It’s easy to feel like you’ve stepped back in time when exploring Montmartre’s charming cobblestone alleys and lounging in the ancient squares’ lush courtyards. This lovely area (near the Abbesses Metro Station) now symbolizes Paris’s 18th arrondissement, yet it was once a sleepy hilltop town outside the city. Even now, it’s clear that Montmartre is set aside from the rest of the city.
Montmartre’s charming atmosphere is what initially attracted Bohemian artists during the Belle Epoque, and it still attracts visitors today. From the vintage merry-go-rounds and lively sidewalk cafés to the secret pedestrian stairs and tree-shaded terraces where passers-by might sometimes witness an impromptu street performance, the area exudes a unique vibe and feeling of joie de vivre.
Sacré-Coeur Basilica, built on the tomb of the martyr Saint Denis, is a popular tourist destination at the summit of Mont Martyr. Outside of the sanctuary, the Sacré-Coeur is a joyful celebration of life, despite the building’s gloomy interior. Tourists take pictures, residents relax on the grassy esplanade, and couples savor the ambiance and scenery.
Place du Tertre, a genuine open-air gallery, and many museums showing paintings by Renoir, Picasso, Dal, and Toulouse Lautrec, who made this area an artists’ colony, are just a few feet away from the Sacré-Coeur.
It’s well worth your time to explore Montmartre’s mazelike, stone-paved alleys. A stroll around the neighborhood might lead to the discovery of charming bakeries, secret plazas, historic churches, and innovative workshops.
Top 9 Tourist Attractions in Montmartre
This fascinating location is home to several points of interest that may keep sightseers busy for days. Our selection of the greatest attractions in Montmartre will help you plan your trip.
- Basilique du Sacré-Coeur
- Musée de Montmartre
- Montmartre Cemetery
- Musée de la Vie Romantique
- Musée d’Art Naïf – Max Fourny
- Place du Tertre
- Le Mur des Je t’aime
- Place des Abbesses
- Dalí Paris Museum
1. Basilique du Sacré-Coeur
From its perch atop the Butte Montmartre, the Sacré-Coeur Basilica offers breathtaking views of Paris. The church was built as a beacon of light in the wake of the Franco-Prussian War, and it is one of Montmartre’s top attractions.
The many domes of this cathedral in the Romanesque and Byzantine styles have earned it the moniker “Wedding Cake.”
Visitors are greeted as they enter the church by the massive Christ en Gloire (Christ in Glory) ceiling mosaic. This 475-square-meter mosaic was created in 1923 and is one of the biggest in the world. With their soft, flickering light, the profusion of candles throughout the interior also captivates visitors.
The view from the Dome of the Basilica is worth the price of admission on its own. The Notre Dame Cathedral, the Centre Pompidou, and the Opera House are all visible on a clear day. The Dome may be reached from the left side of the basilica’s exterior, up 300 stairs (there is no lift).
2. Musée de Montmartre
Visit this fantastic museum on the Place du Tertre to learn about the Montmartre neighborhood’s Bohemian background. The Musée du Montmartre, located in a structure dating back to the 17th century, presents a look back at the history of the neighborhood and is one of Montmartre’s best tourist attractions.
There was previously a gathering spot popular with many artists, and its former location is now the museum. Artists such as Émile Bernard, Raoul Dufy, and Suzanne Valadon worked here with Auguste Renoir.
The history of Montmartre is chronicled, and the artistic spirit of this unique neighborhood of Paris is brought to life in the museum’s large collection of art going back to the 1880s.
Among the roughly 6,000 items in the collection are works by such illustrious Montmartre figures as Modigliani, Vuillard, the Nabis, the Fauvists, and the Symbolists. Posters from the legendary cabarets Lapin Agile and Chat Noir are on exhibit. A whole room is decorated with works of art based on the French cancan.
3. Montmartre Cemetery
The Montmartre Cemetery, which opened in 1825 and spans over 11 hectares, is the third biggest in Paris and is arguably the most romantic due to its picturesque setting and beautiful tombs, memorials, and chapels. This charming cemetery is one of Montmartre’s best tourist attractions.
Many of the tombstones have been covered with vegetation, adding to the gloomy atmosphere, while others are decorated with beautiful sculptures.
Many of the artists who made their homes in Montmartre during its heyday are buried here. Artist Edgar Degas, dancer Vaslav Nijinsky, composers Jacques Offenbach and Hector Berlioz, author Alexandre Dumas, and actress Marie Duplessis all have memorials in the city.
4. Musée de la Vie Romantique
Montmartre’s Romantic past is honored in this delightful museum, and it surely is one of Montmartre’s best tourist attractions. Artists in Paris from around 1815-1848 were affected by Romanticism, an aesthetic style that emphasized creativity and emotional expression.
