Things to do in Montmartre is one way to approach this area of the 18th arrondissement in Paris. With a list in hand of things to check off, climb one of the many staircases and get familiar with this bohemian district, Montmartre Paris.
But don’t forget the most critical element of the things to see in Montmartre Paris.
It’s not about the list.
It’s about breathing in the vibe that comes with this neighbourhood, Montmartre in Paris. Notice the wisteria and roses draping over stone houses. Stop and marvel at the uneven, ancient cobblestones underfoot. Sit on a bench and recall that the likes of artists such as Picasso, Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec once strolled along these very streets and sat in the cafés.
Play peek-a-boo with the Eiffel Tower.
Harness your inner “flâneur/ flâneuse” or wanderer. To “flâner” (pronounced: flan-ay) is to embrace a way of walking through Paris – to see and be seen and to observe local life. Meander solo in the City of Light or with a friend but what better place to stroll than Montmartre village in Paris?
I’ve got you covered with this list of 23 best things to do in Montmartre guide.
23 Best Things To See In Montmartre, Paris
1. Go Early Morning Exploring In Montmartre Paris
Montmartre in Paris buzzes during the day. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Paris and it is easy to see why. Cobbled streets, historic buildings, Place du Tertre where the artists paint, views of the city and the shining white basilica. Go early.
Parisians will be out with their dogs, jogging up and down endless stairs, chatting at corners and the artists are setting up before the crowds roll in. You might even have Montmartre Paris all to yourself!
2. Things To Do In Montmartre: Admire Sacré-Coeur
One of the unmissable things to do in Montmartre is its crowning glory, the Sacré Coeur Basilica. Gleaming white, it stands like a sentinel over Paris. Sacré-Coeur, in itself, is an experience and one that millions of visitors take part in each year. Walk up all the steps past picnickers on the lawn, buskers and the everpresent scammers. Turn and take in the panoramic views over Paris.
Enter Sacré-Coeur and marvel at the domes from within. Golden mosaics and angelic statues look down from above.
One of the most impressive things to see in Montmartre is the view from the dome of Sacré Coeur. Climb the spiral staircase with its 200 steps for a marvellous panorama over Paris.
3. Have A Portrait Drawn In Place du Tertre
One of the essential things to do in Montmartre Paris is to stop by the lively Place du Tertre. Artists, who can wait up to ten years to get a coveted spot here, chat by their easels’ blank canvasses ready for whoever comes their way. It’s easy to while away some time here and be mesmerized by artists generating portraits on the spot. Pull up a chair, perhaps it’s your day for a caricature or sketch.
TIP: This is one of the places to visit in Montmartre that is always crowded – watch out for pickpockets.
4. Visit Saint Pierre de Montmartre
When exploring Montmartre, you’ll see the back of Saint-Pierre de Montmartre, the oldest church in Montmartre, from Sacré-Coeur. Dating from the beginning of the 12th century, Saint Pierre de Montmartre is one of the oldest churches in all of Paris. For more than 600 years it was a centre of pilgrimage acting as both a parish church and part of the Abbey of the Benedictine Sisters of Montmartre. It is the only vestige of the ancient abbey that exists today.
Standing at the front of Saint-Pierre de Montmartre look left to see Paris’s oldest cemetery, the Cimetière du Calvaire. It only opens its bronze door to the public once a year, on November 1st. Peek through the gorgeous door and glimpse the tombs of illustrious citizens who lived centuries ago in Montmartre Paris.
5. Pull Up A Chair At Le Consulat
This coffee house and restaurant stand as a symbol of the old Montmartre neighbourhood. The building is one of the oldest houses on the Butte. Renowned artists such as Picasso, Sisley, Van Gogh, Toulouse- Lautrec and Monet all gathered here. Can you imagine?!
Even today, Le Consulat continues to inspire artists. It is definitely one of the places to see in Montmartre as it makes for a great photo. Go early in the morning to avoid crowds and get a table. Don’t go too early, like I did, as it doesn’t open until 11 a.m.
