best things to do in montmartre

10 Best Things to Do in Montmartre, Paris

Montmartre otherwise known as The Mountain Of Martyrs should be one of the places in your Itinerary to go to in France. Why? Because top things to do or must-see places to visit in this popular district of Paris are endless.

From dining in the best places to eat in Montmartre, to walking in the footsteps of famous celebrities such as Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso, breathing the same air and inspiration, to being surrounded by beautiful, picturesque bohemian architecture.

Each brick that paves the way in this charming quarter is bound to carry a story! Just ask any of the locals living in Montmartre when you sit down for a cup of coffee or whilst roaming the streets.

Being an area filled with endless amounts of opportunities for adventure, our guide will set you in the right direction to ensure that you cover all the MUST SEE and MUST GO places.

1. Abbesses

First up- getting to Montmartre! Take this opportunity to travel to Montmartre by The Metropolitan (known affectionately to locals as the Metro), it is both cheap and fast!

The nearest stop is Abbesses, which is the deepest train station in Paris because Montmartre is known to be a huge hill in itself. Exploring the neighbourhood of Montmarte alone can be quite a daunting feat.

Not-to-miss: Located only a few minutes from Abbesses, home-chef Mesny’s widely popular Macaron Making Class offers an opportunity to learn to make the most Famous French dessert.

macaron making class

2. The Basilica of Sacre-Coeur

The Basilica of Sacre-Coeur is the white-domed church, located near the Abbesses metro station, which cannot be missed because it is the most iconic attraction when reaching Montmartre as it towers over the city. Even just googling about Montmartre itself will unearth hundreds of tourist photos of the monument.

Being steeped in important French history, this first location will be able to satisfy all art and history fans out there. For the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur signified the defeat of France in the 1871 and acts as a tribute to the 58,000 lives lost.

(note: if you’re into dining in history, feel free to check out Typical Parisian dinner in classic 19th century setting.)

To find out more, there are audio tours readily available for you in different languages that are FREE OF CHARGE. The Sacre-Coeur is not just a tourist attraction, it is also still a church and for those of you interested, the mass timings are from Monday to friday, 7am, 11.15am, 3pm (friday only), 6.30pm and 10pm.


3. The Moulin Rouge

The Moulin Rouge is known as a cabaret that was founded and built in 1889 and ever since then it has been coined the modern birthplace of can-can, which is a seductive dance that later turned into a form of entertainment.

Today, it still retains its antiquity and atmosphere as a place of entertainment for guest all over the world. This is an absolute must-see and must-go…Do not miss out on this opportunity, for there are line-ups for shows which you can go and book a reservation for and be blown off your feet.

The above mentionedHome-chef Mesny’s widely popular Macaron Making Class is only a few hundred meters away from Moulin Rouge.

Rue de SteinKerque

4. Rue de Steinkerque – A Destination for Smart Shopping

The streets of Rue de Steinkerque are filled with little shops with T-shirts and trinket peddlers, where you could easily bargain and snatch up some cheap deals. Every Saturday in the wee hours of the morning there will be trucks that drive up next to these little shops, followed by a line of workers jumping out of the truck carrying huge boxes of clothing and ‘’one, two, three’’ they swing and dump the clothes infront of the store baskets and then in a similar manner jump back onto the truck and off they go. Now, you will witness a crowd of eager shoppers trying to secure the best deals. If you are in Montmartre, Paris on a Saturday morning you can head over and join the buzz.

Apart from the countless shopping opportunities, there are also many cafes! Some of the highlights include La Cure Gourmande and Maison George Larnicol Chocolaterie. Time spent here in Rue de Steinkerque will never be a waste of time!

Musee de Montmartre

5. Musée de Montmartre

To really say that you have been to Montmartre you have to visit the Musée de Montmartre as the pieces displayed are symbols of the charming architecture that surrounds the whole city. Furthermore, this museum is set in a home that was a common meeting place for many artist and writers.

In 2011 the new owner redesigned the place in hope to further recreate the idea of homeliness, as well as still retaining its former importance of a meeting ground and hence included an extended venue, Renoir gardens, opened only in 2014, this place was the spark of inspiration for many past resident artistes and together with the new 3-storey exhibition showcasing Suzanne Valadon’s art studio, it has become a must-see highlight of all travellers who come to Montmartre.

6. The Bateau-Lavoir

Located in a very homely and charming place called Emile Goudeu, the Bateau-Lavoir’s wooden structure used to be residence to a piano factory. The place was poorly heated, so other studios would all come together to warm one another up, this led it to being a forum for artists from all over the world, creating a melting pot of Modern Art. This place was paid homage to by lots of artist and writers such as Apollinaire, Max Jacob, Mac Orlan, Modigliani, Van Dongen and Juan Gris and not forgetting Pablo Picasso. 

