Unique Things to Do in Montmartre, Paris

Visit Montmartre, Paris

Montmartre is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Paris. Located in the 18th arrondissement, in Northern Paris, Montmartre was a charming little village until the 19th century, when it became part of the French capital.

Over the years, Montmartre has been home to artists like Van Gogh and Picasso and the setting for movies like An American in Paris and Amélie Poulain. With all this history and culture, it’s not hard to find amazing things to do in Montmartre!

So, what to see in Montmartre, Paris? Filled with cobblestone alleys, hidden cafés, artists, and history, Montmartre is a picturesque area to explore, and many of the very best things to do in Paris are located in Montmartre. So you’re ready to see this spectacular neighborhood, then here’s a list of the best things to do in Montmartre, Paris, for every kind of traveler.

Place du Tertre at Night - Montmartre

Montmartre Practical Information

How to Get to Montmartre?

Two metro lines operate within Montmartre: lines 12 (green) and 2 (blue).

Montmartre is a hilly neighborhood with many staircases and cobbled streets. If you want to get to Montmartre from the airport and have a lot of luggage, we recommend booking a private transfer service like Welcome.

Where to Eat & Sleep in Montmartre?

What to Do in Montmartre, Paris

1. Visit the Sacré-Coeur Basilica

Sacré Coeur - Montmartre

Located at the top of Montmartre Hill, the impressive Sacré-Coeur Basilica (1873 and 1924) is one of the most famous buildings in Paris and a Montmartre must-see. dedicated to Christ’s Sacred Heart. Today, the Sacré-Coeur welcomes more than 10 million visitors per year, making it the second most visited religious building in France, only after Notre Dame.

The Sacré-Coeur Basilica is built in Romano-Byzantine style, with a design inspired by models such as Saint Sophia in Constantinople or San Marco in Venice. The basilica’s plan is in the shape of a Greek cross with four domes, and it measures 85 meters long and 35 meters in width. You will love the light and the details of this majestic place!

Despite being one of the top Montmartre attractions, the Sacré-Coeur Basilica is free to visit, and it is open from 6.30 am to 10.45 pm. It is possible to visit the Dome from June to September, from 10.30 am to 8.30 am (paid visit). Currently, the Crypt is closed to visitors.

2. Coffee at Café des Deux Moulins

The charming French film Amélie Poulain was filmed in Montmartre, and if you’ve seen the movie, you might recognize this particular café.

Located at 15 rue Lepic, the Café des deux Moulins is one of the typical cafés of the Montmartre district. One of the most popular places to visit in Montmartre, the Café des Deux Moulins owes its name to the two mills located nearby: the Moulin Rouge and the Moulin de la Galette. Inside, a large counter, pleasant benches, and a small terrace where local regulars or tourists from all over the world can have a coffee, a drink, or a bite to eat.

Whatever form it takes, the food is always local, homemade, and the atmosphere is intimate. Don’t expect to pop in just to take some photographs because the owner frowns on that very strongly!

3. Cancan Show at the Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge - Paris

After visiting Montmartre, ending your day with a cabaret is a must. We recommend the Moulin Rouge, one of the most famous cabarets in Paris and one of the most popular things to do in Montmartre at night.

The mythical Moulin Rouge welcomes visitors for an incredible revue with over a hundred artists dancing the famous French cancan and more. Two shows follow each evening at 7 pm and 11 pm, and you can attend while enjoying a delicious dinner or just drinking a glass of champagne Click here to buy your tickets to the Moulin Rouge.

4. Visit the Musée de Montmartre and Take a Tea at Jardins Renoir

Montmartre Museum Paris

When you’re wondering what to do in Montmartre, Paris, consider visiting the Musée de Montmartre. This famous museum is one of the best things to do near Sacré-Coeur and offers a window into the neighborhood’s history. The museum also has a lovely garden, a haven from the busy streets of Montmartre. 

In the museum, you’ll find temporary and permanent collections that explore the works of local and international artists as well as a close look at the city’s cabarets. Once you’ve seen all the art, stop at Café Renoir overlooking the Clos Montmartre vineyards and with décor that’s reminiscent of a winter garden. Relaxing and drinking coffee in this café is one of the most popular things to do in Montmartre, Paris Click here to buy your tickets to the Musée de Montmartre.

5. Explore the Stairs of Montmartre

Montmartre wouldn’t be Montmartre without the Sacré-Coeur, the mills, and its iconic stairs! La Butte is indeed the neighborhood of Paris with the most stairs, and it is rare that locals of Montmartre do not have to take at least one to return home.

Montmartre has a total of 38 stairs listed according to three categories: stairs connecting roads at different levels (32), stairs between sidewalks and streets at different levels (5), and those between a road and an engineering work (1).

All the stairs of Montmartre are very picturesque, but we have our favorites: rue Foyatier (for our jogging with bonus), rue Maurice Utrillo, rue de la Fontaine du But, Allée des Brouillards, and rue du Calvaire.

6. Buy some Fabrics at Marché Saint-Pierre

Located at the foot of the hill, the Marché Saint-Pierre (streets around rue Charles Nodier) is a reference and an institution in fabrics, textiles, and haberdashery in Paris.

Said to be the world’s largest temple dedicated to fabrics, this area concentrates a good number of shops specialized in textiles for home furnishing and decoration, and it is frequented by Haute-couture professionals, stylists, and decorators.

Today, the Saint-Pierre Market is made up of several large brands spread over the streets of Orsel, Charles-Nodier, Livingstone, Seveste, Pierre-Picard, and on the Place Saint-Pierre. You will, of course, find the famous Dreyfus (2 rue Charles Nodier), the place to go for buying fabric by the meter. The fabrics from Moline and Reine are beautiful too.

