Paris: Montmarte Walk, Not to Miss

Looking down into Central Paris from Montmarte, the highest point in the city.

I used to get the Montmarte and Montparnasse neighborhoods mixed up.  That is until we  took a Viator guided walk through Montmarte, the highest point of the city and directly behind the Sacre-Coeur.  Montparnasse is the Left Bank neighborhood below St. Germain de Pres.

It’s hard to believe that until 1860 Montmarte was a small village surrounded by windmills. Van Gogh, Monet, Pissaro, and Renoir painted the

Walking Along in Montmarte

landscapes in the 1800s.  Later, artists Pablo Picasso, George Braque, and Juan Gris worked here; thus the area is sometimes described as the birthplace of Cubism. Our guide led us up long stair steps and through alleys to the houses where Van Gogh, Picasso and Degas lived.  At several points there was a clearing between the buildings, which enabled us to look down to the city Paris.  Of the fourteen original windmills, only two are left.  One has become the restaurant le Moulin de las Galette.   For centuries this area was the red light district of the city.  At times, windmills actually doubled as brothels.

 

When Montmarte was still countryside, Van Gogh and other artists came here to paint windmills.

 

Toulouse Lautrec came here to paint his risque dancers.  It’s not surprising that our tour began at the Moulin Rouge on rue Lepic.  The Viator walk ends in sacred manner at Sacre-Coeur, with is magnificent 180 degree view of Paris.  From that point, we walked down to the Place des Abbesses with its bohemian shops and cafes, and took the subway back to our hotel in St. Germain-des-res, just north of the Montparnasse neighborhood.

 

 

Toulouse Lautrec came here to paint his risque dancers.  It’s not surprising that  our tour began at the Moulin Rouge on rue Lepic.  The Viator walk ends in sacred manner at Sacre-Coeur, with its magnificent 180 degree view of Paris.  From that point, we walked down to the triangular Place des Abbesses with its bohemian shops and cafes, and took the subway back to our hotel in St. Germain-des-Pres, just north of the Montparnasse neighborhood.

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