Exiting your appartment,
you are inside Montmartre, which is without a doubt, one of the
most picturesque and historic areas of Paris. Name was probably
derived from martyrs killed in the area around AD 250 (latin: mons
19th century was responsible for making
the area what it is today. Til 1860, Montmartre was an independent
municipality, and was incorporated into the city to become part
of what is now the 18th arrondissement.
During much of this time Paris was the
artistic center of the world, andartists, sculptors and writers
moved into the area because of its proximity to the center of Paris,
and its cheap rents. The artist's community gave rise to cafes,
studios and cabarets, which helped give Montmartre its somewhat
Because of its topography, Montmartre
escaped the urban renewal that today gives the rest of Paris its
famous boulevards. The hill has had its share of turbulent times,
too. The famous uprising of 1870, known as the "La Commune
de Paris" started with the shooting of two army officers in
rue du Chevalier de la Barre. At this period Montmartre was known
as "La Butte Rouge". Today, Montmartre remains just a
little bit isolated and different from the rest of Paris and keeps
a lot of its unique character.
Montmartre has sights you would not
expect to find in the heart of a huge city. It is well-known for
its Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, its picturesque windmills and
its vineyard. The windmills have featured in dozens of paintings,
and the most famous one, the Moulin Rouge, still spins its red neon
sails every night. The other two windmills are both further up the
The Moulin de la Galette (75 Rue Lepic) is the older of the two,
built in 1622, and the subject of one of Renoirs' more well known
paintings.The Moulin Radet (83 Rue Lepic) is now part of a restaurant,
and is the more photogenic. You can have a dinner inide or outside.
You have to go to to the Museum of Montmartre
(12, rue Cortot), to know this and much more.
A short distance away is the last remaining
vineyard in Paris, a tribute to the days when Montmartre had many
vineyards and supplied most of the wine to Paris (Rue St. Vincent).
The vineyard produces about 500 bottles of red wine every year,
and on the first Saturday in October every year, there is a party
and parade in celebration of the harvest – you can go if you
happen to be in Paris at that time. It has been said however that
the wine is more noted for its nostalgic value than its drinkability!
The wine is not cheap to buy,and the taste in not a 'premier cru',
but if you are here at that time, you have to be there.
Montmartre has long been famous for
its artists, bohemian types and hangers-on. In the 19th century
it attracted painters and sculptors because of its low rents and
proximity to Paris, beetween them Van Gogh, Utrillo, Pissaro and
You can still see a number of the houses and studios where they
created some of the most famous paintings in the world. Many individual
buildings and streets still look much the same as when they painted
A good place to start any artistic tour
of Montmartre is the Place Emile-Goudeau on the south slope of the
butte (knoll, or hill, in French), a short walk away from the Abbesses
metro station. At no. 13 is the Bateau-Lavoir, a small art studio
that many artists, including Picasso and Modigliani once called
home. Here, Picasso painted Les Desmoiselles d'Avignon.
Another building of artistic interest
close to here is the building where Picasso had his first studio
in Paris (49 rue Gabrielle).
A few minutes walk downhill, 54 rue
Lepic, you can see the rather drab-looking apartment building where
Vincent Van Gogh lived for several years in the 1880's . Further,
75 rue Lepic, the house where the surrealist painter Max Ernst lived
. No sign on these buildings, nothing to indicate the buildings'
Towards the top of the Butte,2 rue de
l'Abreuvoir, you can still find the ‘Pink House' the subject
of one of Utrillo's most famous paintings, now a restaurant. Further
along on rue Cortot, at no. 12, you can see how that same café
looked back in the days when Utrillo and his friends drank there:
the atmospher remain intact.
Another museum that is worth a visit
is the “Espace Salvador Dali”. This small museum tucked
away on a street on the front of the butte, shows some drawings
and sculptures by Dali.
The artists are still in Montmartre
but these days, they can be found on the Place du Tertre, hunched
over easels and trying to earn a living from the tourists. You may
find the square crowded, but in fact the quantities of art for sale
are regulated — 2 paintings per square meter! Here you may
have to fend off the unwanted attentions of dozens of ‘quick-draw'
portrait painters, who just won't take no for an answer. But away
from the tourist-filled plazza, down some of the more picturesque
side streets, you can still feel the spirit of some of the greatest
names in art.
Farer (but not too much)
Metro Anvers, a 30 second walk from the S-apartment and 5 minutes
from M-apartment, will take you directly to the Champs Elysees in
Metro takes you through Place de la Concorde, Louvre Museum (look
for Da Vinci code) and Eifel tower within 7 - 10 minutes.
also takes you through Chatelet, Notre-Dame de Paris (the center
of Paris) (watch for Esmeralda !), and quartier latin, with Sorbonne
but not least, you could reach in a 1 hour journey Eurodisney or
Versailles, where all last king of France lived, just before the
Revolution of 1789.
See metro map on this site.