Free Self-Guided Walking Tour Of Montmartre, in Paris

White domes of the Sacre-Couer in Montmartre in Paris

If you’d love to explore the legendary Montmartre area of Paris and don’t know where to go and what to do, you need this self-guided walking tour of Montmartre.

Why be held back by a slow group tour if you can find your own way and go at your own pace, without missing out on key information and local stories?

My FREE self-guided walking tour of Montmartre gives a manageable route that will take you to the main sights and prettiest streets, highlighting things to do along the way, plus places to eat. I’ve even thrown in a suggestion of where to stay in Montmartre.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. These are links to products or experiences I recommend and if you were to buy something after clicking on them, I might earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Any earnings go towards the upkeep of this blog, which I appreciate.

Is Montmartre Worth Visiting?

I definitely recommend it! It’s a charismatic area of Paris. I made a point to visit Montmartre on my first visit to Paris – and I’ve been back many, many times since. I think it’s one of the most romantic things to do in Paris for couples – but I’ve also really enjoyed it with friends and when travelling in Paris solo. Montmartre is for everyone!

A big part of the appeal of Montmartre is its cultural story; the role it has played in Paris’s history. Between 1872 and 1914, it was the beating heart of the Belle Époque, the golden age of art and innovation in Paris and across Europe. It was a bohemian hotspot and many artists, writers and performers lived and/or worked in Montmartre, where the rents were low. Among them were Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh.

Montmartre was once a hilltop village outside the city limits of Paris. And even though it has been a long time since it was enveloped by the city, it retains a quaint village feel, with its narrow cobbled streets and some cute cottages. There are even a couple of windmills and a small vineyard that remains!

And during Springtime, Montmartre is one of the places you can see cherry blossoms in Paris.

Paris rooftops with the tall domes of the Sacre-Couer on a hilltop
The elegant white domes of the Sacre-Couer on the butte of Montmartre

The hilltop location adds another reason to explore Montmartre: its elevated status gives some great views over Paris. The best is from the Basilica of Sacré Cœur de Montmartre, which sits like a gleaming white crown atop the butte of Montmartre.

Overall, Montmartre is a great part of Paris to explore. In fact, wandering Montmartre on foot it’s one of the things I suggest you do even if you only have a small amount of time in Paris. It features in my Paris 4-day itinerary, my Paris two-day itinerary and even my Paris one-day itinerary!

What You’ll See On This Self-Guided Walking Tour Of Montmartre

A few of the Montmartre highlights you’ll discover on this walking tour:

  • The beautiful Basilica of Sacré Cœur de Montmartre
  • Place du Terte, the beating heart of Montmartre
  • Picture-perfect bohemian cafes including La Maison Rose & Le Consulat
  • Pretty cobblestone streets including Rue de l’Abreuvoir & Escalier du Calvaire
  • Artistic landmarks, including Musée de Montmartre & Le Bateau-Lavoir
  • Montmartre’s tiny vineyard, Vigne du Clos Montmartre
  • Contemporary monuments, including Wall of Love & Le Passe-Muraille
  • Peaceful parks, including Square de la Turlure & Square Suzanne Buisson
  • One of the classic Parisian cemeteries, Cimetiere de Montmartre

Self-Guided Walking Tour Of Montmartre in Paris

I’ll step you through this self-guided walking tour of Montmartre, describing the route and also the things to do in Montmartre along the way. However, there’s also an interactive map at the end of this article to help you find your way around.

How long does it take to walk Montmartre? In total, there are around 50 minutes of pure walking, but of course, it will take longer than that as you’ll be stopping to look at and do things along the way. I’d suggest you give yourself a couple of hours to do this walk.

Heads up: this route includes some hills! There is one place where you can avoid a steep incline by taking a funicular, but it’s hard to avoid some steepness altogether, so be aware there are slopes and steps involved.

1. Start: Anvers To Sacré-Cœur

Our walking tour of Montmartre starts at Anvers Metro station because it is the closest Metro to the most spectacular landmark in Montmartre, Sacré-Cœur. Anvers station has one of those classic Art Nouveau Metro entrances, so the first thing you do might be to admire that for a moment.

green Art Nouveau style entrance to the Metro at Anvers
Anvers Metro station

After that, head uphill along souvenir shop-heavy Rue de Steinkerque toward the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. At Place Saint-Pierre, you’ll be at the bottom of the gardens below Sacré-Cœur, and you could find a nice spot to photograph the basilica with the old-school fairground rides in the foreground.

