Montmartre - Self Guided Walking Tour (Paris)

London & Paris Day 8 Part 2 (Click here to return to the London & Paris Travelogue)
In this post, I will be covering:
- Montmartre

If you missed any of the parts

Click here for Day 8 Part 1 - Marché Cours de Vincennes
Click here for Day 8 Part 3 - Galeries Lafayette & Palais Garnier
Click here for Day 8 Part 4 - Flying back to Singapore via Zurich
One of the many stairs up Montmartre

After visiting Marché Cours de Vincennes near the hotel I stayed at, my family decided to visit Montmartre. Montmartre is Paris's highest and most northerly hill. Montmartre is 130 metres high and the surrounding area is named after it's name. Located at the summit of butte (isolated hill with steep, often vertical sides and a small relatively flat top) is the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur (English: Basilica of the Scared Heart of Paris), a Roman Catholic church. Historically, artists have been attracted to Montmarte since Renior and Toulouse-Lautrec immortalised the cabarets here in the 19th century. I used the Paris Montmartre- Self-Guided Walking Tour by Paris48. The guide is comprehensive as you will cover all the important sights of Montmarte and I strongly recommend you to use it! The walk will take approximately 2-3 hours, covering 2km from Lamarck- Caulaincourt Metro station to Abbesses Metro Station.

Using the guide, we started of from Lamarch-Caulaincourt Metro Station (Line 12, dark green) This is definitely the best way to visit Montmartre as you avoid all the "friendship bracelet" hawkers and pickpockets. This allowed us to enjoy the beautiful scenery, quiet cobbled streets and less common tourists attractions. 



Place Dalida


We first arrived at the Place Dalida. This is when you start to notice Paris's graffiti problem. Paris has been doing their best to fight such vandalism. There is even a mobile phone app that called DansMaRue that allows smartphones users to take photos of rubbish, graffiti or other problems to be highlighted to the city council. No offense to any graffitists as the one done on Dalida's statue is neither "creative "or "imaginative". However, there are some graffiti that is worthy of being called street art. 

You maybe wondering, who is Dalida? Dalida's actual name is Yolanda Critina Gigliotti. She is the most awarded showbiz French singer and ranks among the sixth most popular singers in the world. Click here to listen to some of her songs! Unfortunately, she committed suicide in 1987 and a life-size statue of her was erected.
Place of Dalida
The streets of Montmartre are extremely beautiful. This is Rue de l'Aubrevoir where you can see Maison Rose at the end of the street!

Rue de l'Aubrevoir


La Maison Rose


La Maison Rose is a restaurant which was the subject of a lithograph by Maurice Utrillo. The restaurant was not opened during our visit. I have read reviews of the place being an art history connection where Picasso frequented.
Maison Rose
A van which is a victim of Graffiti!
Random van that has been vandalised


Le Clos Montmartre


Walking down Rue des Saules, we saw vines of Montmartre's very own vineyard. (4. Le Clos Montmartre). The vineyard dates from 1932 and produces just over 1500 bottles of pinot noir and gamay. The only time you can visit the vineyard without a group tour is during the annual Fête des Vendanges—the harvest festival. 

Le Close Montmartre


Au Lapin Agile


Just across the road from Le Close Montmartre is Au Lapin Agile, the oldest bar/cabaret in Paris. Picasso, UItrillo and Modigilani were patrons at one time. The cabaret was at that time, a new form of art where writers, poets, musicians, comedians, painters, sculptors were united and critiquing one another. In 1905, Picasso gave his famous painting "At the Lapin Agile" to the cabaret, where in Picasso is represented as a harlequin and Freae (bar owner) plays the guitar. In 1912, Frede sold it for twenty dollars. In 1989, it was auctioned at Sotheby's for 41 million dollars. It opens on Tuesday to Sunday, from 9pm to 1 am. A show with a drink cost 28€. 
Au Lapin Agile
Walking towards Parc Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet via Rue Saint-Vincent. Check out the nice little cars.

This guide is great for those who aren't good with stairs as the route taken is mostly gentle slopes! Look at how tall the place is!
Stairs


Parc Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet


Parc Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet, officially known as the Square Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet is a small but charming park in Montmartre. Located right behind the Sacré Coeur Basilica, the site was once occupied the Moulin de Turlure (Wind Mill), one of more than 30 windmills that once stood on the Montmartre hill. We will be seeing a windmill later in this walking guide.
Backview of Sacré Coeur from Parc Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet
While you are at Parc Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet, you can use the public toilet over here. Make sure you wait for awhile each time someone uses it as the toilet will self-clean itself! Look carefully at the lights. When it is green, it means its ready to be used. Yellow is when it is still being washed and Red indicates that there is someone using the toilet.
Public Toilets
Well, I guess those cars are invincible or the no parking sign just isn't large enough.
Illegally Parked Cars


Basilique du Sacré Coeur


Sacré Coeur Basilica is a catholic church and is a popular destination for its stunning panoramas of Paris as well as its religious services. Construction began in 1875 as a message of penitence, trust, hope and faith (Military defeat of France by Prussians in 1870) and was completed in 1914. You could climb 300-step to the basilica's dome for the 2nd highest viewpoint of the city (The highest being the Eiffel Tower). Time was tight and we decided to give it a miss. Instead we visited the interior of the church which is open daily from 06:00am to 10:30pm (Free). There is no filming or photography inside the Basilica. However, you could get souvenir albums and perpetual prayer.

