Localisation
  • Funiculaire de Montmartre, 7 rue Foyatier, Paris, 75018, France

Access

Montmartre
75018 Paris

  • Subway: Four lines of the Paris metro crisscross the neighborhood:
    Line 2 - Stations (Place de Clichy, Blanche, Pigalle, Anvers, Barbès - Rochechouart, Stalingrad and La Chapelle) ;
    Line 4 - Stations (Barbès - Rochechouart, Château Rouge, Marcadet - Poissonniers, Simplon and Porte de Clignancourt) ;
    Line 12 - Stations (Pigalle, Abbesses, Lamarck - Caulaincourt, Jules Joffrin, Marcadet - Poissonniers, Marx Dormoy and Porte de la Chapelle) ;
    Line 13 - Stations (Place de Clichy, La Fourche, Guy Môquet and Porte de Saint-Ouen).
  • Buses - Lines 30 31 54 67 74 80 85 95 also cross the area, as well as line 40 (formerly Montmartrobus), which is the only one to run on the Montmartre hillock.

Finally, the Petit-train de Montmartre also offers a guided tour of the Butte Montmartre in 14 steps

Address

Montmartre
Quartier Basilique Sacré-Coeur
75018 Paris

Coordinates Latitude Longitude
Sexagesimal (°, ', ") 48° 53′ 10″  N 2° 20′ 35″ E
Degré décimal (GPS) 48.88621 2.34293
Full description

Montmartre and its hill is a district of the 18th arrondissement of Paris (France) dominated by the Sacré-Coeur basilica. Since the 19th century, it is a neighborhood that has hosted many famous artists such as Picasso or Modigliani and has become the symbol of a bohemian lifestyle.

Does Montmartre name come from the Gallo-Romans or from a Saint martyr?

Historians have not decided about Montmartre and its hill.

In Gallo-Roman times, a temple dedicated to Mars (god of war) stood next to a temple dedicated to Mercury (god of commerce) on the site of the present-day church of Saint-Pierre. But also around 250 AD, Saint Denis was beheaded there with two other co-religionists, Rusticus and Eleutherus, after being martyred. Hence the double etymology (Mount of Mars and Mount of the Martyrs, victims of anti-Christian persecutions).

In the Middle Ages, the hillock of Mons Martyrium was a place of pilgrimage dedicated to Saint Denis, the evangelizer of the Parisians. To complete the sad story of Saint Denis, after having been decapitated on the Butte Montmartre, he would have walked carrying his head to the present site of Saint-Denis. On this site was built the Basilica of Saint Denis - almost 10 km. In the Basilica of Saint Denis (In the town of Saint Denis, at the northern limit of Paris) are the tombs of the Capetian Kings of France, desecrated during the Terror (Revolution) in 1793. The Basilica of Saint Denis can be visited.

In 1133-34, King Louis VI founded the royal abbey of the Ladies of Montmartre. They developed vineyards and mills there before the abbey was dismantled by the Revolution. Hence also in Montmartre the rue des Abbesses.

Montmartre and its hill during the Revolution of 1789

Montmartre became a commune of the department of the Seine in March 1790, at the time of the re-distribution of the territory, during the Revolution. This one was constituted with difficulty, because cut in two shortly before, by the wall of the octroi, or wall of the Farmers General.

During the French Revolution, the commune was temporarily named "Mont-Marat" after the revolutionary.

In 1840-1845, the construction of the Thiers wall divided the territory of Montmartre and its hill in two.

Later, during the extension of Paris by the annexation of the territory located between the Fermiers généraux wall and the Thiers enclosure, the commune of Montmartre was suppressed by the law of June 16, 1859 and its territory divided into two unequal blocks:

  • the larger part, located inside the Thiers enclosure, was attached to Paris within the 18th arrondissement, called "Butte-Montmartre" and divided among the 4 districts of Grandes-Carrières, Clignancourt, Goutte-d'Or and La Chapelle ;
  • the small remaining part, located outside the fortifications of the Thiers enclosure, is attached to the commune of Saint-Ouen, still today.

Montmartre and its hill are finally annexed by Paris in 1860

But in 1860, the part of Montmartre and its hill annexed in Paris, is not a district like the others: it is a historical district and not administrative.
Indeed, when it was integrated into Paris, the district was named "Quartier des Buttes-Montmartre" but it was made up of 4 sectors (administrative districts) which were "des Grandes-Carrières", "de Clignancourt", "de la Goutte-d'Or" and "de la Chapelle". As well as the Marais district, somewhere east of Notre Dame, Montmartre today has no precise geographical limit.