You can either continue to walk up the hill, through Square Louise Michel OR you could take the easy route via the funicular to the left of the gardens (this costs the same as a single ticket on the Metro: €2.15 each way). Either way, you’ll end up at the top of the hill on Place du Cardinal Dubois, which is right in front of the basilica.

white domes cathedral seen through trees with a fairground in front of it
Sacré-Cœur Basilica

The iconic Neo-Byzantine-Romanesque-style Sacré-Cœur sits on the summit of the butte of Montmartre. From the graceful white dome, on a clear day, it is possible to see all of Paris and the surrounding countryside for fifty km around. It is the second-most visited monument in Paris, after the Eiffel Tower.

Things to do around Sacré-Cœur

  • Admire the view over Paris. From Place du Cardinal Dubois, you get a southward vantage point
  • Admire the Basilica in all its gleaming travertine glory – it is impressive both outside and inside (and entrance is free)
  • Climb up into the elegant dome. For a fee and after you’ve climbed 300 steps, you will discover even better panoramic views over Paris
  • Enjoy the perspective-bending view of the ‘sinking buildings’ on Rue Lamarck – a classic photo op is to line the camera up with the steep hillside instead of the houses.
patterned white domes of the basilica de sacre-couer in Montmartre in Paris
The iconic domes of the Sacré-Cœur Basilica

2. Rue de la Bonne & Square de la Turlure

Once you’ve had your fill of the Sacré-Cœur, you might be tempted to follow the crowds westward down Rue Azais or Rue du Chevalier de la Barre towards the famous Place du Tertre. But resist!

Don’t worry, this walking tour of Montmartre will bring you to Place du Tertre, but later on.  First, we’re headed to slightly the less touristy northern part of Montmartre, starting with a small city park behind Sacré-Cœur: Square de la Turlure (also known as Marcel Bleustein Blanchet Square).

To get there, walk all the way around the basilica and onto Rue de la Bonne, where you’ll find the park on the right-hand side. This small, attractive park has a nice arched walkway and some places to sit, but the main thing I like about it is the view of Sacré-Cœur from the back. It’s a view I haven’t seen often, with the campanile (belltower) very prominent.

view of the bell tower and domes of sacre-coeur in Paris, from a park with arched walkway
Sacré-Cœur from a different vantage point

Walk a bit further down Rue de la Bonne and you’ll come to a corner with a view down the hill, over apartment buildings and courtyards. The last time I was here, I paused for a while to watch some people play pétanque down there.

3. Rue Saint-Vincent To La Maison Rose

Head left down Rue Saint-Vincent, which is a handsome street with some more viewpoints, attractive squares and staircases.

long set of steps with street lamps and graffiti on the steps
Escalier du Mont-Cenis in winter

Soon you’ll come to a junction with Rue des Saules. On the right is Lapin Agile, a 19th-century cabaret bar. This place was in the centre of artistic Paris at the turn of the century and became a favourite spot for struggling artists and writers, including Picasso and Modigliani.

On the left, you’ll find what looks like a garden, but is actually a vineyard, Vignes du Clos Montmartre, which still produces wines from a variety of grapes. Unfortunately, it’s closed to the public, but it is interesting to see the oldest vineyard in Paris, even though you can only look at it from the street.

vines and flowers in an old vineyard in Montmartre
Vignes du Clos Montmartre

Head up Rue des Saules and on the right, soon you’ll find a popular spot in Montmartre: La Maison Rose was another artist’s hang-out at the turn of the 20th century, and also in the 1960s and 70s. This pink café/restaurant with pint-green shutters is an Instagram favourite due to its picturesque exterior and pretty pavement seating area. This could be a good spot to take a break and get some refreshments if you need them. In spring and summer, it will be very popular for brunch, so you might be best to book ahead. However, if you come on a Monday or Tuesday, it won’t be open.

pink cafe with green shutters
La Maison Rose

From here, our walking route continues down Rue de l’Abreuvoir, but you could detour to Montmartre Museum.

