(Last Updated On: June 23, 2021)

There are so many things to do in Montmartre, the beating bohemian heart of Paris’ artistic roots. Nothing conjures up images of the artistic haven that Paris used to be quite like this village in France’s capital city. France is a wonderful country with so many great destinations that should be on your bucket list, but it is hard to find a place that feels quite as special as Montmartre. 

Immediately on arriving in the area at Pigalle Metro station, the red windmills atop the famous can-can venue, the Moulin Rouge, can be spotted. This is Paris’ red light district, though in the day time the iconic attraction seems just as sleepy as the rest of the town.

I’m arriving early for my walking tour with Paris on the Way to sit at a café and watched this gorgeous district shake the sleep off and start to come to life.

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Where to stay in Montmartre

Montmartre is a wonderful choice for where to stay in Paris. From hotels in the area, the magnificent dome of the UNESCO World Heritage listed cathedral of Sacre Coeur looms large atop Montmartre’s famous hill. 

Maison Souquet is perfect for those wanting an upscale, romantic and luxurious experience. For a more modern apartment feel, the Montmartre Residence is a fabulous choice. Finally, the Terrass Hotel” (which has housed the likes of Salvador Dali and Edith Piaf) is an unmissable stay with incredible rooftop views of the city of Paris. 

For those more on a budget, consider Le Regent Montmartre which offers clean and well-priced private rooms and dorm rooms – including small 4 bed female only dorm rooms with ensuites.

How to get to Montmartre

Montmartre is serviced by quite a few Paris metro stations, depending on where you’re coming from. Located in the 18th Arondissment, Montmartre is around 20 minutes drive (not accounting for traffic) from centrally located attractions such as Notre Dame.

Abbesses Station, Pigalle Station, Barbès – Rochechouart Station, Anvers Station and Blanche Station all get you in the vicinity of Montmartre. 

I recommend starting your Montmartre journey at the base of the hill, down by the Moulin Rouge as one of the great joys of this neighbourhood is strolling up the windy cobble stoned streets until you reach the top where Sacre Coeur is located. 

If you’re coming to Montmartre from an international rail journey, chances are you’ll be arriving in Paris at the enormous Gare du Nord. From here, simply catch the number 4 metro line to Barbès – Rochechouart and then jump on the number 2 train to Blanche which will stop right out the front of the Moulin Rouge. 

A florist in Montmartre

My Paris on the Way Tour Experience

Once I’d met my guide for the morning, Aurélie, we started the walk up the hill towards the brilliant white dome of Sacre-Cœur that looms over the district. But we had food, not church on our minds.

Whilst wandering around the cobblestone paths we saw some of Montmartre’s treasures. De Deux Moulins café made famous by the movie Amélie is located here, close to the base of Montmartre, which is definitely worth checking out.

Local fishmongers prepare their produce for the day, flower shops are made bright by the splashes of pink and yellow flora and there are bakeries around every corner.

The French have an incredible connection to bread – it’s easy to spot a local in France because chances are they’ll be carrying a baguette under their arm to take home for their family – and apparently Montmartre is the bakery haven of Paris with tiny little artisan boulangeries dotted throughout the streets.

Bread in the display window of a bakery in Montmartre

The highlight of the day, and actually my entire trip to Paris, was heading into the back door of a gorgeous little (award winning) bakery to learn how to make the PERFECT baguette.

And boy is it harder than it looks – I should know because they put me to work straight away.

I learned how to cut the dough, create the long, cylindrical shapes that baguettes have, work the oven and carve the notches into the dough to give it the authentic Parisian look.

There is a lot of love and passion that goes into each baguette but there is also a hell of a lot of hard work. The boulangerie where I learned the craft of baguette making, Campaillette, are famous for their baguettes and their brioche having won awards for both.

It was really evident that the team at this bakery love what they do and that love translates into amazing tasting bread. I left with the baguette I’d made, warm and fresh from the oven and several other goodies to sample including some of their famous brioche. This is such a great experience and one of the best things to do in Montmartre for sure.

