Walking Tour: Mythic Montmartre

  • Start Abbesses metro station
  • End place du Tertre
  • Length 1km; one hour

Begin on place des Abbesses, where Hector Guimard’s iconic art nouveau metro entrance (1900) still stands. Deep underground, beneath a maze of gypsum mines, it's one of Paris’ deepest metro stations. Learn how to say 'I love you!' in another language or 10 with Le Mur des je t'aime, hidden in a park, Sq Jehan Rictus, on place des Abbesses.

Head up passage des Abbesses to place Émile Goudeau. At No 11bis you’ll find Le Bateau Lavoir, where Max Jacob, Amedeo Modigliani and Pablo Picasso – who painted his seminal Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) here – once had art studios.

Continue the climb up rue Lepic to Montmartre’s two surviving windmills: Moulin Radet (now a restaurant) and, 50m west, Moulin Blute Fin. In the 19th century, the latter became the open-air dance hall Le Moulin de la Galette, immortalised by Renoir in his 1876 tableau Bal du Moulin de la Galette (in the Musée d’Orsay).

Just north, on place Marcel Aymé, you'll see a man pop out of a stone wall. This Passe-Muraille sculpture portrays Dutilleul, the hero of Marcel Aymé's short story Le Passe-Muraille (The Walker Through Walls). Aymé lived in the adjacent building from 1902 until 1967. Continue along rue Girardon to Sq Suzanne Buisson, home to a statue of St Denis, the 3rd-century martyr and patron saint of France beheaded by Roman priests.

After passing by Cimetière St-Vincent you’ll come upon celebrated cabaret Au Lapin Agile, with a mural of a rabbit jumping out of a cooking pot by caricaturist André Gill. Opposite is Clos Montmartre, a vineyard dating from 1933, whose 2000 vines produce an average of 800 bottles of wine each October.

Uphill is Montmartre’s oldest building, a 17th-century manor house. One-time home to painters Renoir, Utrillo and Raoul Dufy, it’s now the Musée de Montmartre. Continue past composer Eric Satie’s former residence (No 6) and turn right onto rue du Mont Cenis; you’ll soon come to historic Église St-Pierre de Montmartre. End on busy place du Tertre, the former main square of the village.