Montmartre Area, Paris

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  • View of Montmartre, the Sacré-Cœurbasiliek
    View of Montmartre, the...
    by Twan
  • Sacre Coeur
    Sacre Coeur
    by cleocat
  • At the Sacre Coeur
    At the Sacre Coeur
    by cleocat
  • mallyak's Profile Photo

    Montmartre Village

    by mallyak Written Aug 15, 2008

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    Montmartre was a little village on the outskirts of the city of Paris until it was discovered by artists in the nineteenth century.
    Montmartre is one of the few hills in Paris, and the views from the church square are magnificent. In fact, next to the Eiffel Tower, Sacré Coeur is the second highest point in Paris.
    Montmartre still retains its village qualities. Old houses jostle together in its narrow lanes.

    In the 19th century, artists liked the quality of light on this hill, out of the smoke, grime and noise ofthe centre of Paris. Many famous painters lived and worked here, Van Gogh, Lautrec, Seurat, Monet etc.

    It is still the haunt of artists but today these are painters who provide the tourist market with souvenirs. The Place du Tertre at the foot of the hill comes to life with artists' easels during the afternoons. It is also reputed to be the place in Paris where you are most likely to have your pocket picked .... so be careful when you visit!
    The streets surrounding Sacré Coeur and Montmartre come to life in the evening. The police presence keeps a watchful eye

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  • mariev's Profile Photo

    Montmartre - Long before Amelie

    by mariev Updated Apr 3, 2007

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    With its 130 meters, the Butte Montmartre, crowned by the Sacre Coeur, is the highest Paris' "summit".

    There are two different stories about the name "Montmatre" origin : the official one beeing 'Mont de Mercure', but, a 13th century legend states that it comes from 'Mont des Martyrs' and refers to those, who, with Saint Denis (the first Paris' bishop), were killed here for their faith in the 3th century.

    From the 12th century to the Revoution (1789) Montmartre housed an important and powerfull benedictine Abbaye.

    In 1790, Montmartre was divided in two (uphill and downhill). While the downhill part was quite imediately re-included in Paris, the uphill one grew as a prosperous village until the 19th century and kept some independance, even after being attached to Paris in 1860 (and took an important part in the 'Commune' revolution in 1871).

    This independant status appealed to artists, especially painters (like Vernet, Géricault, Corot, Pissarro, Renoir, Van Gogh, Utrillo, Picasso, ....) who moved to the Butte Montmartre during all the 19th century and the begining of the 20th.

    Since then, if the area has lost its favour among the artists (in the 50's to Saint Germain des Pres (wich has now become a strictly touristy place too)) it has earned a lot among the tourists, especially after the film 'Amelie' (french title : Le fabuleux destin d'Amelie Poulain) came out.

    It's a working class, cosmopolitan, colourfull, ever crowded and lively area dominated by 'artists' (and souvenir shops) place du Tertre, cafes everywhere, and fabric and (cheap) clothes stores.

    rue de Steinkerque
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  • ruki's Profile Photo

    Montmartre

    by ruki Updated Apr 8, 2008

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    Montmartre is a hill which is 130 metres high, and also the name of the surrounding district, in the north of Paris.All around you will see picturesque Montmartre neighborhood that you can enter on a narrow street just outside the entrance to the crypt below Sacre Coeur. Here you will find shops, restaurants, and lot of artist selling their work in street market and lot of street performers and dozens of portrait artists. Be careful becuase of crowds and constatnt diversions of your attention would probably make it a great place to have your pockets picked.
    On XIX and XX century, Montmartre were the best place for painting, with a lot of famous painters as Pissarro, Toulouse-Lautrec, Steinlen, Van Gogh, Modigliani, Picasso

    narrow street
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  • breughel's Profile Photo

    The panorama.

    by breughel Updated Feb 14, 2014

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    We had expected a great panorama on Paris from the stairs of the Sacré Coeur and we were disapointed.
    What we first saw in the distance were the buildings of the "banlieue" suburbs of the south of Paris. Here and there we would distinguish a monument shrouded in the historical centre. My photo speaks up for herself I may think.
    Furthermore the trees did limit the view to the west so that to see the Tour Eiffel we had to leave the parvis. I presume that for a really good view one has to climb to the dome of the basilica. A touristic success with 10 million visitors.

