I love visiting Paris and spending a few days exploring a new part of the French capital every time I go. From iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower to famous tourist attractions, such as the Louvre, there’s so much to enjoy.
Nowhere is this truer than Montmartre (in the 18th arrondissement), the most bohemian corner of the city. Come here to indulge your creative side, get your portrait done, visit the quirky shops, or simply while away an hour or two people-watching over coffee at a pavement cafe.
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Here are just a few of the reasons why I love this part of Paris so much.
Following in the footsteps of artists
It may be part of one of the most famous cities in the world, but Montmartre has long considered itself more of a village within a city. This is largely thanks to the tight-knit artistic community that established itself here over the years.
Just a few of the icons to have called Montmartre home are Van Gogh, Picasso, Renoir, Monet, and Dali – the latter of which has a museum dedicated to him situated in the district.
Today, there are still countless artists who come here to soak up the atmosphere and, as a result, you can expect to receive numerous offers to have your portrait drawn.
My tip is not to approach one of the artists wandering around as you will have little chance to see them at work and know if you like their style. Instead, head to Place du Tertre where there are permanent stalls set up.
You can spend time browsing and choosing the style that appeals to you most before asking to have your portrait created. It may cost a little more but you’ll be happy with the result. Alternatively, you could invest in a beautiful landscape painting of Paris.
When there is so much amazing art to see, it’s easy not to notice Montmartre’s most beautiful attraction – its views. The district is perched high on the hill that is home to the stunning dome of Sacre Coeur and from outside the place of worship you can enjoy breathtaking views across the city right the way to the Eiffel Tower.
Unlike the tower, climbing the steps to the top of the hill does not cost a penny and the vista you are rewarded with is well worth the effort.
Montmartre is not only known for its artistic community but also for its raucous nightlife. Close by is the infamous Moulin Rouge, where Paris gentlemen went to watch circus-inspired shows and Can-Can girls during the height of France’s Belle Epoque era.
Le Chat Noir was another popular place to head to once the sun had set, and this cabaret house was immortalized in the advertisement produced by painter Theophile Alexandre Steinlen. You certainly won’t have to look far to buy one of these prints in Montmartre!
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was another painter who helped to capture the spirit of this exciting time, which came to an abrupt end with the outbreak of World War I. The artist was commissioned to produce posters advertising the newly-opened Moulin Rouge, so it is hard to think of Montmartre without one of the images he painted springing to mind.
How about you? Have you visited Montmartre?