Musings on Montmartre

After my trip to Frankfurt I arrived in Paris at tea-time on Friday 6th April 2018 for a one night stay, leaving mid-afternoon the next day.  I’d booked an Ibis hotel in the Montmartre area, about a 20 minute walk from the Gare de L’Est where I arrived.  The hotel was good value and the little I’d read about the Montmartre area sounded promising, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The Moulin Rouge (the cover photo), one of the most famous landmarks in the area is located in the Pigalle district, notionally a red light area but any of those activities were pretty well hidden and certainly nothing like the frankly scary Bahnhofsviertel I’d stayed in in Frankfurt.  It’s on the Boulevard de Clichy, a wide street with all manner of shops, bars and cafes on either side.  It was a very warm evening and I spent my time sat outside various bars, chatting mainly to other tourists and people-watching (a very worthwhile pastime in this area!).

The club itself is a cabaret and strip show and thought it might be fun to visit, until I saw the prices which seemed to start at 100 euro and rise sharply.  Still, it was an place to look at it with it’s distinctive red windmill.

The next morning I wandered around the back streets of Montmartre, all of which seemed to be lined by pretty Parisian cafes.  It really is a lovely area to get lost in – I had my general bearings though, keep walking upwards in the direction of Sacré Coeur, the grand white church at the top of the hill.

Sacré Coeur

You can take a cable car for the final ascent to the church but I was feeling athletic so climbed the steps – it really is a wonderful church, with the views over Paris spectacular.  The back streets around the church were heaving with tourists, who were prey for the multitude of caricature artists desperate to draw your likeness.  I turned down their various offers and just strolled around the area, gradually working my way back down the hill towards my hotel to collect my bag and head to the Gare Du Nord for my Eurostar back to London.

View of Paris from the hill by Sacré Coeur

I found Montmartre completely charming.  The area around Sacre Coeur is quite touristy but away from that it’s all delightful narrow cobbled streets and cafes.  I’ll be coming back here for a night at both the start and end of my long trip to France, Italy and The Alps in August 2018.

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