3 Reasons Why I Fell in Love with Montmartre

By Elie - 1:58 PM

I'm back again for another piece of Paris talk! Having written about the 5 things I learned about Paris last month, I felt like I didn't give the city enough credit for its truly beautiful sides. And I'm not even talking the usual Eiffel Tower or a visit to the Louvre. No, I'm talking about the little village of... 


Montmartre

Set on the hills of the 18th arrondissement of Paris, Montmartre is best known for housing the Sacre Coeur Basillica and offers a gorgeous view of the city from above. Lined with cafes aplenty and cobblestone roads that will destroy the wheels of your luggage bags or strollers if any, the village of Montmartre gives out what's typically assumed of a European escapade. 

But seriously, that view though

There were 2 factors behind why I truly wanted to visit Montmartre - the first being that I was egged on by my mum who wouldn't stop talking about it. The 2nd was that I highly recall writing about the village when I was still freelancing for a travel site, though I sadly can't find that article today but it was enough to make me head on there. 

Having arrived close to sunset, I could definitely see why Montmartre became the place my mother said I had to visit no matter what. My other half and I even agreed that it was possibly the best thing we did while we were in Paris, as we absolutely fell head over heels for the village. And here's 3 reasons why.

IT'S JUST 30 MINUTES AWAY FROM THE CITY CENTRE

And you get a view like this!

Assuming you're visiting the village after a trip down to Champs Elysees, making your way to Montmartre only takes you 30 minutes on the Metro whether by line 2 (stopping at Anvers) or line 12 (stopping at Abbesses) with a switch in between. Because the public transport system in Paris runs on tickets and not distances once you've checked in, either trip will only cost you €1.90 despite the distance. 

This makes Montmartre the perfect escape when you're sick of the Paris' tall architecture of boring grey, because you literally feel like you've been transported to another city - or country even. Granted that the buildings around Montmartre was still grey-ish, I found it way more charming and you definitely feel more Parisian here.

Walking around Montmartre also feels a lot less dodgy than you would feel around Champs Elysees or the Eiffel Tower, but that doesn't mean it's quiet or that you can let your guard down with you belongings. My advice to care for your bag and other items remains, albeit maybe just a little less tense.


YOU CAN SEE IT FROM A DIFFERENT VIEW

By hopping on the Le Petit Train de Montmartre

Given how my other half can get fairly crazy about trains, I was quite excited to read up about the "Le Petit Train de Montmartre" aka "The Little Train of Montmartre". The 1-hour tour ride costs €6 per person at a go and it takes you around the village of Montmartre with the driver also doubling as your tour guide. They speak French and English, though the audio quality was slightly poor and we missed out on some of the things he tried to explain.

Nevertheless, I still found the guided tour extremely fun as we got to see the village in a way that we otherwise would have never been able to unless we were ready to climb what seemed like a billion flights of stairs. There were 2 routes for the train ride - though you're always welcome to just stay from start to finish or hop off midway through. 

For us, we got lucky as the train was nearly departing from the Sacre Coeur Basillica to Place Blanche, passing by spots like the Moulin Rouge and Espace Dali Museum. There were a number of people who got off at Place Blanche which was another Metro stop if you were done with Montmartre, but we stayed on all the way back to Sacre Coeur Basillica. I highly recommend this activity if you're not one who likes to walk a lot, or you just want to get a different view of Montmartre from the streets.


THE VISIT INTO THE SACRE COEUR BASILLICA

My photo does not do the church justice

As mentioned, the Sacre Coeur Basillica is perhaps Montmartre's biggest attraction ever. It sits atop the butte Montmartre - the highest point of Paris where you'll find one the best views of the city especially as night falls. But while you're there, don't just be looking over the city views! Because the church itself is gorgeous too!

Hello there, Sacre Coeur Basillica!

The church itself stands at 108-years old at the point when this blog post was written (2022), but you truly can't tell its age from the inside. Taking a whooping 39 years to build (1875 - 1914), the Sacre Coeur Basillica is Paris' second most popular landmark to visit, after the amazing Notre-Dame de Paris church in town.

And with an interior this gorgeous, it's hard not to see why

Entry to the church was also surprisingly free, unless you opt to hike up the viewing tower that will cost you €7 per person. Unfortunately by the time we visited the church, the viewing tower was also closed - though I'm not sure if it was due to Covid restrictions or its operating hours. Mass also still happens in the church on selected days, and needless to say, it's important to be mutually respectful eg. No pictures with flash, and be quiet while you're inside.

Bonus: You can also catch a tram up to the Sacre Coeur Basillica

If you're anything like me and despise walking up stairs, there's also the option of taking a 2-minute tram ride up to the Sacre Coeur Basillica. The ride costs €1.90 - or the equivalent of 1 public transport ticket, and you can use the same tickets as the Metro tickets, if you've purchased them in bulk!

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Unfortunately, we didn't spend half as much time as I would have loved to at Montmartre before the skies had gotten really dark. I'm sure I've missed out on checking out more of the village this time round as we'd only provisioned half a day to visit this spot. We did, however, agree that this gave us another reason to visit or maybe even stay the night here at Montmartre the next time we pop into Paris. 

Oh wait, was that me manifesting that we'll visit Paris again? Well, with Thalys rides taking just 3 hours from Amsterdam, I don't see why not! 

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