Montmartre - Sacré Coeur, Paris
Place du Tertre, Montmartre
As I mentioned in my 'Must-see activities', place du Tertre in Montmartre is a nice place to visit because of all the artists showing their work. There are also a lot of so called french traditionnal restaurants. I've brought one visiting friend to eat in one of the restaurants and that was the last time ever.
I was disapointed by the quality of the food served. I remembered I had a crepe and it didn't taste good at all. Nothing compared to the real crepe I've always known.
Moreover, I think the food is expensive there. In certain restaurants, the servers have to dress up : it's really sketchy !
I would recommend you to have coffee at Place du Tertre because it's nice to sit there and watch people but NOT eating there !!
I've read through this thread after the fact, unfortunately. Some of these guys in fact, do NOT leave you alone after you give them a stern "no". I appeared to be by myself because I was walking ahead of my husband and mother. When approached, I kept walking and told the guy "no" about three times as he followed me. He then grabbed my arm sternly and asked "What you mean no?" I then flipped out and told him to get the &^% off me and he got in my face and called me a mother&^%& repeatedly. I backed away from him and at that point my husband was behind the guy as he cursed at me so he swung the guy around and pushed him out of the way. Maybe these guys aren't so aggressive if they see a man or a couple. But as far as I'm concerned, there's at least one out there that if you appear to be a young woman by yourself he will use physical force on you. Luckily, the other bracelet guys did not attempt to jump my husband and/or rob any of us and seemed unhappy this guy caused such a commotion.
Unique Suggestions: I wouldn't even go there. Not worth the hassle.
I was checking on VT about things to do in Paris and found out about this place, but the VT member wrote that during the day it is a nice area, during the night it is full of "strange" ppl, prostitutes, drunk kids etc. and I agree with her tip 100 %. I was disappointed with area around Moulin Rouge. It is worth to see during the day, and there are some nice bars in Montmartre, plus the houses and streets are nice.
Unique Suggestions: Explore the area, you will find some decent, normal bars with French music, artists on the street painting/ in front of the church Sacre Coeur, there is a beautiful view on Paris! Nice!
Fun Alternatives: During the day you will get the different picture of the place-much much nicer!
NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!
One million times NO!
I went to the romantic square of Tertre and couldn't believe what I saw: the artists, expelled from the square by a dense esplanade! No! I can't believe that the good old Tertre was killed! It was the effect of the rain!
It only could be!
I will never go there again in winter!
These bracelet sellers really annoyed me! I'd encountered them before, but this time when I went with my girlfriend they were really pushy. I actually had to physically push one away to stop him from grabbing my girlfriends arm. Like everyone else says, they are a rip off, and I reckon a blight on a great tourist attraction. Push straight past them, and keep yelling NO! as much as you have to!
I was with a group of american friends who wanted to eat at the square after visiting the Sacre Coeur. I warned them that the possibility of getting food is slim and that it is a crime to eat badly in Paris. yet they insisted , impatient to wait a few more minutes till i found them a restaurant and chose to eat at La Mere Catherine. It has to be without doubt the worst food I have eaten in all my visits to Paris.
Unique Suggestions: JUst do not eat in the square, walk down and look for a restaurant if you are that hungry the food is slightly better down the stairs and if you are not that hungry , take the metro and go to another arondissement and eat at another chosen place..
As you approach the Place du Tertre in Montmartre, particularly from the direction of Sacre Coeur, you will no doubt be bombarded by patrolling 'artists' inviting you to have a portrait or a silhouette made. It can feel a little like running the gauntlet for the uninitiated but a firm 'non merci' accompanied by a 'talk-to-the-hand' type gesture will usually be enough. (Sounds a bit like puppy training doesn't it!) That is, of course, unless you really want to have some overpriced scribble presented to you as a done deal.
I had to quickly get over any misplaced vanity that it was me they were interested in because it's usually my husband they're after. I've now lost count of the number of times we've been told that he has 'interesting hair' - it tends towards the spiky when it needs to be cut!
Here's a classic Tourist Trap that you should try to avoid. When you start going up the steps of the Sacré Coeur church to get to Montmartre, there's always a group of guys standing on the stairway with some hand-sown bracelets. They try real hard to tie one onto you, "just to try", you know, "to see how it looks". Thing is, apart from the fact that they're horrible little bracelets, that if you get one on you, he'll tie a knot and make you "pay him". This can be a BIG nuissance, especially if you don't speak proper french. No big deal, just be on the lookout and march right through saying "no, no, no" and don't stop. It's a nice walk so you should climb the stairs.
Be really carefull on the Métro, Paris isn't dangerous or violent but pickpockets are real artists. Keep your bag to the front, avoid crowds, etc., I know you think this is dumb, but I live here and had my phone stolen yesterday! They're good. Be on the lookout.
Of course, biggest tourist trap of all is Pigalle. Anyway, don't think your friend will go to any strip shows, but I went with a buddy to do his bachelors party and we wound up being ripped of. Long story, but we had to pay 800$ for 6 glasses of "champagne". The strip show sucked too. If you like this "art form", go to Amsterdam. That's my advice. Do be carefull while walking in Pigalle to see the Moulin Rouge and all that, or you might beat our 800$ record.
Hope this helps!
Unique Suggestions: The Braceletes ar easy to avoid, just be firm and say no, better to be rude than lose money.
As far as Pigalle is concerned, if you really want to go in the clubs, ask for the price of every drink and pay at once. Girls will sit down at your table, talk to you, order a drink and have you pay for the "company". Of course she ordered champagne. Really, it sucks big time and the shows are bad.
