I didn’t expect to fall in love with Paris. In fact, I didn’t even plan on going during my first trip to Europe. It was only thanks to a seat sale and the promise of Christmas markets that I wound up in France’s capital city. Then, just a few short days later, I left completely and utterly in awe of the City of Love. But it wasn’t visiting the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre, exploring the Notre Dame or walking down the Seine that caused my surprise infatuation. No, I fell in love with the Montmartre neighbourhood where I was staying, which, to me, offers some of the best of Paris. I’ve now been back twice since my original visit, and Montmartre remains my favourite part of the city. Here’s why.
Montmartre Has Best View in Paris
Believe it or not, the best view in the city is not from the Eiffel Tower. Why? Because you can’t actually see the Eiffel Tower when you’re looking out from it, and it’s kind of an integral part of the city skyline.
So instead, head to the beautiful Sacre Coeur Basilica and look out from there. All of Paris is right in front of, including the Eiffel Tower (though depending on where you are standing, you may need to walk a bit to the right). For the best view, go at night to see everything lit up, and if you time it right, the Eiffel Tower will sparkle too. Oh, and did I mention the view here is completely free.
Find the ‘Real’ Paris on Rue Des Abessess
Eat the Best French Macarons…Ever
Ok so this might be a bit of a personal choice, but given my inability to say ‘no’ to any French macaron I like to think I might be a bit of an expert. After three trips to Paris and multiple macaron tastings later, I think that Christophe Roussel just might be the master of macarons. The shop is adorable, with rows upon rows of brightly fresh, colourful macarons in a number of different flavours. My personal favourite was the raspberry, but do yourself a favour and try a few, they are all delicious.
Christophe Roussel’s shop in Montmartre is located at 5 Rue Tardieu, very close to the steps leading up to the Sacre Coeur Basilica.
Visit the Moulin Rouge
OK, I know the Moulin Rouge is not at all off the beaten path but, I LOVE it. I’ve been twice now to see the show and each time get totally transfixed by the show. Part of why I love Montmartre so much is because, for me, it’s old world Paris. And, what’s more old-world Paris than this historic cabaret show?
If the Moulin Rouge is on your list, make sure to book your tickets in advance. When I first visited in 2011 I thought I could just show up (I got laughed at). You can book Moulin Rouge tickets in advance here.
Where to Stay in Montmartre
Montmartre is a great place to base yourself. There are a couple of metro stations in the area for seeing the rest of the city and, as I said above, it’s great for walking around and exploring on its own. Plus, it’s not as expensive as some of Paris’ other neighbourhoods. For any visitor to Paris, I highly recommend finding accommodation in Montmartre.
If you are on a budget try: Le Village Hostel (where I stayed)
For a midrange hotel try: The Mercure Paris Montmartre
For a higher end experience try: The Grand Pigalle Hotel
For More Paris Inspiration
- A Paris Market Food Tour with a local Chef
- A Night at the Moulin Rouge: is it Worth it?
- Falling in Love with Travel in Paris
- The Best of: Paris in 3 Days
*this post was updated in February 2018
*Disclaimer: This post does contain affiliate links. Should you book a tour or hotel through these links I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!