Monday, 10 June 2013

Paris: Montmartre

Montmartre is a district at the right bank of Paris on the outer arrondissement, the 18th arrondissement to be precise. The area gets its name from the 130-meter hill, the "Montmartre" translated into English means "mountain of the martyr". That martyr was Saint Denis, the Bishop of Paris from the third century, who lost his head. Literally. 




The big K and I discovered Montmartre only after our second trip to Paris. Our first visit was such a whirl-wind tour that we only saw one of its famous landmarks, the Sacré-Coeur Basilica. It was such a hurried visit that we only had the chance to see the outside and to have the obligatory photo op, of course. 

We were so charmed by the area that we had decided to stay in Montmartre in our succeeding visits. Since the area is in the outer arrondissement, Montmartre offers more affordable places to stay at. It also has more of the non-touristy vibe as compared to staying at the inner districts where most of the attractions are so you get a higher concentration of tourists. 

Sacré-Coeur 

La Basilique du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre can be reached from the base of the hill by either taking the funiculaire (included in the Paris Visite Pass) or climbing the steps.

Tourist scam alert: Be wary of those people at the bottom of the steps offering "friendship" bracelets. Once they start approaching and offering you the bracelet, firmly say no and walk away. Otherwise, you'll end up with a pretty expensive cheap string of a bracelet.

Nearest metro: Anvers (2)


Place du Tertre

The Place du Tertre is a square just a few steps from Sacré-Coeur Basilica. This is where you find artists with their easels sketching or offering tourists to have their portraits done much like in the olden days. Painters Picasso and Utrillo used to live in this area. 

It was wonderful just to walk around the area peeking inside quaint artists shops, sampling yummy macarons at the neighborhood biscuiterie, or just browsing around the hundreds of art crafts, paintings and posters from the different art galleries scattered around the place. Of course souvenir shops were in good abundance too. 


 
The Biscuiterie de Montmartre sells yummy cookies and macarons. I didn't want to leave the shop!
The Promotrain that goes around hilly Montmartre.
Le Clos Montmartre, the only remaining vineyard in Paris. It is often times referred to as the secret vineyard of Paris. So secret the big K and I only learned about it when I was finally editing all the pictures we took of our trip.


Nearest metro: Abbesses, Lamarck Caulaincourt (12), Anvers (2)



Le Lapin Agile

Lapin Agile or nimble rabbit is a famous cabaret in Montmartre. It was the favorite hangout of then struggling artists and writers like Pablo Picasso, Maurice Utrillo, Amedeo Modigliani and Guillaume Apollinaire


The cabaret still operates from Tuesdays to Sundays from 9PM to 2AM.

Nearest metro: Lamarck Caulaincourt (12)


Oh and this was also where I found inspiration for my blog's title.