Though the place seemed miserable – glacial in winter and scorching hot during summer, Picasso once wrote: “I know we will make it through the Bateau Lavoir. There we were truly happy, we were considered as painters and not as curious animals”.

Musee de Romantique

Musee de la vie Romantique

7. Musée de la Vie Romantiqe

Paris is given the name as the City of Love for a reason. In Paris, Romanticism was an artistic movement and fed inspiration to countless hordes of artists and writers from Europe. In the early 1830s, Dutch painter Ary Scheffer transformed his beautiful home, Hôtel Scheffer-Renan, into a salon. Which was later visited by many artists such as George Sand, Frederic Chopin, Eugène Delacroix, Franz Liszt whose artwork is hung up in the museum.

The museum actually organizes temporary exhibitions, concerts, book readings and children activities. And for those of you who are planning your trip from March through October, the museum opens up its tearoom in the garden’s greenhouse. A beautiful sight indeed, sipping tea and crunching on local snacks on a patio with friends both old and new. Definitely something to look forward to.

Musee de Art Max forny

8. Musée d’Art Naïf Max Fourny

To all the art lovers out there, Musée d’Art Naïf Max Fourny is a must-visit attraction as it provides a much more modern perspective of the Montmartre Art Scene. Originally built to act as a marketplace, the museum acts as an exhibition centre and a venue for cultural events. Max Fourny is known for his naïve (folk) art, also called “art brut” (“raw art”). The collection includes more than 500 paintings and 80 sculptures.


9. Place du Tertre

Another place not to be missed is Place du Tertre Montmartre, the whole street is packed with colourful artist stalls, bringing inspiration to many for its vibrancy and liveliness. Located within a picturesque cobblestone square that acts as an open-air art gallery bustling with locals and tourists, the square is also lined with 18th-century buildings featuring busy restaurants, cafes and crepe stands.

Centuries back before Montmartre became a part of Paris, this square bustling with life was the main square of a medieval village. If you are travelling with family or just want to sit by the side there are many places with outdoor seating for you to bask in the life created by the locals at Place du Tertre. Being a place of interest for many, it gets packed with tourists however fear not for Place du Tertre retains its charm. The narrow lanes invites visitors like you to explore them!

Museum Erotica

10. Last but not least, Musée de l’Erotisme

This last destination is ideal for couples 😉 This is a great museum if you are looking for something to spice up the romance on your Parisian holiday with your significant other. 7 floors of erotic arts and artefacts await!!

Have you been to Montmartre and have a favourite go to place that we did not mention here? Do tell us in the comments below and share your expert tips!

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March Guide: Festivals in Paris

March Guide: Festivals in Paris

St. Patricks Day – March 17th 

St. Patricks Day is a global celebration of Irish culture on March 17th. This international holiday commemorates one of Ireland's patron saints, who ministered Christianity in Ireland during the fifth century. On this day you will witness Parisians dressed in green together with the streets! Join in and wear something green as well! A day midweek where you will have the perfect excuse to grab a pint and start drinking! What is there to lose?

However if you are not up to drinking at a pub as St. Patricks this year falls on a thursday so you would have to report back to work, book a cosy dinner with locals through a social dinning platform where you can join Local home chefs in their home for a meal and celebrate St. Patricks Day together.

 La Verticale de la Tour Effiel – March 18th 

An event not to be missed! How often do you witness athletes scaling to the top of the Eiffel Tower on foot? Never? This is your chance! This is an ascent race of 1,665 steps of the Eiffel tower and unlike similar events that take place in enclosed stairwells, the stars of the eiffel tower are completely open to the outside. In 2016, there will a total of 100 seasoned sportsperson taking part in this event! 

Salon du Livre – March 18th to the 27th

Book lovers out there, this is a festival for you! A festival founded in 1981 dedicated to books and writing. Large and small publishers and representatives of book businesses as well as the general public will be there and signing sessions, thematic debates will be held as such becoming an event of great culture in Paris. 

Le Printemps Du Cinema – March 20th to 21st 

Le Printemps Du Cinema is a nation wide festival where films are being featured for a very cheap price of 4 euros for a period of 3 days! Some of the movies that they are screening include Grammy nominated films such as the revenant and others such as Booklyn, Divergent 3, Zoolander, Zootopia, How to be single and also other French films. An event not to be missed especially if they are screening your favourite movie or even a just released movie you have not watched! Head down to their website to find out more. 

Foire du Trone – March 25th to 22nd May 

Foire du Trone is an Annual Fun fair that showcases an open air market! There will be over 350 attractions and rides for you to go and try out! For those of you travelling with kids this is the perfect attraction for you to visit and fear not parents as there are lockers available around and restaurants for you to take a breather and get a snack in between the fun rides! 

