We’ll begin near the Abbesses metro, one of Montmartre's most central points, where we’ll learn about the area's religious background and its importance in the history of Christianity. Climbing the butte to the Moulin de la Galette, we'll reflect on how Paris' rapid urban growth in the 19th century pushed the city's boundaries until it pressed into the sleepy villages on its outskirts. By the time the 20th century arrived, convivial venues like the Moulin de la Galette sprang up in droves, making Paris famous for its nightlife. Immortalized by artists like Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, and Renoir, the Moulin de la Galette was once home to the down-and-out bohemians that lived here, giving it its radical reputation and making Montmartre the perfect place to contemplate the modern revolution taking place in art and society at the turn of the 20th century. (For a deeper look at Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists in Paris check out our Musee d'Orsay Tour.)
Continuing to the top of the hill, we'll stop at Sacré Coeur, the basilica that has since become the symbol of the quartier. With its Romano-Byzantine features, Sacré Cœur stands in sharp contrast to the Gothic architecture explored on our Notre Dame tour or at Saint Eustache, both visible from its belvedere. Now a gathering point for street musicians, the steps of Sacré Coeur are an excellent place to see the contrast between Montmartre's bohemian atmosphere and its religious history. Throughout our walk, we'll strive to put Montmartre into an urban and social context, painting a vivid portrait of the key figures who have made the dynamic neighborhood their home, causing a shift from provincial town, to religious epicenter, to bohemian paradise, and have in turn been inspired by its unique atmosphere.
Is this tour walking-intensive, and/or wheelchair accessible?
While we don't cover a large distance on the tour, Montmartre is a veritable hill, and we will be walking up stairs and inclines, as well as on cobblestoned streets. If you have mobility concerns, please feel free to contact us before booking; we can help you decide if our group walk or a private walk, with a modified route, will be best.
Will I get to see the Sacré Coeur basilica?
We will spend time at Sacré Coeur discussing its contribution to the neighborhood's overall narrative. Some guides do enter the cathedral; others don't. We often end nearby so that you can do a more in-depth visit on your own after the tour.
Where do we meet? Where does it end?
The walk begins and ends in the Montmartre neighborhood in the 18th arrondissement. Your confirmation email will have the exact meeting point details along with a map, and 24/7 phone number.
What if it’s raining?
Tours operate rain or shine, but in the case of inclement weather, your guide will modify the tour so more time is spent indoors. It never hurts to have an umbrella on hand.
Is this tour good for kids and teens?
Yes! We have some excellent family friendly guides who can appeal to the learning styles of children. We have a separate walk called Montmartre for Families just for families with children 12 and under. When booking, please provide us with information about your children such as favorite school subjects, and hobbies. This way we can match you with the best possible guide.
The daughter of a sculptor, Marie has been surrounded by art ever since she was born. A native Parisienne, she holds an undergraduate degree in history and art history, with a specialty in iconography and French and Flemish paintings from the 16th to the 18th centuries. She also holds a Master's degree in museology from the Ecole du Louvre and one in Art History from the Sorbonne. She currently works for the French National Art History Institute on special cultural events. Since she loves literature, ballet, theatre, opera, jazz clubs, and classical concerts—she has been playing the piano since she was 9—Paris and its artistic life are a perfect fit.
Originally from Canada, Lily Heise is a freelance travel writer who has been living in Paris since 2000. She holds a Fine Arts Degree from the University of Guelph and has extensive experience in tourism and culture having worked for several French universities, museums, cultural sites and previously in the office of Context Travel. Her writing has been featured on the Huffington Post, Business Insider, CondeNastTraveler.com, Frommer's print guides and online, DK Eyewitness, Fodor's and others. She is also the author of two books on looking for romance in Paris and runs an award-winning blog on Paris, travel and romance, <a href="https://www.jetaimemeneither.com">Je T'Aime, Me Neither</a>.
Marie Theres is a painter who has made Paris her home for more than two decades. She works in her studio in Montmartre and shows her paintings in galleries in Europe and the United States. She studied history at the University of Cologne, Germany and painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia before coming to Paris to study art history at the Ecole de Louvre. Her knowledge of art history is enhanced by her practical painting experience. Beyond a purely academic approach, this enables her to convey the emotional dimension of the artwork and to focus attention on the act of creation. She loves to share her passion for art and painting and is fascinated by the 19th-century artistic heritage of Paris, its art movements, and urbanism.
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