Paris’s Montmartre neighborhood, the 18th arrondissement, is well worth a day trip. What was once known as a “dodgy” part of Paris is now a bustling district with iconic monuments, charming alleys, eclectic galleries, and lively plazas. Montmartre used to be a village that drew in poor artists and to this day, the district is home to revolutionists and creatives.
Montmartre is a short 30-minute train ride from the centre of Paris. I highly recommend starting your day early as it gets crowded in the afternoon, even during Paris’s off-season. Walking through Montmartre is like traveling through a time portal — the district never lost its charm.
Visit the Sacré-Coeur
Otherwise known as the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, the Sacré-Coeur offers the most breathtaking views. The church sits atop of the hill of Montmartre and is the second most visited church. You guessed it — the Basilica gets very busy. You can admire the architecture of the church from the outside or explore the grounds inside.
Take in the Art
True to its artistic history, Montmartre is filled with street art, graffiti, and art galleries. After the Sacré-Coeur, head down the stairs and stroll through the Place du Tertre. You’ll find artists selling their canvases and offering portrait sketches — which by the way, are amazing. This area is very busy, so beware of pickpockets. If you’re looking for art, Place du Tertre is the square to be in.
Check Out Moulin Rouge
The infamous cabaret and its iconic red windmill is a must-visit, even if you’re not catching a show. This is one of the most Parisian things you could ever do, next to the Eiffel Tower. Whether you’re a fan of the film or love the art of cabarets, there’s no denying that Moulin Rouge is legendary. If you’d like to watch the show, you have the option to have dinner and drinks along with it.
Sip on Some Aperol Spritz
Seriously, how can you go to Paris and not lounge at a cafe sipping on aperol spritz?! Stop by Le Refuge as you make your way down from the Place du Tertre. The cafe sits on a bustling corner where you can sip on aperol spritz while people-watching.
Go to a Chocolatier
You can’t leave Montmartre without stopping by a chocolate shop! Maison Georges Larnicol is the place to go, displaying one of the most decadent collections of sweets in the city. Their mini truffles are the best. You can purchase sweets by weight, or they have pre-boxed selections to choose from. There are several locations all around Paris, but there’s something extra sweet about munching on chocolate through the most revolutionized district in France.
Bar-Hop in St. Georges
Just a skip away from Montmartre, St. Georges has a selection of bars to visit in the nighttime. We stopped by Dirty Dick, a tiki bar that serves a good selection of rum based drinks including tiki bar staples like a Mai Tai. The surrounding areas are also fantastic for bar-hopping adventures. I was pretty spent by the time we explored the nightlife in St. Georges, but I’m definitely going back next time!