In the 1830s, the Dutch painter Ary Scheffer opened a salon at the opulent home that would become known as the Hôtel Scheffer-Renan. The salon was visited by notable figures such as George Sand, Frederic Chopin, Eugène Delacroix, Franz Liszt, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Alphonse de Lamartine, and Ivan Turgenev.
The museum is housed in the Hôtel Scheffer-Renan, and it has been furnished and decorated to reflect the building’s historical significance. Beaux-Arts (Fine Art) and Arts Graphiques (Graphic Art), such as portraits and landscapes, are represented in the collection.
Museum visitors may enjoy light fare, afternoon tea, cakes, and snacks at the Salon de thé (tea salon), which is located in the greenhouse garden. The teahouse is open all through the seasons. Rain or shine, the garden greenhouse is a haven with views of the peaceful countryside. On hot summer days, the patio’s shaded campanula trees and fragrant flowers provide a tiny piece of heaven.
5. Musée d’Art Naïf – Max Fourny
With a permanent collection of Max Fourny’s work, this forward-thinking museum provides a fresh take on the Montmartre art scene. The museum is located in the Halle Saint-Pierre, a cultural institution that first opened its doors in 1986 at the base of the Butte Montmartre. The structure’s initial use was as a market, but it is now a museum and cultural event space.
The term “art brut” (meaning “raw art”) describes Max Fourny’s naive (folk) style of painting. There are almost 500 paintings and 80 sculptures in the collection. There are more international folk art exhibits at the Halle Saint-Pierre Museum.
Following their art viewing, guests can relax in the Halle Saint-Pierre’s café or browse the bookstore. This museum is, without a doubt, one of the best attractions in Montmartre.
6. Place du Tertre
In the shadow of Sacré-Coeur, this charming square brings to life the artistic energy of Montmartre. Local painters put up easels in the cobblestone courtyard of the square and produce works of art there and then. The paintings generally represent endearing landscapes from the area, and as a result, many visitors are enticed to buy them. This area is one of Montmartre’s most popular attractions among locals and tourists.
Lots of different artists, including painters, portraitists, and caricaturists, set up shops in tourist areas to sell their wares. The attractive 18th- and 19th-century structures that surround the plaza are now home to thriving eateries and cafes. Tourists may sit on outdoor decks that spill out onto the cobblestone square.
Place du Tertre retains its allure despite its popularity among sightseers. Place du Tertre is reminiscent of a little town square because of its location under the shadow of the Sacré-Coeur and the presence of large, ancient trees.
Before Montmartre was annexed by Paris, it served as the village’s central plaza. The “Mairie” (town hall) of the original hamlet was located in the building at Number 3 on the square. The Place du Tertre is surrounded by winding alleys that beg to be explored.
7. Le Mur des Je t’aime
The ‘I Love You Wall’ is a piece of art about love that was made in 2000 by calligraphist Frédéric Baron and muralist Claire Kito. The words “I love you” are written 311 times, in 250 different languages, on a massive surface made of 612 tiles of enameled lava rock.
It’s a popular tourist attraction in Montmartre and a photo op for the city’s romantics. The shattered heart shape painted in crimson on the fresco represents a divided humanity that this wall is trying to bring back together. Free and accessible to the public, this stunning artistic landmark may be found on the square of Place des Abbesses.
8. Place des Abbesses
The most attractive Paris metro stop may be found at the tree-shaded Place des Abbesses. The elaborate Art Nouveau front door was created by Hectar Guimard and is the building’s most recognizable feature.
This busy area is the nerve center of Montmartre, with several establishments, including restaurants and cafes, surrounding it. At the Place des Abbesses, there is a merry-go-round with music that the kids love to ride.
The Abbesses Métro station is located 30 meters below ground and can only be reached by climbing a lengthy, twisting staircase. There is also the Pigalle Métro station, which is a short walk from the Place des Abbesses and has no high steps.
One of the best ways to enjoy the beauty of Paris is by taking a stroll through the ancient alleys of Montmartre, which is also one of Montmartre’s best tourist attractions.
Place des Abbesses is the starting point for an off-the-beaten-path self-guided walking trip that leads to Passage des Abbesses. Through an archway, one may reach the stairs leading up the hill to Rue Berthe.
9. Dalí Paris Museum
In this one-of-a-kind museum, guests may learn more about the fascinating life and work of Salvador Dalí. The museum’s proximity to the cultural epicenter of Montmartre, the Place du Tertre, is quite appropriate and one of the reasons that make this place one of Montmartre’s best attractions.
The Dali Museum in Paris offers a window into the surrealist master’s mind. Especially notable is the museum’s collection of Salvador Dali’s sculptures, since it is the largest in France dedicated to the artist’s oeuvre in all its forms (paintings, sculptures, and graphics).
Montmartre’s cobblestone lanes are always teeming with outstanding street painters, startling sculptures, and artists painting magnificent vistas of Paris. But that isn’t all there is to this exciting neighborhood. Our list of the top 10 things to do in Montmartre will help you learn about the region’s rich history while also introducing you to its vibrant present.