Perched on the hill in the North of Paris, Montmartre is a charming historic neighbourhood with postcard views (#instagramable), an artistic vibe, and a rebellious soul. It was made famous by artists and writers who flocked here in the late 19th — early 20th centuries, attracted by its rustic simplicity, cheap wine, and unbeatable rents. Montmartre has been the cradle of the modern art, from Impressionism to Cubism.
This former remote and unruly village, attached to Paris belatedly, has held on to an independent spirit not visible at first glance. To discover its authentic and picturesque charm, you have to step of the beaten path and immerse yourself in its history. One has to earn Montmartre, but it’s worth the effort.
The Private Walking Tour of Montmartre
We will visit the most popular sites of this legendary quarter: the Sacré-Cœur Basilica and Place du Tertre with its artists and easels. We will climb its steep steps and sloping cobble-stone streets. We will admire, from the very top of the hill, the famous view of Paris.
But above all else, it’s the hidden side of these legendary locations that will reveal the bohemian soul of Montmartre. The neighbourhood’s painters revolutionized art: Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, Picasso, Modigliani, and Utrillo. The spirit of ’la Butte’ (‘the Hill’) is always there at their favorite spots: Le Moulin de la Galette, the ‘cabaret of murderers’, the artists’ first squatting site. There’s a vineyard here, the last one in Paris, little-known private gardens, and a forgotten castle, not to mention breathtaking tree-lined squares and paved passageways. What better scene to tell the stories of Picasso’s and his gang’s daily life?
We will also catch a glimpse of Montmartre’s earlier past. In 250 AD, Saint Denis, the first Bishop of Paris and future patron saint of the French kings, was martyrized here by the Romans. Beheaded, he picked up his head and kept walking through Montmartre… or so the legend says! For sure, an important monastery was founded here later, in the 12th century; we’ll visit its only remaining vestige, the church of St. Pierre. Closer to our times, the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur, built in the early 20th century, keeps the tragic memories of the Siege of Paris and the Paris Commune.
Foodie Highlights of Montmartre
Penniless artists might have gone hungry in the heyday of Montmartre… You don’t have to! The neighbourhood is packed with pastry shops, bakeries, cheese shops — or should we say, small temples to the glory of 100+ varieties of just goat cheese?.. Not to mention the iconic grocery shop featured in the movie Amélie from Montmartre and arguably the best macaroons in Paris, tucked away in a little quiet street. Gourmet heritage is part of Montmartre‘s local culture!