Fun Alternatives: Forget the cabaret Moulin Rouge thing and go somewhere else! Beside the Moulin Rouge is a disco called "La Loco", so if you're that desperate, might as well try and pick up someone there, it'll be much cheaper in any case. Try and reflect on women exploitation first. We are all equal. A word to the wise.
Visiting Montmartre we went into Sacre Ceur.
Coming out and moving up towards the upper square of Montmatre we were approaced by two nice looking men , and for the first time in our lives we said yes to an offer.
Well how stupid can you be - no price don´t worry.
Drawing, drawing and drawing and then my wife shouting out: "Did you say 80 Euros"? "Jens (me) what shall I do .. 80 Euros"?
The "painter" then said "Well because it is you lets say 60 Euros" ... Then I went into the ball and told him that for five minutes of drawing someting like a twelve year old girl, I would gladly change my occupation with him, and we ended up with 20 Euros (the price should have been 1 Euro)
Unique Suggestions: Well a lesson learned. Wonder why we went into the trap. We travel a lot and have never been trapped.
I can assure you that the French for the most part are nice, kind people and in Paris most of them speak english. You really do not feel uncomfortable at any time.
Fun Alternatives: Learn the word "No" :-) and wait until you reach the center square where you will find the real artists. They are craftsmen I tell you!
kEEP AWAY from the wierdos with braclets on the way up to Sacre Coeur....very pushy guys! Take a side path to get there and the view will be worth the wait....the best view of Paris apart from being on the top of the Eiffel Tower
Walking in front of the steps to the church and the pay toilets at the bottom of the steps, you will get approached by street vendors asking you to just "Help them out for a second" by using your finger to tie a bracelet. Once they are finished, they will demand that you buy it from them for about 10 Euros.
You can just walk away in a huff if you just don't want to pay but the best way to avoid it is to just keep walking with your hands in your pockets when they approach you.
Unique Suggestions: Walk with your hands in your pockets.
Scope out where the vendors are.
Walk fast by the vendors.
Don't make eye contact.
Politely refuse if they approach you.
Fun Alternatives: This is a fun location and very romantic. There's a buzz in the air even in the middle of Febuary with lovers kissing with abandon on the steps in front of the church overlooking the city of Paris.
Be sure to visit at sunset and walk through the streets behind the church for an enjoyable walk.
beware of the black scammers in front of montmartre, they are thiefs and drug dealers.
They sell cocaine and weed.
They also harrass and insult in différent language tourist who pass by their self-claimed territory.
Unique Suggestions: beware of the black scammers in front of montmartre, they are thiefs and drug dealers.
They sell cocaine and weed. They also steal mobile phones from tourist especially womens because they can't defend themselves.
They also harrass and insult in différent language tourist who pass by their self-claimed territory.
Fun Alternatives: get the other side instead from the right side of the hill. It's a quieter place and there are less people. stick together in group.
Look. This is approximately as close as you should ever get to Montmartre. The guidebooks and the city tourism officials will tell you that Montmartre is a scenic, cobblestoned-paved, medieval district full of colorful characters, restaurants, and magnificent views from the Sacré Cœur. These are what I like to call exaggerations. Montmarte is an over-touristed, souvenir stand-filled mess of overpriced eateries.
The worst part, however, are the "street performers" (so named by the official literature). I call them mimes, and they are among the world's worst. If you're like me (and you should be, because I'm just that cool), you're a bit worried and perplexed by mimes. Why won't they talk? What fiendish devilry lurks in their silent minds?
When I was a kid, I developed a rather intense fear of clowns. I'm not ashamed by this -- I had a bad experience at a birthday party at McDonald's. I no longer frequent that den of iniquity and mass-produced greasy American food, and I no longer accept mimes and clowns as unalterable parts of the human landscape. Join the coalition. Avoid Montmartre.
Unique Suggestions: (Really, though, the mimes aside, Montmartre is really not worth the trip. There are so many great places on the left bank where you can experience the real, friendly, affordable Paris. Leave Montmartre to the uninformed tourist.)
We found the Sacre Cour a real dissapointment. The part of the city the church is in is shady, and almost scary. Walking up the hill through the cheezy tourist shops was not much fun, then to be accosted by the wrist band bandits was a real turn-off. The area around the church was filled with portrait artist and others wanting to scam you we didn't even bother. It was definately the worst part of our trip, overall uncomfortable and unmemorable. The best part of the site is the view of Paris from atop the hill, but for a view do the Eiffle or even Arc de Triumph.
Unique Suggestions: We read here on VT to stay clear of the wrist band bandits and we did, but they tend to block the steps coming down the hill to corner you into their trap. Just barge right on through them and don't allow them time to talk to you, keeps your eyes directed from their view. Don't wear a wallet in your back pocket and keep a hold of your valuables.
Fun Alternatives: Just don't go if you can help it. The church is nice but certainly not the best in Paris. Visit the church of the Magdaline for a good alternative.
On the way up to the Sacre Coeur, taking the main stairs right in front of the church, you cannot get around without seeing the African so called "bracelet guys". There young guys hang around on the stairs waiting for potential victims to come by: young couples, single women or women in small groups. They start a small conversation, shake your hand, and as soon as they have your hand they tie a small bracelet around it. And because there is no way you can get them off of your arm, they demand money. The prices they ask can get as high as 10 euro's for a worthless pieces of wool.
Unique Suggestions: One simple solution for this one: just say no and at all times never give them your hand.