    Actually visiting the Musée d'Orsay we had from the terrace at level 5 a good view on the Sacré Coeur and the Butte Montmartre while the reverse viewing Paris from the Sacré Coeur had been a deception!

    Panorama from the stairs of the Sacr�� Coeur. Sacr�� Coeur seen from Orsay.
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  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    A bohemian walk through Montmartre!

    by Jefie Updated May 13, 2007

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    Towards the end of the 19th century, Montmartre became the preferred refuge of Paris's artistic community, when writers and painters mixed with dancers and courtisans around the Moulin Rouge and rue de Pigalle. If you've seen Baz Luhrmann's film "Moulin Rouge", you have an over-the-top but still pretty good idea of what life was like in Montmartre back then. Even though rue de Pigalle, with its numerous sex shops, still qualifies as Paris's red light district, the neighborhood has changed a lot. The constant flow of tourists has commercialized the area (this is the place in Paris where we bumped into the most guided tours) but if you walk around a bit, you'll still be able to catch some of that spirit of the past. Here's an idea of an itinerary, but keep your eyes open - even though the area is relatively small, there's much more to see than what's described here!

    A few steps away to the left of Sacre-Coeur is the Place du Tertre. Not so long ago, this used to be a place where artists would expose their paintings while chit-chatting with visitors. Some still do, but most will run at you with a pencil and a sheet of paper, offering to do your portrait. At least the surrounding buildings have kept their old-days charm!

    From Place du Tertre go up on rue des Saules. At the corner of rue de l'Abreuvoir and des Saules, you'll see La Maison Rose, which has inspired many Montmartre painters. Keep going on des Saules until you reach Le Lapin Agile, a place where writers and painters like Picasso and Apollinaire used to meet to talk and drink the night away.

    From there turn left on Caulaincourt, and then left on Girardon. At the corner of Girardon and Lepic you'll see Le Moulin de la Galette on your right, the famous French ballroom that once again inspired several painters, including Renoir and Van Gogh.

    You can then follow rue Lepic down the hill (the street twists and turns) until you reach boul. de Clichy. On your right you'll see another famous "moulin", le Moulin-Rouge, celebrated home of the French can-can!

    Le bal du Moulin-Rouge Place du Tertre, in the Montmartre area La Maison Rose, on rue de l'Abreuvoir Au Lapin Agile Le Moulin de la Galette, in Montmartre
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  • travelnurse21's Profile Photo

    Montmarte

    by travelnurse21 Updated May 24, 2005

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    Going in August meant that the place was extremely crowded! As we were walking up Montmartre, we could hear so many different languages spoken, vendors standing outside of their stores promising something different from the vendor next door, smells wafting out of the many side street cafes that line the area, and artists painting the beautiful Parisian scenery. Beware of street vendors selling you home made arts and crafts. These crafts are most often poorly made and these vendors sometimes work with pickpocketers to find out where you hide your money.

    The walk itself up to the basillica is pretty long, but you see so much along the way. If you are too tired, there is a furnicular you can take. However, I suggest that you just wear comfortable shoes and brave the hike! It is indeed very entertaining. After, take a well deserved break at one of Montmartres many cafes and take the time to people watch!

    *extra: the arrows and the carousel from the movie Amelie are still there!

    Sacre Coer
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  • metropolis's Profile Photo

    Montmartrain

    by metropolis Written Apr 19, 2011

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    If you're going to Montmartre for the first time, I suggest a ride on the lovely Montmartrain. The train leaves every 30 minutes from the Basilique du Sacré Coeur and it's an enjoyable way to see some of the main attractions of this wonderful quartier. It's not a tourist trap, it's not expensive and if you're traveling with kids, they're gonna love it.