The highest point of Paris is in a cemetery in Montmartre

Montmartre and its hill are known for their narrow and steep streets and especially its long stairs. This very touristy area in the north of Paris is home to the highest point of the capital on the Butte Montmartre which is one of the gypsum mounds formed on both sides of the Seine. This highest point reaches 130.53 meters, altitude of the natural ground, located inside the Calvaire cemetery, which adjoins the Saint-Pierre de Montmartre church.

The evolution of the population of Montmartre and its hill

In 1133-1134, King Louis VI founded the royal abbey of the Ladies of Montmartre. Benedictine nuns, in place of a Cluniac priory under Saint-Martin-des-Champs, rue des Moines in Paris. At its creation, the abbey was endowed with agricultural land in the surroundings, a hamlet, paleochristian vestiges, the church of Saint-Pierre de Montmartre, an ancient necropolis halfway up the hill and a small chapel dedicated to the martyrdom of Saint-Denis, the Sanctum Martyrium. Together with the gardens and vineyards, its buildings formed a 13-hectare complex. It was in this chapel that Ignatius of Loyola and some others decided to found the order of the Society of Jesus in 1537, approved by a bull of Paul III in 1540.

However, during the siege of Paris in 1590, the moral laxity of the abbey was such that it was nicknamed by the Parisians, the "storehouse of the army whores".

In 1611, an underground crypt was discovered, the crypt of the martyrdom of Saint Denis, with some engraved inscriptions. It was thought that this was the place of the martyrdom of Saint Denis. The abbey was closed in 1790, sold in 1794 and demolished, except for the church, which remains the only vestige.

In the middle of the 18th century, the porcelain factory of Clignancourt, a hamlet dependent on Montmartre, was founded.

The population of Montmartre and its hill is first of all composed of wine growers, ploughmen and millers holding besides cabarets or guinguettes Sundays and holidays. The quarrymen of Montmartre, who were still open and working, also lived there, as well as thieves and vagrants from the big city. In the middle of the 19th century, this population became mostly cabaret owners, owners of guinguettes and tables d'hôtes, with a minority generally consisting of employees, workers, and small rentiers driven out by the Haussmann demolitions of Paris and attracted by rents and certain consumer products (without octroi duties to pay) that were cheaper than in Paris. This gentrification made it safer

The outbreak of the Commune insurrection in 1871

It was in Montmartre that the Paris Commune began in 1871, after Adolphe Thiers and his government wanted to recover the National Guard cannons that were stationed in the neighborhood. After the arrest and execution of two generals, one of whom commanded a brigade in charge of recovering them, several neighborhoods, including Montmartre, revolted: this was the beginning of the Commune, which lasted from March 18, 1871 until the Bloody Week at the end of May 1871.

As for Louise Michel, whose name is on a street in Montmartre, she was a revolutionary figure during the Communards' revolt of 1871. After the failure of this revolt, the survivors escaped abroad or were sentenced to exile in New Caledonia. This was the case of Louise Michel.

Montmartre: the center of the painters

In the 19th and 20th centuries, Montmartre became a flagship place for painting, including the Bateau-Lavoir or the Place du Tertre. It is artists like Camille Pissarro, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Theophile Alexandre Steinlen, Vincent van Gogh, Maurice Utrillo, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso ... Later, the painters gradually abandon the place, preferring to meet now in the district of Montparnasse located on the Left Bank at the other end of Paris.

In 1930, however, the "cité Montmartre-aux-artistes" was conceived and is still in operation. Located at 189 rue Ordener, in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, it consists of 180 studio apartments managed by the public office Paris Habitat, and is the largest in Europe. But 4 management associations are fighting over the allocation of apartments and studios, which are often given to people who have nothing to do with the artistic world.

Montmartre, a religious place of Paris

The hill of Montmartre is famous for the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. But it also shelters :

  • the church Saint-Pierre de Montmartre ;
  • the church Saint-Jean de Montmartre ;

and three religious communities :

  • the nuns of Notre-Dame du Cénacle, an international congregation born in 1826 in the department of Ardèche, present on the hilltop of Montmartre since 1890 ;
  • the Carmelites, cloistered contemplatives who share their days between the offices, meditation and manual work;
  • the Benedictine nuns of the Sacred Heart of Montmartre, contemplatives dedicated to prayer and "perpetual adoration" in the basilica (uninterrupted prayers 24 hours a day since 1885: men, women and children from all walks of life take turns 24 hours a day to recite a prayer without interruption, day and night. This prayer is the mission that the basilica received at its consecration: a mission of constant intercession for the Church and the world)

The show at Montmartre and its hill

In Montmartre, there are many theaters:

