A Walk in NoPi

In my previous area guide, I wrote about the local and chic area of SoPi. Montmartre, however, found just across the boulevard de Clichy to the north of Pigalle station, is almost sure to be on most people’s to-do list. Its privileged views of the city and history as the centre of art and bohemian life during the latter half of the 19th century is a big draw. The downside is that the Sacre-Coeur and the place du Tertre attract busloads of tourists everyday, which can turn some of the narrow streets into tourist bottlenecks during the high season. One should fit in the view from the Sacre Coeur and see the Place du Tertre if one wishes, but there are lots of things to see that often get overlooked by travelers. I have culled a list of important addresses, restaurants and sights that deserve your special attention on a trip to Montmartre.

Top Tip

Start any trip to Montmartre at Metro Blanche, and walk up rue Lepic. This street snakes continuously all the way up to the top of the hill and will bring you past some of the main points of interest such as the rue des Abbesses, the Moulin Rouge, the Moulin de La Galette and finally the Sacre Coeur from where picture postcard views will sweep you away. A walk around the area in the evening before sunset can be more pleasant after the day-trippers have already moved on.

Museums

Dali Museum, 11 rue Poulbot
This museum houses an important collection of drawings and sculpture by the famous surrealist artist.

Montmartre Museum, 2-14 Rue Cortot
This 17th century townhouse sits on a hill that encompasses gardens and a large vineyard − the only one of its kind found in the city. As a testament to the history of Montmartre, this museum illustrates the area’s Bohemian past, with original artworks by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec and Modigliani.

Sights

- Le Moulin de la Galette, 83 rue Lepic
For anyone who didn’t know, moulin means windmill in French. Before the mid-19th century, Montmartre was filled with windmills and vineyards. During the mid-19th century, as Paris underwent a vast urban transformation, many working class citizens were forced to move beyond the city limits. It’s for this reason many of the windmills were taken over and converted to dance halls and cabarets as the once pastoral setting was quickly colonized by the city. The Moulin de la Galette is the last remaining on the hill. It has featured in many works of art, the most well know today being by Vincent Van Gogh and Auguste Renoir.

- The Montmartre Vineyard, 14-18 rue des Saules
Known as the Clos Montmartre, this little gem is the last remaining vineyard in Montmartre. It is found on the other side of place du Tertre from the Sacre Coeur and is situated on a slope, at the top of which, the Montmartre Museum can be seen standing. A festival to celebrate the harvest, called Fête des Vendages, will take place from the 9th to the 13th of October 2013.

Bars

La Guêpe, 14 rue des Trois-Frères, metro Abbesses
This bar-à-vin serves up light meals of French-style tapas with a selection of wine in a modest setting.

La Fourmi, 74 rue des Martyrs
Join the nonchalant hip crowd and unpretentious locals as they rub shoulders over half pints of pression at this favorite Parisian watering hole.

Restaurant

Miroir, 94 rue des Martyrs, metro Pigalle or Abbesses
This fashionable neo-bistro is a popular destination for a new generation of Parisian foodies, whose guide of choice the "Le Fooding" application, provides fresh in-the-know recommendations, and gives this bistrot top stars. Booking in advance is recommended. Evening Menu from €26-42. Closed Sundays and Mondays +33 1 46 06 50 73

Le Bal Café, 6 impasse de la Défense
A popular hangout for the bourgeois-bohemians, coffee geeks, and fashionistas, this photography gallery and café, found hidden down a quiet cul-de-sac, is as up to date as one can get in terms of its interior, presentation, and organic menu. English chefs, Anna Trattles and Alice Quillet, offer up an English bent to the vibrant food scene of the 9th and 18th arrondissements. Unfortunately like a lot of places in Paris, the kitchens are closed for August. They do, however, serve an excellent coffee.

For photography lovers, two large galleries exhibit internationally renowned artists. At the moment the poetic, slapstick black and white films of legendary film-maker Bas Jan Ader are on exhibit in the upper galleries. Tragically, Ader was lost at sea in 1975 while attempting to cross the atlantic in a small sailing boat. A well stocked photography bookshop offers a further excuse to while away your day in this chilled-out modern setting. Entry is 5€ or 4€ for students.

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