Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Savoyes do Montmartre...

It's a hill. It's a village. It's old and oh, so hip. Bienvenue à Montmartre!

Once an old suburb of Paris favored by starving artists, Montmartre remains a unique neighborhood, well worth a visit. It is slightly out of the way, so it's best to save at least half a day to enjoy the sights. Le Husband and I had not been there in a couple of years. The sun was shining this morning, and Junior is staying with his grand-parents and his cousins for a few days. Allons-y!

Les touristes

Some travel guides will tell you to skip Montmartre because it is "touristy". Maybe so, especially on the top of the hill, around the famous Sacré-Coeur cathedral... I always tell my students to skip eateries in that area altogether, unless they are prepared for an overpriced, tasteless meal. Even crêpes are bad there, and how hard is it to make good crêpes-- seriously?

Tourism is alive and booming in Montmartre!

The best way to enjoy Montmartre is to go early, before the big crowds arrive. You should always start at the bottom of the hill, near the Abbesses square, and walk your way up. Some of you may recognize the streets where "Amélie", a famous French movie with Audrey Tautou, was shot in 2001. You will not believe how incredibly quaint that neighborhood can be, just a few minutes away from the busy Right Bank. Le Husband shot away, of course, and I thought I would show you what I like best about this very special place. First, one has to deserve Montmartre. The streets are very steep! True, there is a funicular that may help you a bit, but you will mostly have to hoof it if you want to make it to the cathedral.  Case in point:

Stairs! Lots of stairs! 

The funicular will only help you so much, as you get closer to the top of the hill...

After all your hard work, you will be rewarded handsomely. As you walk your way up, you will find treasures: quaint restaurants, old shops,  and trendy boutiques.

Chez Antoine et Lili-- trendy and très joli!

Finally, as you reach the top, be prepared for the best view in Paris!

Zinc rooftops 

Next, meet your own little vineyard, that sits on top of the Butte Montmartre. It only produces a few bottles of very shabby wine that are auctioned off to benefit local charities in the fall.

Le vineyard. Today was the first time I have ever seen it covered in snow!

Do not forget to visit the famous Sacré-Coeur Cathedral. It may not be the most elegant structure in Paris, but it is over 125 years old, and the view from the top is amazing. Once there, have your picture taken on the steps in front of the church.

Sacré-Coeur Basilica
This concludes our guided visit of Montmartre. Thank you for taking this tour with us! 

Your guides, Veronique and Le Husband/photographer. 

A bientôt!


  1. What a fabulous post! Love the photos of the two of you~ You are so chic while touring the city - and Montmartre is one of my favorite places to visit!

  2. Can you believe some travel guides actually recommend to skip that neighborhood altogether? Shame on them!!!


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