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Paris Montmartre - Self-Guided Walking Tour.


Paris Montmartre - Self-Guided Walking Tour - Directions.
If you approach Montmartre from the south, as most people do, then your first impressions of Montmartre might be of "friendship bracelet" hawkers. If you decide to take the funicular railway up, thus avoiding the attention of the hawkers, it will be the pickpockets around the bottom station of the funicular who you will need to keep an eye out for. But it doesn't have to be this way.
The best way to approach Montmartre is from the "back", via Metro Lamarck-Caulaincourt. Instead of keeping an eye on your valuables, your eyes will be on beautiful old buildings, quiet cobbled streets and sun-dappled leafy squares.
1. METRO - Lamarck-Caulaincourt.
Your gateway to Montmartre. On line 12 (dark green on Metro maps).
As you exit the Metro station, turn immediately back on yourself, and walk up the steps above/behind the station. You will arrive at the busy Rue Caulaincourt. Cross to the other side of the road (there is a pedestrian crossing slightly to you right) where you will arrive at the entrance to Place Constantin Pecqueur.
Continue to the rear of the square (it's actually a triangle) and climb the steps to Place Dalida.
2.Place Dalida.
Since her suicide in 1987, Dalida (born in Egypt, but lived most of her life in Paris) has become something of a cult figure in France. In 1997, the corner of Rue de l'Aubrevoir and Rue Girardon was renamed Place Dalida, and a life-size bust of the singer erected.
With the statue of Dalida at your back, and Chateau des Brouillards on your right, turn left and walk up Rue de l'Aubrevoir until you reach Maison Rose on your left.
3. Maison Rose.
Once painted by Utrillo, La Maison Rose (the Pink House) is a charming little restaurant, and has less of the "tourist conveyor-belt" feel to it, and is a lot less crowded, than the restaurants further up the hill.
If you wish to visit the Musee de Montmartre (Montmartre Museum) continue across Rue des Saules. You'll find the museum on your left.
If not, turn left at the crossroads just after Maison Rose, and walk down Rue des Saules. On your right you will see the vines of Montmartre's very own vineyard (4. Le Clos Montmartre) which still produces a few hundred bottles of wine each year. These bottles are sold during the annual Wine Festival (first week of October) with the proceeds benefitting local charities. Sadly, there is no public access to the vineyard or its buildings.
At the junction with Rue Saint-Vincent you will find the famous Au Lapin Agile.
5. Au Lapin Agile.
The oldest bar/cabaret in Paris (founded in 1860), Au Lapin Agile was, and remains, a haunt of 'unknown' artists. Picasso, Utrillo and Modigliani (among many others) were patrons at one time. Picasso painted Au Lapin Agile and gave the painting to the bar owners who later sold it, in 1920, for US$20. It was auctioned at Sotheby's, in 1989, for US$42 million!!! Today, Au Lapin Agile still resonates to the sound and laughter of patrons enjoying French folk songs, comedy and poetry.
Admission - EUR24 (includes one drink). Reservations - 01 46 06 85 87 (Official website: www.au-lapin-agile.com).
Walk east along Rue Saint-Vincent until you reach the junction with Rue du Mont-Cenis. You will see steps leading up to Sacré Coeur on your right (6).
DO NOT climb these steps. Instead, continue to the end of Rue Saint-Vincent where you will find the very attractive and peaceful Parc Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet (7).
Leave the garden via the exit nearest Sacré-Coeur, and walk to your right, behind the Basilique du Sacré Cœur
8. Basilique du Sacré Cœur.
Sacré Coeur contains what many believe to be the sacred heart of Christ. Construction of the mock Romano-Byzantine basilica started in 1876, although the church was not consecrated until 1919. Sacre Coeur was constructed by the French as an act of penance for the nation's defeat at the hands of the Prussians in 1870. From up here, the views over the rooftops of Montmartre and central Paris are breathtaking.
With your back to Sacré-Coeur, turn right and walk along Rue Azaïs. Follow the road round to your right. On the right-hand side of the road you will see Église Saint-Pierre de Montmartre.
