Le Moulin de la Galette restaurant in Montmartre, Paris
Montmartre is known as one of Paris’ prettiest neighbourhoods and it's not hard to see why. Keep reading to find out some of the best things to do in Paris' Montmartre, and why you should add it to your Paris itinerary.
Montmartre has a distinctly different feel to the rest of Paris and has a similar feel to some of the cute villages in the Provence region of France. This is because up until 1860, it was its own village, completely separate from Paris! In 1860, as part of a wider expansion plan for the city of Paris, Montmartre became part of the city and known as the 18th arrondissement.
Montmartre tops the list for one of the must-see places in Paris. It's beauty and charm is the reason that the once-village was such an inspiration to many artists and why, today Montmartre is used in many TV shows and films.
Looking for what else to do in Paris? Check out these 15 must-see places to visit in Paris.
You can easily see the best of Montmartre in half a day (I would recommend afternoon so you can stay and watch the sunset). Read on to see 8 of the best things to do in Montmartre in an afternoon.
How to spend an afternoon in Montmartre - 8 of the best things to do
1. Visit the Sacre-Coeur Basilica
The Sacre-Coeur is a beautiful domed basilica sat on the mound of Montmartre. You can go inside the basilica for free, or just enjoy the view of Paris from the hill. The Sacre-Coeur is one of the best things to see in Paris, and it's a great place to start exploring the neighbourhood of Montmatre as it sits at the highest point.
2. Watch the sunset over Paris on Montmartre mound
The Butte Montmartre (mound of Montmartre) is the highest point in Paris. In the evening on a clear day, crowds will flock to the Sacre-Coeur to watch the sunset over the city.
Watching the sunset over Paris from the Sacre-Coeur, Montmartre
3. Wander Montmartre's pretty cobbled streets
Montmartre has been used in many films and TV shows due to its quaint cobbled streets and cute houses. Wander away from the busy restaurants and shops on the mound and down the side streets for that village-feel.
Some of the most beautiful spots in Montmartre include the famous La Moulin de la Galette, a French restaurant housed in an old mill and La Maison Rose, which is perhaps one of the most instagrammable photo spots in Montmartre. The pretty pink restaurant of La Maison Rose sits at the top of the equally pretty Rue de l'Abreuvoir - you may recognise this street from the TV show Emily in Paris! It is one of the most instagrammable spots in Montmartre!
The pretty streets of Montmartre, Paris
4. Enjoy lunch in a cafe
There are so many cafes and restaurants in Montmartre, you are spoilt for choice. Whether you want to enjoy a leisurely meal or a quick coffee, it's the perfect place to soak up the atmosphere in Paris' prettiest neighbourhood.
5. Have a picnic on Butte Montmartre
Visiting Paris on a budget? There are several takeaway kiosks and small shops at the base of the grassy mound, so grab yourself a pastry or baguette and enjoy a picnic sat on the mound with the Sacre-Coeur behind you and views across Paris in front of you.
6. Treat yourself to something sweet
After the walk up the mound, you deserve a treat, and there are several places that serve delicious crepes or gelato. So, grab yourself something sweet and enjoy!
Enjoying a picnic on Butte Montmartre
7. Explore Montmartre's full neighbourhood
Many people will stick to the small streets around Butte-Montmartre and the Sacre-Coeur, however, the area of Montmartre is much bigger than that, and there's lots to explore. If you are in Paris for a few days and you have a bit more time, I would really recommend spending longer in Montmartre to really explore the wider area.
8. Visit the Place du Tertre
In the centre of Montmartre's bustling old cobbled streets is a small square alive with street artists. It is one of Montmartre's most iconic scenes and serves as almost an open-air art gallery - definitely worth seeing for yourself!
I would definitely recommend spending a few hours in Montmartre, it is really very pretty, but be warned, you won't be alone! Sadly, like all good things, it has become quite a tourist attraction and it does get very busy, especially in the cobbled streets at the top of Montmartre, close to the Sacre-Coeur basilica. However, don't let this put you off, it's still beautiful and definitely should be added to your Paris itinerary.
La Place du Tertre and one of Montmartre's pretty cobbled streets, Paris
Top tips for visiting Montmartre, Paris
Make sure you get the most out of your visit to Montmartre with these top tips...
If you want instagrammable photos without the crowds, go very early! We initially arrived at the Sacre-Coeur around midday, before heading into the cobbled streets at the top of the hill. It was a bit hectic as the cafes and bars were really busy with lunchtime guests. Bad planning on my part to be honest, but I did manage to grab a couple of nice photos once I headed away from the bars and down the side streets.
For the best photo of the Sacre -Coeur, stay on the grass or steps below. This does mean that you’ll have to walk up the hill to visit inside afterwards, but it's worth it! The crowds around the base of the Sacre-Coeur are much busier early evening, as everyone comes here to watch the sunset over the city, so I would suggest earlier in the day is the best time to get clearer photos of the basilica.
Venture further afield. There's much more to Montmartre than the few streets at the top of the hill. The whole neighbourhood of Montmartre is worth a stroll around and there's so many more cafes and restaurants to be found!
Montmartre is cobbled and hilly so go for comfy shoes - Your feet will thank you!
Be prepared for crowds and souvenir shops. Don’t be fooled by the picture-perfect photos, as with all popular places, there will be tourists and with tourists come souvenir shops and lots of cafes and restaurants. It is still a charming, beautiful neighbourhood, even when it’s busy and I would thoroughly recommend it, just manage your expectations beforehand, and maybe go earlier than I did!
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