  • the théâtre des Abbesses, the second venue of the Théâtre de la Ville, dedicated to dance and music ;
  • the theater of the Manufacture des Abbesses, place of discovery and reception for the contemporary theater;
  • the performance halls on boulevard de Rochechouart: La Cigale, l'Élysée-Montmartre, Le Trianon, la Boule Noire, inspired by 19th century cabarets;
  • the Théâtre de l'Atelier, located on Place Charles-Dullin, one of the few 19th century Parisian theaters still in operation today;
  • the Moulin Rouge to the south;
  • the cabarets Le Chat noir and le Lapin Agile, frequented by many French artists at the beginning of the 20th century;
  • the Moulin de la Galette ;
  • Patachou's cabaret, the most famous cabaret in Paris in the 1950s and 1960s, where Georges Brassens made his debut and where Edith Piaf sang for the last time in public. Nowadays, the Roussard gallery and the Centre d'étude des peintres à Montmartre are located there;
  • the cabarets of the Place Pigalle;
  • the cinema Studio 28, created - as its name indicates - in 1928;
  • the Funambule Montmartre, a small theater with a hundred seats, opened in 1987 and hosts both comedies and more literary plays;
  • the Lepic theater, formerly Ciné 13 Théâtre, located on avenue Junot.

Montmartre and its museums

They are numerous for the small size of the sector:

  • The museum of Montmartre.
  • The Espace Dalí, dedicated to the works of the surrealist artist.
  • Dalida's house, rue d'Orchampt, and Dalida's place.
  • the house of Erik Satie.
  • the museum of Naïve Art - Max Fourny.

Other known places and events in Montmartre

  • The Place du Tertre, where many painters paint for the pleasure of tourists;
  • There are restaurants with preserved decorations of well known artists as well as a large art gallery
  • The Saint-Pierre market, a district of cloth merchants in the southeast.
  • The popular neighborhoods with a large immigrant population: Barbès (Maghreb) to the southeast, Château Rouge (Black Africa) to the east.
  • The Royal Asylum of Providence in Montmartre.
  • The cemetery of Montmartre.
  • The famous and much-sung rue Lepic with its café des 2 Moulins, made famous by the movie Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain.
  • The vineyard of Montmartre, rue Saint-Vincent, the most famous vineyard of Paris (there are others, notably in the Georges-Brassens park in the 15th district). Its wine is sold at a high price; the profit is used to support social institutions. It is overlooked by beautiful buildings from the 1920s.
  • The funicular of Montmartre, which allows to climb the hill without fatigue.
  • The place Émile-Goudeau, where the Bateau-Lavoir welcomed great painters.
  • The city Montmartre-aux-artistes.
  • The statue of the Knight of the Barre, victim of religious intolerance.
  • The Montmartre Harvest Festival, which gathers more than 500 000 people the second weekend of October every year.
  • La Halle Saint-Pierre, a museum dedicated to outsider art.
  • La Fémis (Fondation européenne des métiers de l'image et du son), a film school in the buildings of the former Pathé studios.
  • Kadist, interdisciplinary contemporary art organization with an international contemporary art collection.
  • Le jardin des Arènes de Montmartre : usually closed to the public, it hosts cultural events from time to time.
  • Place Marcel-Aymé, a sculpture made in 1983 by Jean Marais, adorning the wall of the street Norvins, in front of the house of Marcel Aymé, evokes the book Le Passe-Muraille.
  • Wall of I love you

The stairs of the "Butte Montmartre"

They are famous, tiring to climb. Some walkers suffer as they climb them. Others have sung about them ("They are hard on the poor, it seems..."). All those who have used them are rewarded by the view they could appreciate during their ascent:

  • The "departure" staircase at the bottom of the Butte and along the funicular is called "La rue Foyatier" after the sculptor Denis Foyatier (1793-1863). In fact, it extends the staircase which is called "Rue Suzanne Valadon" in its lower part and which starts on rue Tardieu. It allows to reach the lower station of the funicular.
    It makes more than two hundred and twenty steps and allows to reach almost the top of the Butte Montmartre, with the Place du Tertre and the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur. Note that there is a funicular for people with walking difficulties. It is also possible to go up to the Place du Tertre and the Parvis du Sacré-Cœur by several stairs in the Square Louise Michel.
  • But there are also many other stairs on the Butte Montmartre. You will certainly have the opportunity to take them during your visit. The list of these stairs is long. We have listed some of them below:
  • Staircase Paul Albert, "Littérateur
  • Stairs of the street Utrillo
  • Passage Cottin
  • Staircase of the rue du Chevalier de la Barre : It opens in front of the garden of Turlure, close to the Sacré-Coeur. You have to come at night to look at its cobblestones that turn into a starry sky. It is Alekan, chief operator and the sculptor Patrick Rimoux, who reproduced with optical fibers, the constellations of January 1st and July 1st.
  • Going down rue Lamarck, you come across the stairs of rue Becquerel.
  • On the other side of rue Lamarck, a pétanque court still frequented and another staircase, rue de la Bonne: there was one of the fountains of Montmartre whose water was famous.
  • A little further down, the stairs of the rue du Mont-Cenis. One of the longest of the Butte. It is more oriented to the north than to the east.

