The winding, cobbled streets and crooked buildings of Montmartre have inspired artists for over two hundred years. Formerly a village on the outskirts of Paris, Montmartre's unique atmosphere remains a tranquil contrast to the hustle and bustle of the greater city. And from the last quarter of the 19th-century to the outbreak of WWI, it was the heart of bohemian and artistic life, with such illustrious inhabitants as Renoir, Van Gogh, and Picasso. So why did these artists want to live at the top of a hill? Were they all friends? Who did they paint? Our 2.5-hour Montmatre For Kids tour, led by a scholar trained in guiding in Paris with kids, follows in the footsteps of these artists and their cohorts, discovering the history behind the storied neighborhood through the colorful and unusual experiences of the legendary creatives who lived there.
Montmartre For Kids Tour
Why does Montmartre feel different from the rest of Paris? From its beginnings as a Roman city, Paris has always grown at a swift pace. Pushing out from the center, the city was soon butting heads with the neighboring villages that were formally on its outskirts. As the city approached, Montmartre's windmills and small-town atmosphere receded. Creatives—namely artists—flocked towards the cheaper rents on the steep slopes of the butte Montmartre. Lively cafés and cabarets sprung up to accommodate them, namely the Moulin de Galette, creating Montmartre's legendary festive atmosphere. Here, artists like Renoir captured the vivacious spirit of the quartier, or neighborhood. Incorporating interactive games or close observational activities, we will engage with this captivating history.
Tracing a path through the twisting streets, we may see where Picasso or Toulouse Lautrec once spent hours creating paintings and drawings inside their art studios. Perhaps we will see where Van Gogh or Suzanne Valadon lived. Connecting the sites of their former haunts with visuals of their work, we will build a picture of both their art and the daily lives as 19th-century Parisians. We might sit down for a hot chocolate at one of Modigliani’s favorite cafes or pass by a popular cabaret where the artists would spend their evenings together. With our sketchpads in hand, we will stop to artistically interpret these sights for ourselves. As we create our quick freehand sketches, we will build a connection to our artist friends, visiting some exact sites where the artists painted or wrote about in their letters and journals.
"We absolutely adored the tour—this is our third Family Walk with Context and it's the best one yet! Our docent was wonderful with all of us, especially the kids, and we all learned so much about Montmartre's history. I would recommend the tour without exception."
As we stroll through these magical cobblestone streets, we will gain insight into the artists’ lives and the era, but also about their styles and how art developed. Coming away with an understanding of Montmartre's development from small village to bohemian hub, we will hopefully leave our “young artists” with a desire to explore their own creativity and curiosity to discover more about the intriguing characters who have made Montmartre historic.
In addition to our family program tours, we may be able to adapt certain other tours to the needs of families, though please note such adaptations would not incorporate special activities. Please contact us for more details.
Do my children need to have any prior knowledge of art to take this tour?
Absolutely not. But if your children have an interest in art, you may like to begin with our Orsay with Kids
tours which provide age-appropriate exploration of some of the movements of this period.
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.