Visit Montmartre And See A Different Side Of Paris

Visit Montmartre And See A Different Side Of Paris
Ellie
Ellie 
Updated

When thinking of Paris, the first thing that comes to mind is probably the Eiffel Tower, closely followed by the Arc de Triomphe or Notre Dame. However, when in Paris you must make sure you don’t miss the chance to spend some time in Montmartre, a hill in the northern part of the city that also gives its name to the surrounding area. Here you will be able to see one of Paris’ most famous churches, watch street artists earn their living and much more besides. It is the perfect place to spend a few peaceful hours.

Paris' most beautiful church

Sacre-Coeur

Montmartre’s crowing jewel has to be the Sacré-Cœur. Dating back to 1875, this beautiful white basilica rises like a giant wedding cake at the top of the hill that forms that highest point in Paris, showing itself off and giving an amazing view as you climb up towards it! Its many domes and towers are breathtaking, and its interior is equally impressive, with its high ceilings, stained glass windows and enormous mosaic mural above the altar. The basilica is free to enter, and for only a small fee you can access the crypt and the dome as well. Despite France’s secularism, the Sacré-Cœur is a reminder of the importance of Catholicism in its past, and today is a scene of tranquility inside one of the world’s most important cities.

Views right across Paris

Sacre Coeur view

When you have climbed the hill of Montmartre and made it to the Sacré-Cœur, don’t forget to turn around! The steps in front of the basilica offer an amazing view over Paris – and unlike the views from other attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, this view is completely free. Gaze out across this beautiful city with its distinctive buildings and see how many famous landmarks you can spot – or if the weather is nice take the chance to relax on the grass, with one of the city’s best views to keep you company!

Watch the artists in the central square

Montmartre square

However, the Sacré-Cœur and the view from its steps are only part of what Montmartre has to offer. While popular with tourists and locals alike, this area of Paris just does not feel like it’s part of a capital city. This creates a lovely relaxed atmosphere for you to be able to browse the famous flea markets while escaping from the hustle and bustle of the city below. Whether or not you are in the mood to buy, these markets are a must-see, as you can watch the artists creating their latest works right in front of you. There is such a wide range of art and other products to see, you could easily lose track of time while happily browsing!

Paris' best pastries

Eclairs

A trip to Paris would not be complete without sampling local food, such as famous French desserts and pastries, and in this aspect Montmartre will not let you down. The colourful and winding streets provide an idyllic place to wander around, and what better way to keep your energy levels up than by enjoying a macaron or éclair as you walk? In Montmartre you will easily be able to find anything you could wish for, from chocolate shops to gelato to bakeries.

Have your portrait painted!

Painting a portrait

Finally, if you would like a souvenir from your trip, why not stop and ask to have your portrait drawn? Montmartre is the perfect place; nowhere else in the city will you find so many skilled street artists all together just waiting for you! You can easily wander and browse the different styles available before taking your pick – a pencil drawing, a painting or even a caricature will all be easy to find. Most artists will offer very reasonable prices and some may even be willing to negotiate. On the other hand, if you’re more like me and posing in public would make you feel self-conscious, there is nothing more relaxing than enjoying a coffee in the streets surrounding the main square and watching the artists work. Being able to watch these skilled painters create picture after picture without paying a penny is an experience not to be missed.

Don't miss Montmartre

Spending time in Montmartre should be on the list of every visitor to Paris. Don’t simply come to see the Sacré-Cœur and climb back down again; stay and enjoy the simple pleasures that this historical area has to offer. Whether you leave with a portrait, a pastry or simply photos, you will also leave with happy memories and an impression of how different the regions of Paris can be.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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I’m Ellie, I’m 22 and I spent the first 18 years of my life in Portsmouth, UK, before doing a languages degree in Exeter. I spent time in Santiago de Compostela and Valencia on my year abroad, and...Read more

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