6. Things To Do In Montmartre: Marvel At La Maison Rose
One of the iconic places to see in Montmartre is the Pink House or La Maison Rose. Situated at the corner of Rue Aubrevoir and Rue des Saules, La Maison Rose has been serving coffee for over 100 years. This historic building has seen Picasso, Camus and other greats gather. The plaque on the side of Le Consulat indicates that the artist Maurice Utrillo was born here.
7. Eye The Vines At The Montmartre Vineyard
One of the most charming things to do in Montmartre is to take a peek at the Montmartre Vineyard, the Clos de Montmartre. It has been in operation since the 12th century when nuns and monks were in charge of making wine. Every year, the Montmartre vineyard produces a small amount of wine that is auctioned off for charity. Mark your calendar for the yearly wine festival in October.
Out early one summer day exploring Montmartre Paris in my “flâneuse” mode I noticed the gate to the vineyard ajar. I asked the gardener if I could step in and take a few pictures unencumbered by the fence. And just like that, I was in the secret vineyard in the Montmartre area of Paris.
8. Visit Saint-Vincent Wild Garden
One of the most hidden things to do in Montmartre is the Jardin Sauvage Saint-Vincent. Right beside the Montmartre vineyard, the Saint-Vincent Wild Garden is one of two protected wild gardens in Paris. Since 1985 it has been left alone to grow with unfettered abandon. Birds and natural plants apparently thrive. It is closed to the public except by guided tour on the first Sunday of every month at 10:30 and the third Wednesday at 14:30.
Pro Paris Tip: The other wild, garden in Paris is the Jardin Naturel Pierre Emmanuel in the 20th arrondissement.
9. Attend A Cabaret At The Lapin Agile
If you are wondering what to do in Montmartre Paris why not consider an evening cabaret? Montmartre was known for its cabarets by the end of the 19th century. Au Lapin Agile Cabaret has been a popular cabaret since 1860 and still to this day entertains guests with songs, music and poetry. Be prepared to sing along with some old French favourites if you can get a ticket.
There’s that white rabbit jumping out of the pot holding a bottle of wine! Originally painted by André Gill in 1875, the rabbit (le lapin) and the name are still going strong today.
10. Drop By Le Musée de Montmartre
For art lovers, one of the best things to do in Montmartre is to visit the museum. The Montmartre Museum, housed in one of the oldest houses in Montmartre, is a place where artists including Utrillo and Renoir, once lived. The garden holds a version of the swing, where Renoir painted his famous painting “Le Balancoire.”
11. Wander In Cimetière St- Vincent
When you visit Montmartre, you may want a few quiet minutes. You’ll find them in the charming St. Vincent Cemetery. Wander and find the artist Utrillo’s resting place. He was born in the Montmartre neighbourhood and portrayed the area in many of his paintings. Unleash your inner “flâneuse” here. There are plenty of locals paying their respects or having a picnic in the shade. If you love wandering cemeteries, here’s how to visit the most famous Paris cemetery, Père Lachaise.
12. Things To Do In Montmartre: Gaze At Dalida
Dalida, a beloved French pop singer, lived in a beautiful home in Montmartre Paris. An internationally famous singer for over three decades, Dalida ended her life tragically in 1987. Her legend and her voice live on today. At Place Dalida Dalida’s bust, revealed in 1997, is a tribute to her. Apparently, touching her breasts brings good luck.
13. What To Do In Montmartre: Climb Staircases
One of the absolute best things to do in Montmartre is to climb the staircases! Be prepared to get your exercise and be a little out of breath in Montmartre Paris. Staircases abound! I love scooting down a steep staircase knowing that the croissant I devour will be worn right off when I return to the top of the Butte!
