Tourist Guide Paris

Montmartre

The Hill

Montmartre is the name for the highest point in Paris on which stands one of the landmarks of the city – the Basilica Sacré-Coeur and its surrounding village. This hill lies a proud 130 metres above sea level, and can be reached either by funicular railway or via foot up large, wide steps. It lies in the northern part of Paris and has until the present day kept a more rural flair. Moreover, the term ‘Montmartre’ includes the 18th arondissement of Paris and its three incorporated villages- which above all in the summer months are always bustling with activity.

The History

This hill was first mentioned in the Middle Ages as one of the largest gypsum resources was discovered at its foot. In the 12th Century several Benedictine monks built their monastery there whose church- Saint-Pierre de Montmartre to this day is one of the oldest religious buildings. In the 19th Century Montmartre incorporated into Paris but retained its autonomy. During the time after the German-French war the legendary Paris Commune arose in power which was bloodily crushed in the same year. In remembrance, architects at the behest of the French Government built the now widely visible Basilica of the Sacre Coeur - which is wonderfully illuminated in the evenings.

The Artists

Painters as well as poets and musicians on Montmartre

Already in the 19th Century the entire village of Montmartre was a magical attraction for artists of all kinds. Painters as well as poets and musicians gathered here and were enjoyed by the numerous people already visiting at that time, as well as by the locals. Even nowadays at the ‘Place du Tertre’ it is above all unknown artists that mesmerise the visitors, and the small street cafes are- especially in the warmer months very over crowded with visitors, artists and locals. A further attraction here is the small vineyard where slightly sour wine has until now been grown and harvested by various artists.

Attractions

At the foot of the hill is the legendary Moulin Rouge which as a result of a film gained world wide fame- and particularly in the evenings attracts numerous visitors. Even famous artists were fascinated by this small community and hence many of the cafes can boast giving host to some of these well known guests. Some wall mounted photographs still bear witness to these events – a time when Vincent van Gogh, Modigliani and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec particularly preferred this small village. A visit to this district is particularly worthwhile during the summer months - above all for the younger generation as on the many steps of Montmartre, young people from all over the world gather.