From almost anywhere in Paris you can look up and spot the Sacré Coeur watching over the city. This beautiful basilica whose name means sacred heart has become the emblem of Montmarte, one of the most enchanted neighborhoods of Paris.
It seems all winding cobblestone streets in Montmartre lead to the Sacré Coeur. Follow them there and along the way you will see why Montmartre is such a special place. The metro exits at Abbesses through the original Guimard structure the artist designed in the Belle Époque. Tucked between beautiful old mansions, you’ll find little ateliers and galleries selling the works of the many artists that have made Montmartre home for its inspiring qualities. They seem to congregate at the famous Place du Tertre, where you’ll find many willing to paint your portrait. With the climb to the top of the hill there are vantage points in every direction offering sweeping views, including sights of the old windmills still standing today in this neighborhood. They were once used to grind flour and press local grapes, but today they are simply treasured historical monuments. Montmartre does however still have a vineyard! Imagine that…a vineyard in Paris!
You may have seen some of this iconic neighborhood on the big screen in famous French films like Amelie, or moments in Montmartre captured by painters like Vincent Van Gogh and his famous painting Le Moulin de la Galette. If you find yourself there, here are some of my favorite spots I recommend you visit…
• La Maison Rose, 2 Rue de l’Abreuvoir — This darling little pink house with green shutters on the corner of one of the cutest streets in Montmartre is a darling place to stop in for a bowl of French onion soup!
• Tombées du Camion, 17 Rue Joseph de Maistre — This quirky little shop’s name translates to “what fell off the truck” which is fitting considering inside you’ll find a mix of the most random vintage objects. From old eyeglasses, to fun old games, to beads, there are many treasures to be found here!
• Refuge des Fondus, 17 Rue des Trois Frères — The Refuge des Fondus is a dining experience unlike any other perfect for large groups. This place is all about fondu, and you won’t go home hungry. Dinner is served with your choice of red or white wine in baby bottles for an extra kitsch touch.
• Spree, 16 Rue la Vieuville — Spree is one of my favorite clothing stores in Paris, and just happens to be found in Montmartre. They carry a gorgeous selection of apparel, accessories, and even a few home objects and art from the best French creators.
• Belle du Jour, 7 Rue Tardieu — Belle du Jour is a precious little shop specializing in beautiful hand painted perfume bottles and unique scents.
• Montmartre Carousel, 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre — At the foot of the Sacré Coeur, this beautiful old carousel is the most whimsical corner of Montmartre.
• Clos Montmartre, Rue des Saules — This secret vineyard is still hardly known, and a remnant of an earlier era of Montmartre in which this quartier was actually located outside the city limits and covered in vines.
• La Mascotte, 52 Rue des Abbesses — Whenever I’m in the neighborhood with friends, I love to pop into this traditional French brasserie for some oysters and white wine.