7. Uncover the Hidden Gems of Montmartre

Between long-forgotten mansions full of history and secret gardens, there’s no shortage of hidden treasures in Montmartre. Many of the unusual things to see in the 18th Arrondissement in our personal list are located in Montmartre, and you can uncover them with this hidden Gems of Montmartre guided tour or follow our secret map of Montmartre

8. Take the Tour of ‘La Butte’ on the Little Train

The Little Train of Montmartre is a charming way to visit Montmartre. Skip the numerous stairs and slopes of La Butte and visit Montmartre’s charming streets and top sights from the comfort of your seat.

The Little Train is one of the quirkiest things to do in Montmartre, Paris. The tour lasts 45 minutes and includes music and commentaries in English and French. The train departs hourly from Place Blanche, in front of the Moulin Rouge, and includes a stop in Place du Tertre before going back to Place Blanche. During the high season (April to the beginning of September), the train departures are every 30 minutes.

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9. Hang around Place des Abbesses 

Place des Abbesses - Montmartre

Place des Abbesses is one of Montmartre’s access points if you travel by metro. The metro exit is decorated with one of the iconic metro bouches designed by Guimard.

Place des Abbesses is also one of the best things to see in Montmartre. Unlike Place du Tertre, always filled with tourists, this lively square has a more local feel, and it has a classic carrousel and a couple of benches in the shade. From here, you can see the Church of Saint-Jean de Montmartre, and, a little bit further, the lovely café Vrai Paris (33 rue des Abesses).

Before rushing to the Sacré-Coeur, head to square Jehan Rictus, just behind the metro access, to see the Wall of Je T’aime. Covered in navy blue tiles, 311 ‘I love you’ are written in 250 rare or sometimes forgotten languages ​​and dialects such as Navajo or Inuit!

10. Watch a Film at Studio 28

Studio 28 - Winter Garden
Studio 28 Winter Garden – Photo Courtesy: Studio 28 (C)

Described by Jean Cocteau as the ‘cinema of masterpieces, and the masterpiece of cinemas,’ Le Studio 28 (10 rue Tholozé) opened in 1928 as Paris’ first avant-garde cinema. It was a favorite meeting place of surrealists like Luis Buñuel, Salvador Dalí, Abel Gance, and Jean Cocteau.

Classified ‘Art & Essay,’ this neighborhood cinema is the oldest Parisian cinema still in operation, and it offers a mix of independent and big-budget European and American films.

Studio 28 is more than a cinema: it’s part of the local life in Montmartre. There’s also a bar and a winter garden for drinks to enjoy with or without the movies.

11. Scout out the last two windmills of Montmartre

Moulin de la Galette - Montmartre

Once upon a time, the hills surrounding Paris were filled with farmland, and the natural power of the wind was used to grind the grain that was produced there. Montmartre was historically the hill with mills, with thirteen mills on the hill itself and two more east of it. The mills were built between 1591 (Moulin Vieux-du-Palais) and 1741 (Moulin-Neuf).

Most of the windmills of Montmartre are lost in time, except two: Moulin Radet and Moulin de Blute-Fin, which can be spotted from 77 Rue Lepic and 83 Rue Lepic. These two surviving windmills were part of a site named Moulin de la Galette, a place that also comprised a popular ball.

12. Chill Out at Bar à Bulles

Bar à Bulles - Moulin Rouge

Hidden behind the Moulin Rouge’s wings, there’s the Bar à Bulles (4bis Cité Veron), a timeless place nestled in an alley of Pigalle perfect for a refreshing drink on a warm day.

A true Parisian lull, this rooftop bar-terrace is populated with Japanese maples and plunges guests into an intimate bubble of peace all year round. Don’t miss their delicious brunch served on the terrace or inside the bar on weekends.

13. Celebrate the Vendanges of Montmartre (Montmartre’s Wine Harvest Festival)

The Fête des Vendanges (Wine Harvest Festival) is a five-day celebration of the grape harvest at Montmartre’s one remaining vineyard, the Clos de Montmartre.

This is one of the most popular food festivals in Paris (yep, there’s also lots of food!), and it takes place each October in the streets around the Sacré Coeur.

Of course, you can buy some bottles of Montmartre wine (Clos Montmartre), which is quite expensive and not that good. But there are also many food & drink stalls with great deals and also music and street performances.

14. Eat Fondue at Le Refuge des Fondus

Le Refuge des Fondus (17 Rue des Trois Frère) is one of the top Montmartre things to do for food lovers, especially in wintertime. This restaurant in Montmartre is all about fondue, which comes with meat or vegetable.

In addition to enjoying a rich and typical French meal, the atmosphere becomes jovial, in a place with two long dining tables and walls full of graffiti and paintings by customers who have visited it throughout its history.

The restaurant also has the particularity of serving wine (red or white) in baby bottles, so you can only expect a fun atmosphere! Actually, the restaurant’s name (Le Refuge des Fondus) is a jeu de mots: « fondus » is the plural word for melted (like the fondue) but can be used as a synonym for crazy people.

15. Embrace Yourself in the Spectacular View of Paris from Place du Sacré-Coeur

Embrace yourself in the spectacular view of Paris from Place du Sacré Coeur and admit you are in the most beautiful city in the world.

And it is much more than the Paris views! Not only does Paris promise so much to those who learn of it, but it so overwhelmingly delivers that we – lovers of Paris – are forever haunted by its soul.

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Quirky Parisian explorer with a preference for lesser-known sights, I am continuously looking for new ideas and tips to bring you the best of the City of Light! Read more about me.