Baguette making in Montmartre

Other Things To See On A Walking Tour Of Montmartre

Full of bread and with more in hand we said goodbye to the lovely people of Campaillette and continued a brilliant and informative walk up the hill heading past Picasso’s former house and studio, the mill at the centre of Renoir’s Bal du Moulin de la Galette, the Wall of Love (I love you written in multiple languages), the famous Place du Tertre atop the hill (very touristy now) where talented artists paint portraits and sell their wares and also the Montmartre Vineyard. It’s hard to believe that in the heart of a capital city, a tiny vineyard exists here. 

Strolling the village with my guide Aurélie felt as comfortable as walking around the streets with a friend, peppered here and there with some history or interesting facts about each of the places. We ended our walk right up the top of the hill at the basilica of the Sacre-Cœur with an impressive view of the notable buildings in Paris below us.

Even on a cloudy day, that view is pretty remarkable and I surprised myself at how many of the different buildings I could recognise.

Montmartre is famous for art

Sacre-Coeur

After bidding farewell to my guide, I was back off down the hill but not before I had gone inside Sacre-Cœur to take a look. There was mass running, and although I’m not a religious person the sense of occasion and ceremony was tangible.

This UNESCO World Heritage Listed church is so easily spotted throughout Montmartre and it is just as impressive up close. The basilica is Paris’ second most visited monument and has been an imposing part of the Paris skyline since 1914 when construction was completed. Wonderful views of the city can be taken in from the top of the Sacre-Coeur dome. 

The only unfortunate thing I have to make note of is the fact that there was an abundance of tourists taking photos inside when the signage clearly says not to – please don’t be those kinds of tourists. Respect is a very important part of travelling. 

The Amélie Cafe

After a quick turn around the chapel I wandered back through the cobbled streets to De Deux Moulins to have my last glass of French wine before departing the country. And I’m really glad I did.

Although pretty touristy now, the café is EXACTLY the same is it is in the movie. I actually re-watched Amélie on the plane on the way over, so sitting inside it when it was so fresh in my memory was quite surreal. For any Amélie tragics out there – I’m pretty sure I was in the seat Nino Quincampoix sits in when he comes to the café.

The Amelie Cafe, Montmartre

Place du Tertre

The famous artist square in Montmartre bustles with life as scores of artists sit on their folding chairs and create magic with their paint brushes. Whilst this square is usually heaving with tourists, it still retains a quaint village vibe. 

There is absolutely no obligation, nor really any hustling to buy here. Just wander and enjoy the free art and people watching. Do make sure that you hold on to your belongings though, as pickpockets are known to operate in the area.  

Montmartre is famous for art

The local experience in Montmartre was exactly was I was hoping for – Paris can be overwhelmingly touristy, so to walk the streets with someone who understands a good local bakery from an industrial one, knows the stories of the streets and isn’t afraid to take tourists off the beaten path is a true gem and one I’d definitely recommend. 

To book your Paris on the Way tour, visit their website here. They’ve also got a bunch of other tours on offer so even if bread isn’t your thing they’ll definitely have something that appeals – I know I’ll be coming back for more. 

Note: I took this tour as a guest of Paris on the Way. As always opinions & images expressed in this blog post are my own.

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Things To Do In Montmartre - Emma Jane Explores
Things To Do In Montmartre - Emma Jane Explores

7 Comments

  1. Krista

    I only visited this part of Paris briefly to walk up to the Sacre Coeur, but we did end up visiting a really interesting chocolate shop too! I didn’t know there were so many things to do in this area, so I’m saving this post for my next trip to Paris!

    Reply
    • Emma Jane Explores

      Glad it was helpful. I can’t wait to get back to Paris – hopefully soon!

      Reply
  2. Holidays from Hels

    I love the cobbled streets and cafe life in this area of Paris. Such a fabulous city and the views from the Sacre Coeur are fabulous. Can’t wait to go back and do some more exploring with this handy guide.

    Reply
    • Emma Jane Explores

      Isn’t it so beautiful? Absolutely love wandering the streets of Paris, but Montmartre is absolutely my favourite.

      Reply
  3. Brooke

    Gorgeous photos! Somehow I’ve been to Paris 2x and never went to Montmartre! I really can’t wait to go back and explore this area.

    Reply
    • Emma Jane Explores

      Definitely add it to your list next time – it is absolutely my favourite part of Paris!

      Reply
  4. Traveler Seeker

    Wow! I didn’t know there were so many things to do in this place. Thanks for sharing this with us!

    Reply

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