When the inhabitants of Paris talk about Montmartre, normally, they shake their heads: “It’s too touristy”, “It’s not like it used to be”, The artists are gone”, “It’s like Disneyland, a trap for the Japanese”, are the most common comments. And unfortunately in these judgments there is a lot of truth because this village within the metropolis it really has changed a lot. Yet, despite this, it would be a shame not to go up here, not to take a selfie on the steps of the cChurch of the Sacred Heart, eat a crepe, always too expensive, in place du Tertre and take a dutiful walk among the fake painters who offer charcoal portraits in front of the “made in China” t-shirt shops. Because the Parisians themselves then to the question “but then what are the things to see in Montmartre?” they stop grumbling.
And they tell you about beautiful things and many memories. Which it would be wrong to overlook.
What to see in Montmartre: the story of a village
Let’s take a step back then. Before merging with Paris in 1860, Montmartre it was an independent municipality. The name derives from the fact that here he would have been martyred St. Denis who, after being decapitated, took his own head and walking as if nothing had happened he arrived at a place where the cathedral was built, precisely of St. Denis (which in French is Saint Denis). The result was that arose a Saint-Denis the cathedral, a Montmartre the other church.
In the middle between the two points a road which in turn took the name of Rue des Martyrs. Legends, of course. But besides the things to see in Montmartre there are also stories like these. And they are worth remembering before starting the visit of the church built after Franco-Prussian War from 1870 as a symbol of hope. The style of the building is defined Neo-Romanesque Byzantine but the best judgment was given by the Parisians themselves by comparing it to one multi-storey wedding cake. Inside is a large organ used for concerts but perhaps the best part is the outside as you climb the further two hundred steps which lead to the top of the dome you can enjoy the most nice view on neighborhoods of Paris after the ones you have on top of the Eiffel Tower.
However, to get at least as far as the church, and enjoy all the things to see in Montmartre, there are two options: climb the many steps or take the funicular which since 1900, thanks to a small inclined wagon, allows you to avoid any effort.
What to see in Montmartre: the streets of the artists
Leaving the church you will be easily overwhelmed by the mass of tourists. Don’t resist: it’s useless. Rather let yourself be carried until, after a few tens of meters, you will arrive at theChurch of Saint-Pierre de Montmartrethe oldest church in Paris with that of Saint-Germain-des-Pres. It dates back to 1134 and is rightly a national monument. Next to it is the small cemetery which bears the same name and which unfortunately can rarely be visited. But by now you will have arrived in the heart of Montmartre or in the plaza du Tertrethe heart of what was the artists’ district.
It is not a figure of speech: some of the gods used to meet here painters now most famous in the world when they were young and penniless lured by a outlying village where you could live with little going from a cabaret to a shabby café. Now their names are a myth while the square is full of rubbish and invasive smears that will never receive the homage of a museum. And they get by giving this area its air of tourist trap. And, reluctantly, it catches the eye, that among the things it gives see in Montmartre there are many others recalling when these houses and cobbled streets hosted masters such as Picasso and Utrillo while on the other side of the city they arranged to meet the great writers. Self Paris it is a unique city it is also due to them.
Tourists and bohemians
Luckily, some of these are just a short walk away. One of them is the Montmartre museum which is located just up the hill in a house that had illustrious guests, including Renoir and which today houses a collection of works signed by those artists who at the time did not yet know what destiny of glory would await them. It is a particular museum because in addition to showcasing the works tells with the rooms, often set up with original pieces, what was the life of bohemian art of the time. A short distance away there is also a garden bearing the name of Renoir and which was frequented by the great artist who then with his paintings transformed forever the image of Normandy.
What to see in Montmartre: Dali, Picasso and the others
If this was one area of artists it should come as no surprise that the things to see in Montmartre often concern the life of great authors. it proves theEspace Dalia gallery dedicated precisely to the work of the master of Surrealism. It is the only permanent exhibition dedicated in the country to Salvador Dali and collects approx 300 works between sculptures, drawings but also furniture and objects. Even Dalì, like almost everyone, frequented this neighborhood where he became friends with characters such as Picasso, Miro And Man Ray.
The house of the artists
Scrolling through the guide of things to see in Montmartre, and before looking for the right rest in one brasseriesa citation is necessary local cemetery which is the third largest in Paris and is home to many celebrated names. Here rest the giants of literatureof the music and of painting French. And to understand it, just mention the names of Alexandre Dumas, Edgar Degas or Hector Berlioz and also of characters closer to us such as the director Scammer or the singer Dalida. Plus most of the tourists go to pay their respects to the Pere Lachaise to Jim Morrison. And therefore here it is more difficult to run into screaming masses of teenagers in love with rock legends.
To finish our journey we pay homage to sentiment. And to do that what could be better than Museum of Romantic Life? It was born in 1830 when the Dutch painter Ary Scheffer transformed his home, theHotel Scheffer-Renan, in a very busy meeting place with a lounge of the highest standard. In fact, artists such as George Sand, Frederic Chopin, Eugène Delacroix And Franz Liszt and each one has left traces of himself in this space dedicated precisely to the Parisian and French romantic scene. Everything is rarefied and delicate: you arrive at the museum via a tree-lined avenue flower bushes and the walls of the house are filled with works by famous artists.
But basically, we are at Montmartre and then a Paris. And so this hymn to feeling and love is in just the right place.