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Montmartre on foot

There's more to Montmartre than the Sacré Coeur and Place du Tertre. Though neither should be missed on your first visit to Paris. Knowing a little bit about Montmartre beforehand prepares you for a day's exploration of this historical and lively neighborhood.

The sinking house as it is called isn't really sinking. It is firmly standing just below the Sacré Coeur Basilica. Some photographer took an "illusory" photo (similar to the image I took above) and it became a social media hit. It wasn't all that easy to take this image because I had to consider both the foreground and background so that they do not lean with the building as well. The published pictures of the sinking house are usually taken from the grassy enclosure beside the basilica because the grass provides a level field. The fence surrounding this grassy expanse was closed to the public during my visit. In this photo, the trees provide the anchor I needed to complete the illusion.

A dozen windmills once dotted the Montmartre skyline but only a couple remain today. This is the Moulin Radet which peeks above the restaurant, Moulin de la Galette, on the corner of Rue Lepic and Rue Girardon. It was originally used to grind flour for galette, a brown bread made by the Debray family. The other windmill, Blute-fin, is down the street on Rue Lepic and Rue Tholozé. It's on private property but can be seen from the street below.

At Autour du Moulin, these sun worshippers have found the perfect spot to join the shades club. This café/bar is directly below the Blute-fin, the other remaining windmill in Paris. Good place to linger over an espresso or a vin rouge.

Speaking of wine, explore the last vineyard in Paris which is owned by the City of Paris. The wine produced in this vineyard is bottled under the name Le Clos Montmartre. An annual vendange (harvest) party is held on the second week of October. Profits from the sale of wine and other related products go toward programs benefiting senior citizens and children in Montmartre. On Rue des Saules.

Across from the vineyard is the famous Le Lapin Agile, the "doyen des cabarets". Here's what Patricia Schultz says about Le Lapin Agile in her bestselling book, 1000 Places to see before you die"Paris oldest bar-cabaret and a Montmartre landmark, Le Lapin Agile was immortalized by Toulouse Lautrec and Utrillo. A glimpse of Paris past, it has been the heartbeat of French folk music for decades, lovely singalongs that warm up even the tourists. As authentic as the cabaret experience can be. Don't miss it." 

Le Passe-Muraille by Jean Marais, a French actor and sculptor. The story behind this interesting sculpture is based on a short novel written Marcel Aymé about a man who could walk through walls. This wall is in front of Aymé 's house. Place Marcel Aymé, Rue Norvins.

Walking around Montmartre is like going on an Easter egg hunt. There are many exquisite works of street art scattered everywhere. Some are as stunning as a Fabergé egg like this beautiful head of a girl. The artist signed his work, Aydar.

Le mur des je t'aime (I love you wall). Square Jehan Rictus, Place des Abbesses. Read about it here:

The dome of the Sacré Couer. The side streets of Montmartre often lead to postcardesque views.  

*Note that guards have been posted on the stairs of  Sacré Coeur to check the bags of those who wish to enter the basilica.

One of the best views of Paris is from the terrace of the Basilica of Sacré Couer. 

Another darling of social media is Le Consulat, a restaurant on 18 Rue Norvins . It's difficult to get a good photo during the day as this area is crowded with tourists. And they stand and pose in front of the restaurant, blocking the view. Try arriving early in the morning or taking photos from either side of the restaurant. 

How to get there:
The closest metro stop to the vineyard is Lamarck Caulaincourt.
The closest metro stop to the I love you wall is Abbesses. There's a funicular to the basilica which is a good option for those who have difficulty climbing the stairs. 


Images by TravelswithCharie

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