particulier Montmartre, Le Relais Montmartre, and Mom’Art Hotel & Spa. For more affordable accommodations, consider Timhotel Montmartre, Hotel Mercure Paris Montmartre Sacré Coeur, Hotel 29 Lepic or Hôtel Littéraire Marcel Aymé, BW Premier Collection.

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Hi there! I'm Mayi. Welcome to my blog SecretMoona! I hope to share with you the hidden secret of places I visit.

14 thoughts on “Best Things to Do in Montmartre – Paris’ Bohemian Quarter

  1. I will always remember taking my two young children to visit this neighborhood and seeing the murals in the metro station. We were all in awe.

    1. It’s lovely, isn’t it? There are lots of metro stations with amazing art (murals and grafitti)s. In the case of Abbesses station, it’s so nice to look at the art as you go up or down the stairs to the station.

  2. Wonderful post with great photos! I am hoping to return to Paris in ‘24 specifically to go to Montmartre so this is well appreciated.

  3. Fantastic guide to Montmartre, Mayi! Your article wonderfully showcases Montmartre’s charm. I loved your beautiful pictures capturing the essence of my favourite Parisian neighbourhood.

  4. We did not spend enough time in Montmarte last time we were in Paris. This post makes me want to plan my next trip! Great places on this list! Lots of gems. I would love to visit the Cabaret Au Lapin Agile.

  5. I can’t believe I studied abroad in France (and spent more than a few weekends in Paris), and I never got around to Montmartre! Now I can’t wait to change that!

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