When I first got into Paris, I was a little disappointed. It could’ve been the jetlag (I didn’t sleep for the entire 12 hour flight), it could’ve been the stress trying to figure out the Charles De Gaulle Airport (that has been ranked the worst airport in the world, a number of times), or it could’ve been all the pouring, cold rain, but when I got there I thought, this isn’t Paris, this is a big cement city. Where are all the artists? Where were the boulangeries? Where were the markets? Where was the Eiffel Tower?!
But, after I was well rested and made my way into the city the next day, I was beginning to fall in love. I lived in the 14th district, a, in my opinion, a plainer, maybe “realer” district of Paris, but I fell in love with Paris over a period of time, (about 3 weeks).
If you’re looking for that romantic, rose colored buildings, the scenes from the movies, the artsy Paris, then make sure to visit Montmartre! It’s located up North in the 18th district and is home to the famous Moulin Rouge, the Sacre Cour, and lots of art history.
Once home to Picasso, Dali, and the rest of the gang, Montmartre gives you the Paris feel. Stroll the streets where Owen Wilson strolled in Midnight in Paris, or crack crème brulee where Amelie did at the Les Deux Moulins, lift your skirts at the Moulin Rouge, or sit back, relax and sip some cherry brandy at La Lapin Agile, a local, real cabaret experience.
Be sure to stroll the winding, hilly streets of Montmartre to see the flower markets, the boulangeries, the fromageries, and the artists painting outside, typically year round! For a nice souvenir they’ll paint your portrait!
There’s also nice antique shops, boutiques, and festivals, they even have a tiny vineyard and host a fall harvest fest each year (article soon to come!), for that romantic spring be sure to make Montmartre a stop on your itinerary.
A few things to keep in mind:
- Montmartre is very touristy you won’t get really real Paris, but you will get the Paris you expected.
- Montmartre is touristy which comes with scams and pick pocketing, a lot of it! Keep your purses close, wallets in your front pockets, avoid eye contact, and always say no! I have an article on Paris scams coming soon.
- Montmartre is very steep and hilly. If you’re with elderly folk, maybe take a cab up to the top.
- Montmartre is home to the red light district, which is not as bad as it seems, but be aware and alert at night in the metros and on the strip (the place with all the strip clubs and cabarets, yes this is where the Moulin Rouge is…) Moulin Rouge and safety article soon to follow!
- It will give you that move cinematic, old school Paris that you’ve dreamed of. It’s one of my absolute favorite districts and I love wandering its streets.