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Amelie is one of my all time favourite movies, so Montmartre was always meant to hold a special little place in my heart. Whilst this is a perfect neighbourhood to lose yourself in, you may want to take note of some of the picture perfect spots that I recently discovered when I spent a delightful day walking in and around this area.
I began my exploration from the Blanche metro station (line 2 navy). From there, head north on Rue Lepic. On your left, you will find the Amelie cafe, Tabac des Deux Moulins, at #15. I must say I was underwhelmed. Perhaps it was too early and quiet in the day, or missing the pixie-like charm of Audrey Tautou, or I was simply itching to continue my investigation of the quaint cobbled streets ahead of me. Whatever the case, I did not linger but instead continued, following the uphill left curve of Rue Lepic.
At #83, again on my left, I encountered a small crowd of other tourists clamouring for photos of the still operational windmill turned dancing club, Moulin de la Galette. The sunlight was not in my favour, so instead of photographing the windmill, I decided to capture the inviting front courtyard.
At the cross section, turn left onto Rue Girardon. Across the street on the right, there is a sculpture of a man trapped in a wall, based on Marcel Ayme’s story Le Passe Muraille (The Walker through Walls). You can read his story here.
Keep walking down the road, then turn left onto Rue de l’Abreuvoir. Stop here to catch your breath as right ahead is, in my opinion, one of the best views in all of Paris. So entranced was I by this narrow windy lane lined by vine-wrapped stone houses and a tantalising peek at the Sacre Coeur in the distance that I stood in the same spot for almost half an hour, waiting for that opportune moment when the glaring sun finally hid momentarily behind a cloud and all tourists and traffic had dispersed for long enough to let me take this shot.
When you’re ready to tear yourself from the view, walk down Rue de l’Abreuvoir and turn left onto Rue des Saules. The last remaining vineyard in Paris is to your right. Au Lapin Agile, an old haunt for local artists, is at #26
Turn right onto Rue Lamarck, then right again onto Rue de la Bonne. Climb up the stairs towards the Sacre Coeur, then take another right turn onto Rue St Vincent. Turn left up the stairs of Rue du Mont Cenis, then right onto Rue Cortot. Admire the charming homes and perhaps visit the Musee de Montmarte at #12. Composer Erik Satie once lived at #6.
Walk to the end of Rue Cortot and voila! You are back on my favourite little laneway, Rue de l’Abreuvoir. I don’t know why, it was like magic when this realisation dawned on me. I think this lane is just as beautiful from the opposite direction.
Next, turn left onto Rue des Saules, turn left again at the end of the road and then hook right immediately onto Rue Poulbot. You are now in the bustling main tourist area, where you will find all sorts of souvenirs, artworks and cute cafés. There is a museum showcasing some work by surrealist painter Salvador Dali at #11. At the end of Rue Poulbot, turn left onto Rue Calvaire to reach Place du Tertre.
I’m not fond of crowds so I didn’t spend too long at this busy square, instead opting to turn east onto Rue Azais towards the gleaming white jewel in the crown, the Sacre Coeur.
After you’ve admired the interior, walk down the steps of the Sacre Coeur, pausing at the top of the park to savour the panoramic views of Paris. Walk down the steps and though the park, then turn right onto Rue des Trois-Freres. Walk roughly 10 minutes until you reach the overpass at Rue Caulaincourt. Turn left onto the overpass, and just beyond that, turn left down the stairs towards the entrance of the Cimetiere de Montmartre, where you can find the final resting places of Alexandre Dumas, Edgar Degas and Emile Zola, amongst others.
Exit the cemetery from where you entered and turn left via Avenue Rachel onto Boulevard de Clichy. You will see the red windmill of the Moulin Rouge on the left just before you wind up back where you started this morning, at Blanche metro station.
I hope you enjoy your exploration of this arty and boho part of Paris as much as I did. If you deviate off the course outlined above, do let me know about any other hidden little picturesque spots in the area that I absolutely must discover for myself next time I’m there!
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