17th Paris Arrondissement, Montmartre

This district is forever associated with the Bohemian lifestyles of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and the many famous artists who worked and lived here. In the early 20th century, Montmartre still had the air of a rustic village, with painters setting up their easels outdoors, along the sloping cobblestone roads. A 19-year-old Picasso made his way here from Spain, while a 30-year-old Matisse lived on the edge of Montmartre with his wife and young daughter. Parisians call it the ‘Butte’ (knoll), as it is the highest point in the city. We feel Montmartre’s most charming feature is its winding back streets and small squares and terraces. Many artists paint quick-fire portraits in the ‘Place du Tertre’. Sacré-Coeur Basilica offers spectacular views over the city.

The oldest house in Montmartre, where Renoir once lived/worked is now the Museé Montmartre. We feel its Renoir Gardens is an ideal peaceful oasis from the massive tourist crowds of the more popular public areas. Also, a big plus is the Féte Montmartre that takes place here every summer, 1-6PM. This is a fun family stopover, including live music, can-can shows, magicians and fortune teller—enjoy!

Other famous landmarks of Montmartre include the ‘Moulin Rouge’, a 19th-century windmill transformed into a world-famous cabaret and immortalized by the painter Toulouse-Lautrec; the ‘Place des Abbesses’, a picturesque square which is now a hub of the fashion world; and the Dalí Centre, a unique exhibition entirely devoted to the master of surrealism, and more particularly to his sculptures and engravings.

Nestled on the Butte Montmartre is Paris’ most secret garden. It’s the only remaining working vineyard, surviving from the Middle Ages. Back then, this hill was covered in grapevines. It is believed that the first vines were planted by Adelaide de Savoie, sister of The Pope, in the first part of the 12th century. The Abbey of Montmartre, which became one of the wealthiest in Europe, continued cultivating the grapevines and making wine for profit.


For more arrondissement information, see our other blog posts:


1st & 3rd Arrondissements

4th Arrondissement

5th, 6th, & 7th Arrondissement

8th, 9th, & 10th Arrondissement

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