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Montmartre: Tours and Guided Visits

Montmartre is a famous district in Paris that is well-known for its artistic history and bohemian lifestyle. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many famous artists and writers resided in the neighborhood, including Picasso, Vincent van Gogh and Oscar Wilde.

Today, the district is home to a number of most popular tourist attractions, including the Sacré Coeur Basilica and the Moulin Rouge.

Visitors can also enjoy striking views of the city from the top of the hill. Whether you’re interested in art or just want to experience a different side of Paris, walking tours in Montmartre are worth participating in.

Where is Montmartre located?

Montmartre is a tall hill that sits in the city center and overlooks the rest of Paris. It is located in the 18th arrondissement and is easy to reach from anywhere in the city.

Lines 2 and 12 will take you within close proximity of Sacré Coeur. On Line 2, the closest station to the basilica is Anvers, however, Blanche and Pigalle stations also bring you to the district. If you're taking Line 12, depart at the Abbesses station which will lead you out to the Wall of Love.

What are the best things to do in Montmartre?

Sacré Coeur

The colossal Sacré Coeur Basilica sits atop Montmartre, offering far-reaching views of Paris below. But Sacré Coeur is more than just a pretty landmark — it's steeped in history. Construction on the church began in 1875, just a few years after the end of the Franco-Prussian War.

The war had been a devastating blow to France, and the citizens were looking for a way to lift their spirits. They decided to build a grand church dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as a symbol of hope and regeneration.

The church took over 40 years to build and was finally completed in 1914. Today, Sacré Coeur competes with the Eiffel Tower for the best view of the city, and you can visit its dome which is 200 meters above the River Seine.

You can peek inside the basilica for free and it's open to the public between 6:30 AM and 10 PM every day.

Moulin Rouge

The original Moulin Rouge was built in 1889 as a cabaret theatre, and it quickly became known for its lavish stage shows and high-profile clientele. In the early years, the Moulin Rouge was particularly popular with artists and writers, who were drawn to its bohemian atmosphere.

Unfortunately, a fire destroyed the building in 1915, but it was rebuilt with its iconic red windmill on top.

Today, the Moulin Rouge is best known for its world-famous can-can show, which is performed nightly in front of a packed audience. You'll be swept up into a whirlwind of sequins, feathers and rhinestones as the cabaret whisks you away to far-off shores.

Montmartre Vineyard

The Vineyard of Montmartre hides behind La Maison Rose, and many tourists would miss it on their walk through the district. The vineyard is a surprising sight in the middle of the city and is the last of its kind in Paris.

The site was created by the City of Paris in 1933 as an attempt to stop developers from buying up land in Montmartre. It is small in comparison to other vineyards and takes up just 0.15 hectares. Despite this, it produces 27 different varieties of wine from the annual 500 liters that the grapes provide.

There is a festival around the time of the grape harvest, called La Fête des Vendanges. Visitors are welcome to explore the grounds during this time and enjoy concerts, parades and cooking classes on-site.

Place du Tertre

Place du Tertre is located in the heart of the Montmartre district and has been a gathering place for artists and locals since the 17th century. The square was once home to a large community of artists, including Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso.

Today, it is a highly coveted location for hopeful painters, some of whom wait up to 10 years to gain a spot on the prominent square. Visitors can browse the work of local artists, enjoy a meal at one of the many cafes or simply take in the vibrant atmosphere.

What are the best tours to visit Montmartre?

Montmartre 2-hour walking tour

Walking tours in Montmartre begin at the home of the can-can dance — the "Moulin Rouge," which grew in fame after the 2001 movie featuring Nicole Kidman. You'll journey up the hill towards the shining white beacon of Sacré Coeur de Montmartre, which translates to "sacred heart of Montmartre."

You'll take a trip to Bohemian Artists' Square and explore the neighborhood where some of the most famous artists, such as Monet lived. You'll travel through several other sites including the Red Light District and iconic cabaret bars.

Montmartre cheese, wine and pastry tour

Paris is known for its delectable cuisine and is most notable for its fragrant cheeses, rich wines and flaky pastries.

On this Montmartre food tour, you'll travel to the last authentic vineyard in Paris, explore iconic windmills and see the lively Moulin Rouge on your tour. While seeing these world-famous sites, you'll also stop in at Parisian food outlets and enjoy tasty morsels along the way.

Romantic Montmartre: Lost lovers in Paris exploration game

This Montmartre walking tour is an exciting and fun way to see the city through an app on your phone. You'll start at Blanche metro station to begin the game which leads you on a whirlwind interactive experience of the Montmartre neighborhood.

The app will tell you a tale about the area, as you travel to its iconic monuments and hidden gems. The game is a hybrid of a walking tour, treasure hunt and escape room, and is a unique way to see the city on foot.

Montmartre free walking tour

A Montmartre free walking tour visits all of the usual favorite tourist hotspots in the Montmartre district, including the striking Basilica of Sacré Coeur. You'll stop at the Moulin Rouge, the House of Van Gogh and the Café des Deux Moulins which was made famous by the movie "Amélie."

You'll also take a peek at one of the oldest churches in Paris, the Wall of Love and the last vineyard in Paris. The difference between this Montmartre walking excursion and others is that this almost three-hour tour is free.

What are the prices of Montmartre tours?

Two-hour tours in Montmartre cost €16 and include a knowledgeable guide to escort you around the area.

Food tours of the Montmartre district include a professional guide and tasters of traditional French treats. The tour lasts three hours and costs €99.

App-led tours of the city cost €9.99 and include the exploration game, as well as 24/7 customer support.

Free Montmartre walking tours have no set fee. Instead, you pay however much you believe the tour to be worth. You'll have a guide for the duration of the experience which lasts almost three hours, and when the tour is over, simply hand over as much cash as you like.

Where do Montmartre tours start?

Walking tours in Montmartre usually begin near the Blanche metro station. You'll meet your guide either directly outside the station or at an obvious landmark opposite. You may also meet outside the Moulin Rouge, which is the first stopping point for most tours.

Your tour operator will usually be wearing something that clearly defines them, such as a brightly colored t-shirt or high-visibility jacket.

When is the best time to visit Montmartre?

Montmartre is a busy destination in the city. As such, it's a good idea to avoid the late morning and early afternoon when tourists flock to the steps.

Consider visiting Sacré Coeur and the surrounding landmarks around 9 AM. This is before the tour buses arrive, and it will guarantee you a quieter experience, as well as time to properly peruse the monuments.

Alternatively, experiencing a Parisian sunset from the top of Montmartre hill is a dazzling sight, as the skies color the city with a rosy glow.

The best time to book your walking tour in Montmartre is your first or second day in the city. You'll visit several of the most famed spectacles in Paris and gain a greater understanding of the city's background.

Travel tips

  • Book a late afternoon tour in order to escape the heat and experience an unforgettable sunset from Sacré Coeur.
  • Walking tours in Montmartre last between two and three hours. Make sure you have plenty of water and comfortable shoes to enjoy the outing.
  • If you're taking part in a free walking tour, be advised that the recommended amount to tip is between €10 and €15. However, many tourists pay their guide anything from €5 to €50.