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  • mindcrime's Profile Photo

    The beautiful Sacre Coeur and Montmartre

    by mindcrime Updated Jan 15, 2011

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    What a picturesque area, so touristic of course but check pic 5, I loved this old car.

    You can walk in the narrow streets of Montmartre and drink an expensive coffee together with other tourists but there are some nice corners too except the numerous souvenir stores!

    The locals dont come here but its nice to walk at least once at Place du Tertre, a small square occupied by the outside tables of the restaurants and by the artists (painters, musicians etc).

    Its a tourist trap but you will see Sacré Coeur Basilica anyway that seems to be white when it is lightned during the night (pic 1). You can climb to the top of the dome for a wonderful view of the city! There's no entrance fee to get inside the church, it's dark but check the dome for the golden heart of Jesus.

    At Pigale, the area below the Montmartre hill is like Red Light District in Amsterdam! The well-known Moulin Rouge, a dozen of sex shops, peep shows and a sex museum! :) We didnt have time for the Dali museum which is near too.

    Sacre Coeur by night! a musician at Place du Tertre another musician at Place du Tertre interior of Sacre Coeur driving at Montmartre
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  • mariev's Profile Photo

    Paris attraction number 2

    by mariev Updated May 1, 2007

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    If you want to study tourists, sell tacky souvenirs or do some pickpocketing, the Sacre Coeur is one of the best spots in Paris (maybe even better than Tour Eiffel as they are more concentrated here).

    More seriously :
    This white neo byzantine basilica is perched atop a green part of Montmartre's hill (129 meters above sea-level) and visible from many parts of Paris is, in fact, rather recent.
    After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, it was decided to build a church consecrated to the Heart of Christ in reparation (in penitence for sins commited) since for this time's government, the misery of France stemmed more from spiritual than from political causes.

    In 1873, the chief architect was chosen : Abadie known for his restoration of the Cathedrale Saint Front in Perigueux.
    The first stone was laid in 1876 and the basilica was finished in 1914, but it was not consecrated until 1919 after the WWI's end.
    The church has been concieved for pilgrimage pupose and since 1885, there has been perpetual adoration and worship within.

    To reach it, you can either work up your legs and climb the stairs or use the small lifts (Funiculaire) taking you up there for the price of a metro ticket.
    The front facade and the steps of the church are often crowded by tourists and the same obnoxious souvenir-sellers than at Tour Eiffel or Notre-Dame, but whith some good planning you can get nice pictures and enter the building in decent conditions.

    In front the facade are 2 equestrian statues : on the left Saint-Louis, on the right Jeanne d'Arc, in the middle is a statue of the Christ.
    In the basilica, there is a large mosaic depicting the Christ with outstretched arms and the inside of the church is really beautifull.
    The dome is 80m high and if you walk to the top, you are rewarded by a fantastic view of the city (reaching about 40km by clear weather).

    The Sacre Coeur basilica is open 6am to 11pm; the dome is open 9am to 7pm, it is also possible to visit the crypt.

    Le Sacre Coeur
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  • Diana75's Profile Photo

    Montmartre

    by Diana75 Updated Feb 15, 2006

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    Montmartre, which used to be a little village near Paris, was discovered by French artists in the second half of the nineteenth century and transformed in a vivid area.

    Built on a hill, with steep staircases connecting one street to another, old houses, little parks, Montmartre still keeps its village characteristics.
    Many famous painters lived and worked here: Van Gogh, Lautrec, Seurat or Monet.

    It seems that originally the name came from god Mars, which had a temple built on this place, but the Christians changed it in Mont du Martyre or Martyr's Hill, when Saint Denis, beheaded on the hill for his Christian beliefs, carried his head to the bottom of the hill.
    The small places are full of painters and small shops selling souvenirs.