9. Église Saint-Pierre de Montmartre.
Église Saint-Pierre de Montmartre is one of the oldest churches in Paris. Much older than its more famous neighbour. Consecrated in 1147 by Pope Eugenius III, the church was built on the ruins of a 3rd-century chapel consecrated to Saint Denis, the first bishop of Paris, who was beheaded in Montmartre, in front of the "Temple of Mercury" by the Romans in AD250. According to legend, St.Denis carried his own head to his burial site.
Directly opposite Église Saint-Pierre you will find the entrance to the very touristy Place du Tertre.
10. Place du Tertre.
How many tourists can you squeeze into one small town-square? Place du Tertre has the answer. A lot!
'Artists' flogging pictures of Paris or cajoling tourists into having their portrait drawn, compete with white-aproned café waiters in trying to free tourists from their spending money. Linger here if you want an overpriced portrait drawn (possibly by an Asian "artist"), or if you want to eat some very average fare in the cafés surrounding the square.
Walk around the square until you reach the south-west corner (diagonally opposite the point that you entered the square). At the end of the path you will see steps leading down to Rue Gabrielle (11).
DO NOT go down these steps. Instead, turn right (past the restaurant) into Rue Polbiot. On your right you will see Espace Dalí Montmartre (the Dalí Museum).
12. Espace Dalí Montmartre.
Black-walled interiors and a stylised lighting/sound system are used as the backdrop for over 300 original works by Salvador Dali. The exhibits are mostly sculptures and sketches - you wont find any of the surrealist master's classic paintings.
Admission - EUR10 (Official website: www.daliparis.com).
Follow Rue Polbiot as it bends right until you reach the junction with Rue Norvins. Turn left here and walk a few metres until the crossroads (13 - pictured below).
Cross the road here, and continue down Rue Norvins until you see Passe Muraille on your right.
14. Passe Muraille.
Place Marcel Aymé is home to the now famous sculpture by Jean Marais. It depicts "The Man Who Could Walk Through Walls" penned by Marcel Aymé in 1943. Touching the left hand of the sculpture is believed to transfer some of his magical ability to the toucher. Which explains why the left hand is more "polished".
Turn left into Rue Girardon. At the corner, on your right, you will see one of the few remaining windmills in Montmartre: Moulin de la Galette.
15. Moulin de la Galette.
Originally a windmill which produced flour to make the eponymous 'galettes', Le Moulin de la Galette was built in 1622. It was later turned into a dancehall, and frequented (and immortalised in paint) by Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec and Van Gogh.
Turn left at the corner here, and immediately turn right down the tiny Rue d'Orchampt (16).
Follow the road round to the left at the bottom, and continue walking to the end of the road where you will find Place Emile Goudreau and Bateau Lavoir.
17. Bateau Lavoir.
Rebuilt after a fire gutted the building in 1970, Bateau Lavoir (Boat Laundry) is known as the 'cradle of Cubism'. Formerly a piano factory, the building was divided into a number of studios in the 1890s. Picasso lived here between 1904-1912, during which time he painted 'The Third Rose' and 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon'. Other residents included Braque, Juan Gris and Modigliani.
Walk through Place Emile Goudreau and down the steps to Rue Des Trois Freres. Turn left into this road, and immediately turn right and walk down the steps of Passage des Abbesses (18).
Follow the passage down as it turns first left then right. Once through the archway at the end of the passage, turn left into Place des Abbesses.
On the left as you walk through the square, you will see the small tree-filled Square Jehan Rictus, in which you can find Le Mur des Je T'Aimes (The "I Love You Wall").
19. Le Mur des Je t'aimes.
Lovers the world over come here to read 311 versions of "I Love You" written in 250 languages. The wall is situated in a pretty little garden. This is a great place to sit down (there are benches here) under the shade of the trees, and dream.
In the middle of Place des Abbesses you will find Abbesses Metro station, one of only two remaining Art Nouveau stations designed by Hector Guimard in Paris (the other is at Porte Dauphine).
Your self-guided tour of Montmartre ends here. We hope that you enjoy your day strolling through Montmartre.
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