Easter Sunday – March 27th

If you are travelling to paris during Easter sunday, here is your chance to experience it the way Parisians do. Book a meal with local parisian chefs and enjoy the authenticity of their homes and their special Easter dishes. Sitting at the table surrounded by laughs and good food, there is absolutely no better way to celebrate this festival. 

Drawing Now Paris 2016 – 30th March to 3rd April

An annual contemporary drawing fair at Carreau du Temple will showcase works from over 80 international galleries and 400 artists will be hand-selected and be put on display for five days for collectors, professionals and the general public to enjoy. In 2016, the organisers are introducing a panoramic look at the last 50 years of drawings showcased at their events of using on German traditions in the graphic arts and contemporary scene. There will also be a two-day international symposium in the Carreau’s auditorium space, aiming to ‘take stock’ of the evolution of drawing since the fair’s beginnings ten years ago.

Art Paris, Art Fair 2016 – March 13 to April 3rd

Art Paris, Art Fair is one of the most up and coming modern and contemporary art events held in the spring which includes a total of 143 galleries from 22 countries, a concept of ‘cosmopolitian regionalism’ introduced only 4 years ago. Held at the Grand Palais, Avenue Winston churchill where light comes flooding in during the day, the art exhibition showcases works such as Antique Jewelry, Antique Furniture, Antique clocks, Art Glass, Art Works, Hand Woven Carpets and Rugs. In the year 2016, the gallery will seek to showcase parts such as Europe, Colombia, Iran and Korean who this years guest of honour.

Enjoyed this article? Tell us in the comments if you have been to any of these articles or any other festivals to recommend! Also stay tuned for our summer guide to festivals in Paris. 

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Festivals to attend in Paris

Festivals to attend in Paris

Summer time is when cities around the world are most lively and Paris is no exception. A host of festivals take place in Paris, celebrating all forms of art, be it music, film or dance. The city's green spaces, banks of the Seine river and even historical sites and churches are transformed into centres of festivities. 

While most festivals in Paris take place in summer, there are festivals held throughout the year even during the colder months. Depending on which time of the year you are headed for the French capital, here are some festivals that to consider attending. 

1. Bastille Day Celebrations

July 14th marks the beginning of the French Revolution with the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, an act which proved to be one of France's first steps towards democracy. Celebrations begin on the night of 13th July with a grand music and dance party held at Place de la Bastille. The following morning, celebrations begin with a military parade at Champs Elysees in the morning and culminates with a fireworks show which many watch from Champ de Mars. Families also enjoy a feast on Bastille Day at home and some would head out for a picnic at green spaces near the Eiffel Tower. 

2. Open Air Cinema Festival

As evening approaches, temperatures cool and there is no better way to end the day than with a film screening at Parc de la Villette. Film lovers will be in for a treat with a series of both French and international films feature on the programme every summer. A mix of well-known and lesser-known films are screened at this month-long annual festival, which has a different theme each year. Hire deckchairs or picnic mats on site to make yourself comfortable as you enjoy a free film screening at this park. If you fancy, bring along some food and wine indulge in prior to the screening. 

3. Paris Jazz Festival

The Paris Jazz Festival brings performances to the Parc Floral de Vinciennes every weekend in June and July. Featuring talented local and international musicians, as well as up-and-coming and well-known acts, this festival is as much an opportunity for jazz musicians to showcase their talents as it is for the audience to enjoy jazz tunes as they bask in the sunshine and appreciate the sights of nature. Picnics on the lawns of the park are also a common sight so if you fancy having some nibbles to accompany the performances, do remember to bring your food and mat along!

4. Le Salon du Chocolat

Chocaholics will not want to miss annual chocolate festival in Paris! Held in the later part of October, this festival is indeed solely focused on chocolate and attended by manufacturers of this delightful treat from all over the world. Given the opportunity to sample a great variety of chocolate by manufacturers from many different countries, it is little wonder why this festival is hugely popular with the chocolate-loving public. Whether you fancy chocolate drinks, confectionery, pastries or simply plain chocolate, there is plenty to indulge in at this cocoa festival. 

5. Carnaval de Paris

This annual festival in Paris occurs after the Feast of Fools and takes place either in February or March. In earlier times, this festival lasted several weeks but is now a day-long event. Nevertheless, Carnaval de Paris has much to offer with its two main events, namely the walk of masks and the processions. Beginning at Gambette metro station and ending at Hotel de Ville, this street carnival is watched by over 6,000 people who gather at different points of the route for the best views. It is completely free to watch and enjoy the parade so do not miss this opportunity! 

Not so much of a crowd person? Have you own private celebration with local Parisian hosts, where they will treat you to hand made local French delicacies, all in the comfort of their beautiful homes. 

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