    We've visited the place in the morning, but we've been told to be very careful to the pickpockets and to avoid Montmartre after the sunset.

    Souvenirs shop in Montmartre Montmartre street Montmartre street Montmartre staircase Montmartre street scene
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  • IIGUANA's Profile Photo

    Paris' Balcony

    by IIGUANA Written Feb 15, 2005

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    Montmartre, also known as Paris' balcony. It's one of the city's historical centres. It's definately one of the most diverse parts of Paris. The surroundings of the Sacré-Coeur, the Place du Tertre, the Moulin Rouge..., everything is just perfect.
    The Sacré-Coeur was built in memory of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, and it its 80 column dome can be climbed to have just the perfect view of Paris.
    The Place du Tertre is one of the Paris' symbols. You can have your portrait immortalized by french artist just right there at the place, and you can even try the local Montmartre wine.
    I now understand why the film Amelié was filmed on this spot: the simplicity, the beautiful surrounding and the impressive view gives this district a remarkable feeling of what Paris is: calm, beautiful and tasty.

    Sacr��-Coeur
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  • Maryimelda's Profile Photo

    Montmartre

    by Maryimelda Written Feb 20, 2010

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    I love walking around in areas where there is a lot to see and one of my all time favourite walking areas is Montmartre. The highlight of course is Sacre Coeur. It is a stunning church and I like to challenge myself on the steps leading up to it, to see if I can do it quicker than last time. Sadly, as I get older, I seem to be going backwards as far as those steps are concerned. But in better days I did run up them in a few minutes.
    Just strolling is the best way to see Montmartre. It is a very exciting place with so much vibrance and life happening all around. There are some great restaurants and patisseries there as well, not to mention the ice cream shops.

    Sacre Coeur in the background.... Place du Tertre..... Side Street...... Beyond Montmartre to the north..... Souvenir shops.....
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  • Jeca011's Profile Photo

    On the highest point of Montmartre

    by Jeca011 Written May 27, 2004

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    The 'Basilique du Sacre Coeur' sits at the top of Montmartre. After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, it was proposed to construct a church to the Sacred Heart. Although originally the fund raising was by public subscription, in 1873, the National Assembly declared its construction to be a state undertaking. Of the 78 entries in the competition for its design, the one chosen was by the architect named Abadie. The first stone was laid in 1875 and completed in 1914 but it was not consecrated until 1919 after World War I had ended. The interior of the church contains one of the worlds largest mosaics. From the top of the church, there is a panoramic view in all directions.

    'Basilique du Sacre Coeur'

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  • miso80's Profile Photo

    The 'Charming' Montmartre - Last Village of Paris

    by miso80 Written Aug 15, 2005

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    The Montmartre hill combines the grandiose of the Sacre-Coeur Catholic Basilica, which is situated on the very top of the hill, and the charm of the Bohemian Place du Tertre. This hill still has a very unique atmosphere that constantly attracts tourist from all around the world. The Place du Tertre lies in the heart of Montmartre, and is famous for its painters that are willing to draw a portrait of you on the spot! Walk away from this busy part of the hill, and check out at random the different parts of the Montmartre and you will surely discover old houses, gardens, steep streets and stair-cases and magnificent views of the city of Paris.

    Note that, although the painters of the Place du Tertre remind us of the older generation of brilliant painters like: Picasso, Monet, and Van Gogh…These are far from being penniless ;-) They will take anything from 30-50 euros for a 10-20 minute sketch.

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  • riorich55's Profile Photo

    Great Views Except of the Eiffel Tower

    by riorich55 Updated Dec 31, 2008

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    We went up to Sacre Coeur on a nice sunny day on the first weekend in October. Although a little off the beaten path from most Paris sites, it is well worth the trip by Metro. To really do the area justice you should really plan on spending at least 3 to 4 hours.

    Looking Up Toward Sacre Coeur View from the Sacre Coeur area Street scene near Sacre Coeur

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