Visit to Montmartre in Paris

It is easy to identified Montmartre only with the very touristy place, the Sacro Coeur church, one of the symbols of Paris. However, that is not it, on a close look, in Montmartre you can find a bit of everything: from the thousands of tourists of Place du Tertre, to the glimpses of Renoire’s paintings, to the modern portraitists who approach you on the street; from courteous and helpful Parisians to the less friendly and quite snobbish ones who only speak to you in French; up to the signs of the economic crisis that France is also experiencing.

Montmartre is located in the 18th arrondissment and is the only hill in Paris: it is no coincidence that the French call it “La Butte” and until the beginning of the last century it was characterized by vineyards and windmills.

There is plenty of small and bigger Hotels, mainly located almost at the foot of the hill, in the north of Paris: looking up you can see, imposing, the dome of the Sacro Coeur but to get there it is necessary a walk of at least 15 minutes uphill.

It is a pleasant experience walking through the streets and admiring the art noveau buildings, the Town Hall, the Notre Dame de Cignancourt church, the numerous cafes, boulangeries, supermarkets (such as the G20, popular with the locals) and various shops (the Manga Space comic book-bookshop is delightful); discovering the small gardens that characterize every corner of Paris.

In this area of Paris there is lots of businesses run by foreigners, including minimarket and coffee, a sign of the strong presence of immigrants who have managed to integrate into the social fabric, at least from the point of view of work.

For a sightseeing tour of Montmartre, without getting too tired, you can also use the little train, which allows you to see the most characteristic places.

Montmartre in pictures

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To reach the basilica you can take the Paris metro up to Abesses (also known for being the only one to still have the iron structure of the 1900s), and from here go up on foot, using the central stairways, or going up from the side streets (the first time in Paris in 2005 I used this route). For the lazy, it is possible to use the funicular (which you take at Place ST Pierre).

Admission to the Sacro Coeur is free: the church was built beginning in 1876 following the Franco-Prussian war, in homage to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but it was only finished in 1914. Beware because inside it is not possible to take photos and surveillance is quite strict!

Nearby the Sacre Coeur, you can venture into the delightful alleys that surround it, very touristy with souvenir shops and T-shirts everywhere: in summer they are literally stormed.

If you want to have a snack and don’t want to be bled by the cafes in the area, lookout for the small garden located in Rue de Mont Censis, just behind the Sacro Coeur: ideal for eating a sandwich calmly out of the chaos of the main streets.

Not far away is the Place du Tertre, which is known for hosting an impressive number of street artists: many are painters, ready to create portraits or caricatures for you; and some other various artists that are definitely worth a look.

If you have time and your legs haven’t had enough of standing and walking then you could check out the Montmartre Museum. In there you will get to know the history of the Butte whom was reconstructed inside also because the building is one of the oldest in the area.

The Museum is located in Rue Contort, the setting is suggestive because it really seems to enter a beautiful 17th century house: outside are the Renoire gardens, where the painter set three of his paintings: Bal du moulin de la Galette; La Balançoire; Le Jardin de la rue Cortot It is fun to identify the exact points (as indicated) portrayed in the painter’s paintings.

We hope you enjoy your day out in Paris and look forward to welcome you all with Bzzgetaway.

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