One landmark that draws me back every time I visit Paris is the Sacre Coeur Basilica and the iconic Montmartre neighborhood that surrounds it. For a perfect day to begin your adventure in Paris, visit Sacre Coeur perched on top of Montmartre overlooking the entire city of Paris and beyond. Completed in 1914, Sacre Coeur is a Roman Catholic church that is free to visit and where religious masses are still held frequently. Inside and outside, it is stunning.
From the fabulous stained glass and sculptures to the various crypts and chapels to explore, there is so much to see and appreciate but the centerpiece is the dome, which, according to Wikipedia, symbolises the celestial world, resting upon a rectangular space, symbolising the terrestrial world. The two are joined by massive columns, which represent the passage between the two worlds. If you don’t mind walking up a lot (300+) steps, you can climb the Dome for a spectacular view. Note: no elevator.
Paris is made up of neighborhoods aka arrondissements. Montmartre is located on top of a large hill (430 feet hight) in the northern 18th arrondissement on the Right Bank of the Seine. This area is known for its artistic history and stunning views and was established as a historic district by the City of Paris in 1995. Start your visit at the Montmartre Museum Organisation d’évènement au Musée de Montmartre à Paris (museedemontmartre.fr), which is in the house where Pierre-Auguste Renoir once lived. Other famous artists such as Edgar Degas and Pablo Picasso lived and were inspired by this beautiful area. As you walk around Montmartre today, you can watch painting in action by the many artists with their easels set up on the streets. Perhaps a souvenir to take home and hang on your wall as a reminder of your wonderful trip? We’ve bought artwork before when we travel and love seeing it daily as a reminder of our journey. You can pick up a cardboard tube at local art supply stores to carry your treasure home safely.
Plan to spend some quality time just wandering around Montmartre. Include a meal at a café in the main square Place du Tertre and walk Rue de l’Abreuvoir street, one of the oldest and prettiest streets in Paris. Walk by, take a picture, and stop for a meal or aperitif at legendary institutions like La Maison Rose and Le Consultat on rue Norvins, which has hosted famous artists such as Dali and Toulouse-Lautrec. Take in the sunset with the crowd at the Sacre Coeur steps and end with a cabaret show at Accueil – English | AU LAPIN AGILE (au-lapin-agile.com), Paris’s oldest bar/cabaret since 1860.
Downhill (many steps!) from Montmartre and to the southwest is the Pigalle neighborhood, the home of the Moulin Rouge club. Even if you don’t spring for a night at the club (show with drinks and/or dinner), walk by and take some pictures of this iconic Paris institution. I haven’t made it to the Moulin Rouge show yet but am planning to include it on the Girls Trip 2023 agenda.
GETTING AROUND SACRE COEUR AND MONTEMARTRE
After the Eiffel Tower, this is one of the most popular tourist destinations so plan your visit accordingly. Come at the end of the day for a stunning sunset view or early in the morning to avoid the crowds. Up to you!
I didn’t take one but there are lots of walking tours of Montmartre: Montmartre Walking Tour: Paris’ Best Art, Culture and Food 2023 (viator.co. Maybe next trip!
We’ve stayed at various ARBNBs in this area. Our latest stay was at a one bedroom just downhill in a cozy nighborhood with lots of boulangeries, cafes, and shops. ARBNBs are very affordable compared to hotels in Paris-about $200 USD a night depending on when you go vs. a nice hotel costing $400+. Always look for a “super host” and lots of good reviews plus a great cancel policy before you book any ARBNB. These are ones I’ve stayed at and enjoyed:
Charming 1 bedroom apartment in Montmartre – Apartments for Rent in Paris, Île-de-France, France – Airbnb
MONTMARTRE – PARIS – Cocooning flat (airbnb.com)
Sacre Coeur is accessible by bus or metro line 2 at Anvers station. Sacré-Cœur Basilica is open from 06:00 to 22:30 every day and the dome is accessible from 10:00 to 19:00.
Montmartre is served by Métro, with Line 2 stations at Barbès–Rochechouart, Anvers, Pigalle and Blanche, Line 4 stations at Château Rouge and Barbès–Rochechouart, as well as Line 12 stations at Pigalle, Abbesses, Lamarck–Caulaincourt (one of the most photographed metro stations because of it’s iconic Parisian charm) and Jules Joffrin. It is also served by the Montmartre Funicular, operated by the RATP, ascends the hill from the south while the Montmartre bus circles the hill. (Wikipedia)
One thought on “Paris-Sacre Coeur and Montmartre”
The Sacre Coeur is also one of my absolute favourite sights to visit when I am in Paris- I love sitting on the steps and just looking out over the magnificent city. Such a breathtaking landmark! 💕