Basilique du Sacré Coeur
The interior is dim and rather gloomy. Photos are allowed as long as you take them from outside the gates of the Basillica.
Interior of Sacré Coeur
The views from the the steps of Sacré Coeur were spectacular. I can't imagine how much more beautiful the view would be from the top of Sacré Coeur.
Views from the the steps of Sacré Coeur


Église Saint-Pierre de Montmartre


Next to Sacré Coeur is Église Saint-Pierre de Montmartre, one of the oldest churches in Paris. The church building was reconsecrated by Pope Eugenius III in 1147, on top of the ruins of a 3rd-century chapel consecrated to Saint Denis, the first bishop of Paris (in year 250 ), who was martyred on Montmartre hill and buried in Catolacus.  Saint Denis was said to have picked his head up being decapitated and walked 10 killometers, and preached a sermon. A statute of Saint Denis holding his head can be seen on the arch of the left door of Notre Dame. (Link to photo will be up once the I have finish typing the Notre Dame)
Église Saint-Pierre de Montmartre


Place du Tertre


Directly opposite Église Saint-Pierre de Montmartre is Place du Tertre. This is probably one of the most touristy spots in all of Paris! Filled with buskers and portrait artists, it was originally the main square of the village of Montmartre. Be careful of overly flattery painters as there is no free paintings over here. Just say "Non, merci" to reject them. If you do intend to get your photos taken, walk around to find an artist of your choice and agree on the price before starting! I did not get my picture drawn as it would take 30 minutes to an hour! Make sure you do have the time. For oil paintings, you could walk out of the square to the neighbouring streets for better prices.
Place du Tertre
Some of the nice art works done by the artists at Place du Tertre.
Paintings
As aforementioned, you can get a self-portrait but do bargain and agree on a price before starting on your one-of-a-kind souvenir. Check out the artist who did an excellent job painting his own self portrait!

Le Poulbot is one of the restaurant near Place du Tretre. You could dine here as it is one of the recommended restaurants at Montmartre.

If you follow the path carefully, you will find shops selling posters of famous pictures. 1 for 6€ and 3 for 15€. Much cheaper as compared to Place du Tretre.
A shop selling posters


Le Passe Muraille


After the stroll out of the touristy Place du Tretre. We arrived at Le Passe Muraille. Le Passe-muraille translates to the Man Who Walked through Walls. It is based on a short story published by Marcel Ayme in 1943. The story starts with a man named Dutilleul who lived in Montmartre. He discovered that he possessed a strange ability to pass through walls. He seeked medical treatment but there was no progress. He began to use his ability to burgle banks and jewellery. In order to gain fame, he allowed himself to be caught in the act. After all, he could escape from the jail with his ability. Eventually, he grew tired of his fame and changed his appearance to avoid being recognised. Dutilleul eventually fell inlove with a married woman. He used his power to enter bedroom and spend the night with her while her husband is away. One morning, Dutilleul had a headache and took two pills he found at the bottom of his drawer. His headache went away but later that night, as he was leaving his lover's house, he noticed a some resistance as he was passing through the walls. It turned out the pills he took was the medicine his doctor prescribed for him. As he was passing through the final outer wall of the property, he noticed he was no longer able to move and Dutilleul ended trapped in the wall, where he remains to this day. (Story adapted from Wikipedia)

A pretty good story. Touching the left hand of the sculpture is believed to transfer some of his magical ability which explains why the left hand is more polished. Why don't you try it for yourself ;)
The Man Who Could Walk Through Walls. by Jean Marais


Moulin de la Galette


This windmill, built in 1622, was originally used to produce flour. It was later turned into a dancehall and frequented by many famous artists.
Moulin de la Galette
One of the many water fountains around Paris.
Water Cooler
You will pass by Saint-Jean-de-Montmartre, one of the first reinforced cement in church construction.
Saint-Jean-de-Montmartre


Le Mur des Je t'aimes


Our final stop of the Montmartre Guide, Le Mur des Je t'aimes, is a reminder that Paris is the city of lovers. Lovers all over the world come to this wall to read 311 versions of "I Love You" written in 250 languages. The most romantic place on earth.
Le Mur des Je T'Aimes (The "I Love You Wall")
Right smack in the middle is the English version. You can find the Chinese version on the right of the wall.
I love you


Abbesses Metro Station


This is one of the only two remaining Art Nouveau stations designed by Hector Guimard in Paris. The tour ends here and you are ready to head out for your next adventure! I hope you will have a great time like I did. Montmartre is definitely a beautiful place in Paris. Be careful of the Friendship Band scams, Gold Ring Scams, Painter scams and Pickpockets. Otherwise, enjoy.
Art Nouveau stations designed by Hector Guimard

The station platform
(Click here to return to the London & Paris Travelogue)

Click here for Day 8 Part 1 - Marché Cours de Vincennes
Click here for Day 8 Part 3 - Galeries Lafayette & Palais Garnier
Click here for Day 8 Part 4 - Flying back to Singapore via Zurich
 
Here is a map for Day 8 of my London & Paris Trip.
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About Haoming Koo

Koo Haoming. Founder of The Fat Chemist. Currently an undergrad at the National University of Singapore with a burning passion for science! Inspired to start a blog after reading the book, "Napoleon's Buttons, How 17 Molecules Changed History". The book fills the gap between Chemistry and History. Adapting the style of the book, posts written by me highlight the chemistry in the food we eat.
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