If staircases are not your thing, there is an electric bus called the Montmartrobus that crosses the hill. (See More Travel Info.. below for details)
14. Observe Parisian Life In Square Suzanne-Buisson
Square Suzanne Buisson in Montmartre in Paris is one of my favourite places to see. At dawn, early risers lay on yoga mats and walkers stride across it. In the late afternoon, I love to sit and observe Parisians living their lives. Parents and caregivers chat and children are invested in their play against a chorus of clanking pétanque balls all under the watchful eye of Saint-Denis, the first Bishop and Martyr of Paris.
15. Visit The Musée de la Vie Romantique
One of the rather enchanting things to do in Montmartre is visit Le Musée de la Vie Romantique. The museum is housed in an elegant townhouse that once served as a gathering place for renowned artists, writers, and musicians of the Romantic period. The main attraction here is undoubtedly the permanent collection dedicated to George Sand – one of France’s most celebrated female writers. The charming garden courtyard offers a beautiful oasis to relax and have a cup of tea.
16. Things To Do In Montmartre: Ponder Le Passe-Muraille
Wouldn’t it be marvellous to be able to walk through walls? Stone walls to be exact. This statue portrays the hero of the short story, Le Passe-Muraille, by Marcel Aymé. The main character woke up one day and suddenly all walls were penetrable! Rub the statue’s hands if you want a little extra luck with your writing! Done – he is a leftie, after all!
Standing there one summer day, two young brothers came running up to see the statue. The older explained in earnest what this Passe-Muraille was all about. Parisians from a young age know their city and historic monuments.
17. Things To Do In Montmartre: Stop By Le Refuge
Wondering where to go in Montmartre for a coffee? Scoot down the stairs from the Métro station Lamarck-Caulaincourt straight to Le Refuge, a classic French café. Or, if you are coming from the other side of the hill, climb the stairs, knowing there is coffee waiting at the top.
18. Stroll In Le Cimetière Montmartre
Of all the things to do in Montmartre, this cemetery is the furthest from the usual landmarks. This Montmartre cemetery is a bit tricky to find. Rue Caulaincourt crosses right over the cemetery making it necessary to descend the staircase under the road. Voilà, there is all the cemetery exploring you could wish for at your fingertips.
Look for the writer Émile Zola, film director François Truffaut, pop singer Dalida and artist Edgar Dégas, whose family name on the tomb is spelt “de Gas.”
19. Things To Do In Montmartre: Shop
Is the Montmartre shopping worth it? I get asked this question often. There are many touristy shops in Montmartre but one of the delightful things to do in Montmartre is to wander and browse the array of picturesque stores tucked away in historic buildings. From art galleries to antique shops and designer boutiques, each street holds surprises waiting for eager shoppers. Start on rue des Abbesses where the selection of shops is ideal!
20. Find The Windmills In Montmartre Paris
When visiting Montmarte, don’t forget to seek out the windmills. The Moulin Rouge is the most famous and obvious of the Parisian windmills. But there are two other remaining wooden windmills in Montmartre that are essential on the list of things to do in Montmartre.
Montmartre Hill used to be dotted with windmills that ground flour and pressed grapes. Impressionist painters such as Utrillo, Renoir and Van Gogh immortalized the existence of these Parisian windmills in their paintings.
The wooden windmills that still exist are a Montmartre must see! One of the windmills is on private property and only visible in the winter or early spring. The other stands proudly above a restaurant, Le Moulin de la Galette at 83 rue Lepic.
Did you see Renoir’s painting at the Musée d’Orsay entitled Le Bal de la Moulin de la Galette? It’s a throwback- you’re standing right where Renoir stood!
21. Things To Do In Montmartre: Examine The Wall Of Love
What to see in Montmartre becomes very delightful and amorous when you stand before the Mur des Je T’Aime or the Wall of Love. In the beautiful Square Jehan Rictus, the “I love you” wall heralds those three special words in every language in the world. The white script against 511 indigo tiles is the creative expression of artists Frédéric Baron and Claire Kito.
