Location: Montmartre, France
Bonjour! Not to be a negative Nelly, but the first time I visited Montmartre I didn't like it. At first sight, Montmartre neighborhood seemed nothing more than a neon strip lined with peddlers of souvenir windmills. But this time around we decided to climb up the hill ( rather than taking a taxi ) to Basilique du Sacre' -Coeure. We idled away for a few hours in its intricate, steep back streets. Here, we discovered beautiful hidden gardens, tightly packed , colorful, ivy-covered houses, vineyards, and the lovely Moulin de la Galette, Montmartre's last windmill that inspired a lot of artists including Renoir.
Place du Tertre square is where we found artists set up their easel. A throw-back to the days when the the worlds best artists such as Van Gogh, Picasso and Renoir lived in Montmartre. We passed on getting our face sketched but it was definitely worth a pass through.
A somewhat blurry (sorry) view of Paris. Montmartre is the second highest point in Paris after the Eiffel Tower.
Atop the hill, I found Montmartre to have a village like charm. Cobbled stones streets lined with charming cafes, little alleys, quirky boutiques and young, arty community. Despite the onslaught of tourists, it was surprisingly easy to leave them all behind and to fall under the the spell of the most unabashedly romantic district of Paris.
My thoughts on Montmartre:
- Montmartre is beautiful at night. The view of Paris from the hill with its twinkling lights is spectacular. However, the 18th arrondissement have some seedy areas. When I had planned our mother-daugher trip, this was the only thing on my agenda that my husband suggested we visited during the day.
- If you do decide to visit at night like I did a few years ago, just be cautious. We felt more comfortable taking a taxi that dropped us off on the hill, but all I can say is that by doing that we missed the whole experience of Montmartre and possibly the reason why I didn't like it then. If you would rather take the train to Montmartre, just a short walk after exiting the metro, there is a cable car available. Also, taxis are quite in demand up the hill.
- During, our morning walk, not once did we ever feel scared or felt unsafe. It is not my intention to steer people off from visiting Montmartre, but merely to give a word of caution when visiting at night.
Again, thanks for reading!