Welcome to a different side of Paris – a village nestled in a hill.
The Montmartre district is distinctly identified with the Sacré Coeur church at its summit and the Moulin Rouge and its likes lining the foot of the hill. In between these, you could find a quiet cobblestone street to stroll, peek inside a typical courtyard under the shade of green trees, walk past a café wall with funky art on it, check out a boulangerie for typical french delights and take snaps of a few sketch artists seated in a row.
Getting Up there…
Once you’re at the foot of Montmartre, you can choose to walk your way uphill to take in all the sights or get down at metro station Anvers and walk less than 5 minutes to Rue Tardieu to take the funiculaire / funicular that will take you less than 2 minutes to reach up to the Sacré Coeur basilica. You could also take the ‘Montmartrobus’ from Place Pigalle and get down a few steps away from the famous La Maison Rose restaurant and continue to walk your way up to the basilica, just a few minutes away.
No matter how you reach the top of the hill, you will be left breathless for a moment in admiration of the beautiful architecture of Sacré Coeur on one side and the view of Paris city on the other.
The domes of the basilica stand out spectacularly against the backdrop of the sky. Once you step inside, don’t forget to continue to look up. The ceiling is painted beautifully and shines through. To get a view of Paris city from the highest point, you can climb the stairs on the outside to reach one of the domes and take in the fabulous sights. If you’re not up to climbing steps, stand right in front of the church or take a walk a bit further from it and you can still spot the Eiffel.
The steps leading to the church are a favourite spot to sit on and enjoy the panoramic view of the city below as well as get a memorable snapshot. I preferred walking down a few more stairs to get to the sidewalk below and added in the beauty of pink roses in the summer, getting in the whole landscape, in my snapshot below.
Take your time to wander the cobblestone streets of Montmartre, shop like a tourist if you please, grab your grub at any of the cool restaurants while enjoying the summer breeze sitting on a patio, listen to live music, look at the ‘le mur des je t’aime’ or the ‘I love you wall’, enjoy a merry go round ride with kids.
Strolling through these streets you’ll notice how Montmartre has an artistic aura to it. I certainly imagine the times when famous artists lived here. A typical Montmartre setting today would be artists selling their paintings and offering to make you a portrait , a musician playing down the same street and a man walking a tightrope along with performing the juggling act in the vicinity . It is scenes like these that bring a smile to my face. Music and art always does.
I’d like to conclude however with a cautionary note to beware of tricksters and pick pockets while in this region, as the case is in any famous touristic spot in any city on this globe.