When you are wondering what to see in Montmartre Paris, add this to your list! Find “I love you” in your language and take a selfie or sit for a while under a leafy tree and just observe.
22. Notice The Métro Entrance At Abbesses
The Métro station at Abbesses, on line 12, is the deepest métro station in the city. Its entrance is seen in the movie Amélie and is unforgettable as it is designed in the Art Nouveau style by Henri Guimard. There are only two remaining glass-covered entrances to Paris métro stations and this one was not originally located here but moved to the Abbesses station in 1974.
Pro Travel Tip: One of the most physically challenging things to do in Montmartre is climb all the stairs out of Abbesses station. Don’t worry. There is an elevator!
23. Step Back In Time In Le Marché Saint-Pierre
This hidden gem is one of the best things to do in Montmartre! With its wide beamed wooden floors, ancient cash registers and bolts of fabric, the Marché Saint-Pierre is where sewers and fashion enthusiasts will find their haven. One of the highlights of this renowned fabric market is watching the employees with their wooden metre sticks and scissors cut fabric for customers. When visiting Montmarte, don’t miss this bustling market.
Things To Do Montmartre: FAQs
How do I get to the Montmartre area of Paris?
Montmartre is easily accessible by the Paris Métro. These 5 stations are the closest: Anvers (Line 2), Blanche (Line 2), Pigalle (Line 2 & 12), Abbesses ( Line 12) and Lamarck-Caulaincourt (Line 12, on the other side of the hill).
What is the Montmartre funicular?
The funicular will save you walking up all the staircases and get you to the top of Montmartre with ease. The cost of the funicular is one metro ticket. It must be a new ticket. The closest Metro station to the Montmartre funicular is Anvers.
What is the Montmartrobus?
The Montmartrobus is a RATP Bus 40 that you can pick up at Pigalle Metro Station. Hop on Bus #40 and it will take you to the top of Montmartre. Descend at Place des Tertres or Sacré Coeur Basilica and start discovering all the things to see in Montmartre.
Is it worth visiting Montmartre?
Montmartre is definitely worth visiting. It’s one of Paris’s most enchanting villages. Visit the top things to do in Montmartre such as Sacré Coeur Basilica, Place du Tertre, and La Maison Rose. Be sure to take time to enjoy the vibe of this bohemian Paris neighbourhood.
How much time do I need in Montmartre to cover all the “what to do in Montmartre highlights?”
It depends what kind of traveller you are and how much time you have. You can pop up to Montmartre and see one or two highlights but the best way to enjoy the things to see in Montmartre is to linger and not be in a hurry. Give yourself at minimum a half day to explore Montmartre.
What is there to do in Montmartre at night?
It’s no problem to find great things to do in Montmartre in the evening. Stroll along rue des Abbesses and stop at a café for dinner, attend a cabaret at the Moulin Rouge or Le Lapin Agile. Why not head to the iconic Le Chat Noir for an evening of jazz music? Climb up the stairs in front of Sacre Coeur and look at the twinkling lights of Paris. Or, have a drink on the terrace of the Terras Hotel peeking at the sparkling Eiffel Tower.
What restaurants should we eat at in Montmartre?
There are plenty of small bistros and restaurants to dine at in Montmartre. Why not try Le Coq Rico with its delicious roasted chicken or La Mascotte, a brasserie since 1889 that serves seafood platters and oysters and mussels? L’Etoile de Montmartre, with its colourful red façade, is a perfect stop for traditional French fare.
What is there to do near Montmartre Paris?
My favourite thing to do near Montmartre is to wander down rue des Martyrs. When you follow rue des Martyrs from Montmartre below Blvd. de Clichy, you are in SoPo or South Pigalle. Rue des Martyrs is a fabulous market street in Paris. There are plenty of gastronomic delights to try!
Bring the list of things to do in Montmartre in Paris, but don’t forget to take your time
Make your own discoveries.
Wander down the far side of the hill.
“Flâner” a little.
Let me know how it feels.
Until next time,