Note

Suzanne Valadon was first of all a model for the famous painters of the time (including Toulouse-Lautrec) but also a talented and recognized painter herself (exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York) and finally the mother of the equally famous painter Utrillo.

Famous people born in Montmartre

  • Albéric Magnard, composer.
  • Jean-Pierre Cassel, actor.
  • Vincent Cassel, actor.
  • Charles Friant (en), comic opera singer.
  • Jean Parfait Friederichs, general and baron of the Empire.
  • Jean Gabin, actor.
  • Gen Paul, painter.
  • André Malraux, writer and minister.
  • Jean Renoir, director.
  • Robert Sabatier, writer.
  • Michel Sardou, singer.
  • Maurice Utrillo, painter.
  • Virginie Lemoine, actress.
  • Fabrice Luchini, actor.

Famous people living or having lived in Montmartre and its hill

They are too numerous to mention. There are more than 100 actors, writers, painters, musicians, film or theater directors, etc. who have lived "on the hill" over the years and still do.

Montmartre in the movies

François Truffaut, who spent his childhood in the 9th and 18th arrondissements of Paris, filmed the neighborhood in his famous feature films: Les Quatre Cents Coups (1959), Baisers volés (1968), as well as in Le Dernier Métro (1980).

Sacha Guitry leads the spectator to the Place du Tertre to meet his painters and poets, in Si Paris nous était conté (1956),

The film Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen (2011) opens with a succession of still shots showing a Paris including the square of the Sacré-Coeur, the museum of Montmartre, without forgetting the Moulin-Rouge and the narrow streets of the neighborhood.

In the film Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain (2001) directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet with Audrey Tautou in the title role, is an original representation of an idealized and picturesque Montmartre. Worldwide success with more than 32 million admissions (including 9 million in France), 13 Césars, 5 Oscars. The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain attracts tourists from all over the world to the Café des 2 Moulins on rue Lepic to see the filming location with their own eyes.

In Paris, je t'aime, a French sketch film, each meeting taking place in a different district of Paris, the short film by Bruno Podalydès takes place in Montmartre.

Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge (2001), shows Christian, a young poet full of hope (Ewan McGregor). He moves to Montmartre and meets Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (John Leguizamo) who convinces him to write a play for the Moulin Rouge. Along the way, he falls in love with Satine, a courtesan played by Nicole Kidman.

The short film Le Rêve des Apaches by Hélie Chomiac (2021) is set in Montmartre in the early 20th century and tells the story of two Parisian thugs.

Montmartre and its hill in the songs

The district of Montmartre has been the subject of many songs for decades:

  • Mont' là-dessus, tu verras Montmartre : Lucien Boyer, 1924/25 (1st recording on 6/07/1923) then Colette Renard, 1957, (with Raymond Legrand and his orchestra).
  • Le Moulin de la Galette : Lucienne Delyle in 1946.
  • Place Pigalle : Maurice Chevalier, 1946.
  • Rue Lepic: Yves Montand, 1951.
  • Dance Montmartre: The Telecast Ensemble, Robert Farnon and his orchestra, 1961.
  • À Montmartre: Roger Rigal, 1954; Lina Margy, 1966.
  • La Complainte de la Butte : originally created in the film French Cancan by Jean Renoir, 1955.
  • Retour à Montmartre : Cora Vaucaire, 1955.
  • Montmartre : Frank Sinatra & Maurice Chevalier, soundtrack of the film Can-Can by Walter Lang, 1960.
  • Montmartre : Bernard Peiffer, 1960.
  • Faubourg Montmartre : José Darmon, 1964.
  • La Bohème : Charles Aznavour, 1965.
  • Montmartre : Georges Chelon, 1975.
  • La Butte à Picasso : Juliette Gréco with Jean-Michel Defaye and his orchestra, 1975.
  • Qu'elle est jolie la butte : Juliette Gréco with Jean-Michel Defaye and his orchestra, 1975.
  • La Fête à Montmartre : Jean-Roger Caussimon, 1979.
  • Abbesses : Birdy Nam Nam, 2005.
  • Place du Tertre : Bireli Lagrene, 2006.
  • La Maison rose : Charles Aznavour, 2015.
  • Là-haut : Hugo TSR, 2017.
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