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Montmartre: The bohemian art district of Paris.

Updated: Jul 29, 2019

A beautiful sunny afternoon exploring Montmartre’s legacy and its picturesque surroundings; there are so many hidden gems to uncover and offbeat locations to explore in this bohemian art district. I was of course lucky to have missed the soaring high temperatures in Paris a week before I arrived here.

In the past a favourite hangout for artists like Renoir, Picasso, and Van Gogh to name a few, Montmartre now has grown increasingly popular because of great cafés, boutiques, vintage stores around every corner and it’s the one place in Paris I definitely wanted to visit. Away from the main touristy spots and landmarks of Paris, Montmartre offers infinite opportunities to capture its whimsical beauty in any season.

There are many art walks and tours that happen here every hour. But since I had already done my research, I decided to do this treasure hunt on my own, at my own pace.


Starting with the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, in front of which this panorama of Paris awaits you.

The panorama overlooking Paris on this sunny afternoon.

The Basilica itself is a giant structure on the summit of this large hill called Montmartre.

With its gigantic dome and snow-white facade, the Basilica looks down over the city from the Montmartre hill.


While standing on the steps of Sacré-Cœur facing the Basilica, to your right is the Sinking House, this optical illusion is quite a delightful thing to see.

The optical illusion of the Sinking House.

Later moving inside the smaller lanes from the basilica, one can immerse into the charm of several cafes and vintage stores of this neighbourhood.

Just a few minutes from Sacré-Cœur is the iconic Le Consulat on Rue Norvins.

It can be pretty crowded in this area, surrounded with small shops selling some awesome vintage stuff.

Le Consulat itself has a fantastic history from the impressionist era, when great artists would frequently visit it.


La Maison Rose is just one block away from Le Consulat. A hotspot for instagrammers, at any given moment you can find at least 2 travellers photographing it. Have patience and wait for the rush to cease.

La Maison Rose has a very cute and laid back appeal.

La Maison Rose was earlier a Montmartre canteen frequented by several generations of artists such as Picasso, Modigliani, later Piaf, Barbara, Aznavour, Nougaro, Brel.

Reopened just a few years ago, La Maison Rose offers a short menu based on seasonal produce, inspired by French cuisine and Italian cucina povera.

Only one block away from this laid back cafe and located in a stone building on the steep and cobbled Rue des Saules is Au Lapin Agile. It was once the most famous caberet of Montmartre, made even more famous by Picasso when he painted it in 1905.

No laser, no microphone, no sound! Caberet in its original style.

Le Passe-muraille (The man who passed through walls), you will find it at Place Marcel Aymé. A sculpture created by French actor & sculptor Jean-Bernard Métais.

Housed in an old mill is Le Moulin de la Galette, it inspired painters like Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and many others. Reopened few years ago as a chic brasserie, it now serves traditional French cuisine.




So many cobbled lanes that go downhill make for interesting compositions.

There's a cafe at every step here.

Appartement de Théo Van Gogh is where Van Gogh lived with his brother Theo from 1886 to 1888. ‘View from Theo’s apartment’ was painted while Van Gogh stayed here on the 4th floor. Let’s not forget that Van Gogh changed his style of painting and his colour palette once he started living here.


54 Rue Lepic is an iconic address in Montmartre, made famous by Van Gogh.

The Bateau-Lavoir was once a meeting place for a group of outstanding early 20th-century artists, men of letters, theatre people, and art dealers.

While residing at the Bateau-Lavoir Picasso painted works such as Garçon à la pipe (Boy with a Pipe) and one of his most noted works, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon.


Wall of love, a love themed wall in the Jehan Rictus garden square in Montmartre.

Wall of love is open to public free of charge.

It includes the words 'I love you' in all major languages, but also in rarer ones like Navajo, Inuit, Bambara and Esperanto.

But natural to take a picture of Ketaki here.

La Machine du Moulin Rouge was my last stop in Montmartre.


Taken from Blanche subway station exit, I visited Montmartre again the next evening.

I came back the next day with my wife to have dinner at Montmartre in this cosy café. I found Le vrai Paris (The true Paris) a very charming and cosy place.




Would definitely recommend to try their house wines.

There is so much more to explore in this beautiful art district that another trip to Montmartre is definitely due whenever I'll have a chance to visit Paris in future.

Thanks so much for dropping by!


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© Chandan Mahimkar, Mumbai, 2020.