The Butte-Sacre Coeur-Montmartre
Montmartre-the 18th Arrondissement
The basilica was designed by Paul Abadie. Construction began in 1875 and was completed in 1914. The basilica was consecrated after the end of World War I in 1919.*
The very best times to visit the top of the hill in the Montmartre commune is before 10:00 am or as the sun is setting over the city. The lines to see the inside of the beautiful basilica can be long, especially if you arrive later in the morning, but it is not to be missed.
The view from Sacre Coeur looking down on Paris was spectacular
Once you complete your visit to the Sacre Coeur, venture over to Place du Tertre a few steps away. In 1790, the commune of Montmartre first established it's town hall at no.3; and the Vieux Montmartre association was founded in 1920 at no.19. The Chez la mère Catherine cafe saw the birth of the word bistro in 1814. 'Bystro', (meaning 'quick' in Russian) was what the Russian soldiers used to shout in a hurry to down a drink before joining their ranks, 'a drink!' heard the waitresses. The adjacent Eglise Saint-Pierre de Montmartre has Roman remains from the Abbaye des Dames.*
Once in the main square of Place du Tertre you will see artists and their paintings. Some are quite good (and expensive) and some are not. There are outdoor restaurants, indoor restaurants, coffee shops (yes, there is a Starbucks..boo...I mean too!), and souvenir shops in this area. It gets quite busy around the noon hour. To me, the food in this district was just ok and a bit overpriced for what you get.
Walking out of this main square, you can wind your way through the small twisty streets to find unique areas where the locals hang out. If you get tired of walking, just hop on one of the many buses or metro trains that run in that area. Or better yet, stop and rest while you enjoy a glass of wine or espresso at a local cafe.
I loved the different styles of the buildings in the 18th. Below are a few of my favorite photos taken while walking around.. The tower in the photo was once the water storage for the city of Paris before Montmartre was included as part of the city.
Read more about the fascinating history here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montmartre
I met my friend Gilles, who lives in Paris, at the steps to Sacre Coeur and we spent a few hours in the 18th getting lost, chatting about this and that and having a nice lunch at one of the outdoor restaurants. We walked around, commenting on the local artists in the square as they painted and, of course, picked up a few souvenirs. It was so much fun to see him and share part of the day together. Below, he & Robert stand in front of Lapin Agile, a famous Montmartre cabaret, at 22 Rue des Saules, 18th arrondissement of Paris, France. https://francetravelplanner.com/go/paris/nite/lapin_agile.html
In the 15th century a village on the slopes of the hill was surrounded by vineyards, gardens and orchards of peach and cherry trees. This small vineyard in the Rue Saint-Vincent, continues the tradition of wine production in the Île de France; it yields about 500 litres per year and is all that remains of the original vines. Learn about how it came about: http://www.montmartre-guide.com/en/montmartre_stories/the-vines-of-montmartre/
Don't miss out on this wonderful part of Paris. You won't be disappointed. There is so much history, so much awesomeness, so much French!!!
*information from http://en.parisinfo.com/