Paris Montmartre for newcomers

If you really want to feel like a regular tourist, the easiest way to visit Montmartre is to take a 40 minutes tour on the little city train.


You will take it place Blanche, and it will get you back there, next to the Moulin Rouge which is the last of Montmartre legendary cabarets.


The other ones no longer exist except on posters.


Another way to start visiting Montmartre could be to come to light at Metro Abbesses, on the lovely place des Abbesses,


If you don’t feel like walking all the way up, go the “funiculaire” station, and wait for it to come listening to the inevitable accordionist.


For a bus or metro ticket, it will take you up to the Sacré Coeur.


But you might as well walk around.


For example, take rue des Abbesses and rue d’Orsel, up to the charming place Charles Dullin, where the théâtre de l’Atelier stands, which besides being pretty and in a nice setting also often shows good plays.


Going up rue des trois Frères, you can stop for lunch or for a drink at the Progrès. If you can get a table, you’ll notice that some of the customers are French, and even Parisians, which is not the case of all Montmartre cafés.


Now you might feel strong enough to climb up the stairs, which is the hardest but the nicest way to get uphill.


Being on top of butte Montmartre,The Sacré-Coeur church is part of Paris scenery.


This huge white ugly church was built “to expiate the crimes of the communards “, number of which died on the spot, and in memory of French soldiers killed in the war against Prussians. Though it’s edification started in 1875, it was not finished until 1914, and consecrated only in 1919, and all the way it had a warlike, revenge, anti-German purpose, and I always think of it as unpleasant, though it’s very popular. But of course, sitting on the stairs back to it, you can’t see it, but you have a view on Paris.


I prefer to walk in the little garden below where stands a statue of Chevalier de la Barre, an unfortunate nineteen years old boy who got sentenced to death and tortured in 1766 for not taking his hat off in front of a procession. Voltaire wrote about this terrible case, and had to to run away to Switzerland not to be convicted of crime. French Revolution rehabilitated Chevalier de la Barre who has become ever since a symbol for all atheist groups.


Don’t bother to visit place du Tertre, it’s impossible even to look at it, for all space is completely filled with stalls selling junks and daubs and people offering to paint your portrait. I should advise you to refuse, and go by without stopping at any café or restaurant.


But close to it are lovely little quiet streets.


A peaceful public square with its strange statue of Saint-Denis holding his chopped head in his hands.


Place Marcel Aymé, Jean Marais carved version of the author’s “Passe Muraille“(Man getting through walls) seems ready to shoot in soccer ball.


It’s closed to wealthy and secured places.


At this Avenue Junot corner, film maker Claude Lelouch has opened “Cine 13, a place where you can show or look at films or theater plays, and have a drink.


If you look closer, you’ll discover on the wall this lovely art-deco figures mingled with branches.


Go back down by rue Ravignan and place Emile Goudeau where there is nothing left of the “Bateau Lavoir” where Picasso spent evenings with Max Jacob, Apollinaire and Douanier Rousseau. It’s a pretty place, though.


If you wish to feel what this long lost time of artists life in Montmartre was like, I strongly recommend you to read Dan Franck‘s “Bohèmes“, subtitle : “Modern Art adventurers (1900-1930)”.


I don’t know whether it has been translated in English, but it’s quiet easy to read in French. It’s available in paperback “livre de poche n°30695)

And go to the Orangerie Museum to look at Utrillo‘s ideal Montmartre.

utrilloplace-du-tertrejpg.jpgPlace du Tertre 1910

utrillorue-ravignan.jpgrue Ravignan 1910

“Petit train de Montmartre”everyday 10 to 18, one departure every hour place Blanche, tour 40′, see information at :

All about Moulin Rouge, programs and reservation at :

Théâtre de l’Atelier, 1 place Charles Dullin, 75018 Paris, Métro Anvers, tel 33 (0)1 46 06 49 24, programs and reservation at :

Café restaurant “le Progrès” 7 rue des 3 frères, 75018 Paris tel 33(0)142 51 33 33 Reservation 33(0)1 42 64 07 37

More about “Ciné 13” at :

And Montmartre has its website :


One response to “Paris Montmartre for newcomers

  1. Lovely way to guide a tourist to all those interesting place. Nontheless, I have to admit that I enjoyed very much watching the pictures at Place du Tertre, some artists have a lot of talent and my husband and I had a delicious lunch at “La Mére Catherine”, just in front of the square, we loved it, and after lunch , the “promenade” to Sacre Coeur. The view from there is fantastic. Congratulations for your site, it is wonderful to follow your notes looking at the pictures you attached. Beautiful !!!!

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