It’s a small museum, which tells the story of bohemian Montmartre in the 19th and 20th Centuries, with lots of Art Nouveau prints and classic Toulouse Lautrec posters and artefacts, including details about the rise of the Can-can dance. It also has a preserved studio of artist Suzanne Valado; a cafe and a lovely garden, which has a view over Vignes du Clos. I’ve been a couple of times and really enjoyed it.

4. Rue De l’Abreuvoir

La Maison Rose is at the top of Rue de l’Abreuvoir, widely touted as one of the most beautiful streets in Paris. And they’re not exaggerating. This cobbled street has a number of charming pink and ivy-clad cottages along it.  However, if you reach the bottom and you’re not impressed with it, turn around and look back up the hill.

Not only is the curved cobblestone street lined by those quaint buildings, but the domes of the Sacré-Cœur are visible just beyond it – it’s so quaint and gorgeous.

cobbled street curves uphill towards a pink building and the towers of the sacre-coeur in montmartre
Rue De l’Abreuvoir

The best place to appreciate the view of Rue de l’Abreuvoir is from Place de Dalida, the corner of the street where there’s a small bronze bust. This is Buste de Dalida, a tribute to one of France’s most popular singers. She lived in Montmartre until her tragic death in 1987.

bronze bust of a woman with fabulous long hair
Buste de Dalida

There are some steps from here down to Place Constantin Pecqueur, from where you could take another detour and check out handsome Rue Calaincourt, if you like. But if you want to stick with my route, you’ll be turning into one of the remaining (for now!) quiet corners of Montmartre next…

5. Allée des Brouillards, Square Suzanne Buisson & Place Marcel Ayme

From Place Dalida, take the pedestrian passageway next to a gated garden. Its sign isn’t that obvious, but it is signposted as Allée des Brouillards. It’s a short passageway, but quite pretty and I don’t normally see many other people on it, so it still feels ‘lesser known’ (I won’t say ‘hidden gem’, because that will be over-promising!). Once you’ve walked down it, if you look back the way you’ve come, you should be able to see the bell tower of the Sacré-Cœur, above the treetops.

Allée des Brouillards ends in some cute, ivy-clad steps at Place Casadesus, where you will see the entrance to a park.

Suzanne Buisson Square a small park, which is a good spot to sit and simply soak up the vibes of Montmartre. It has a nice fountain, some seating and a pétanque terrain (I had to look that up: it’s the name for the area pétanque is played). If you need a rest by this point, this is a good place to do it.

Whenever you leave the square, head to the junction of Rue Giradon and Avenue Junot. There’s a detour you could take down Avenue Junot to peek at Villa Leandre, another of the prettiest streets in Paris, in my opinion.

And in Place Marcel Ayme, there’s a quirky statue that appears to be emerging from within the wall, Le Passe-Muraille. There are also some cherry trees here, which are so pretty when in bloom.

The southern end of Rue Girardon has Theatre Lepic. And right at the end, you’ll find Le Moulin de la Galette, a restaurant made famous by the Renoir painting Bal du moulin de la Galette. This is a great place to grab lunch if you’re here around lunchtime.

restaurant entrance below a wooden windmill
Le Moulin de la Galette

The restaurant is named for the 17th-century windmill, whose owners were famous for their galette bread.

6. Rue Lepic To Place Du Tertre

At Le Moulin de la Galette, turn right along Rue Lepic. This will curve to the left as you head uphill. Where it comes to a junction, you’ll see a small octagonal building called La Commanderie Du Clos Montmartre, a pretty but decommissioned water tower.

Head right here along Rue Norvins and soon you’ll be in a quaint cluster of establishments including a shop selling old prints called Galerie Butte Montmartre the very picturesque Le Consulat cafe. This is another place that is frequently found on ‘cutest in Paris’ lists and it claims past patronage from artists including Picasso, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec and Monet.

It will likely feel busier here: you’re heading into the more touristy part of Montmartre now.

Unless you fancy a bite to eat in Le Consulat, carry on to the right of it and soon you’ll be in Place du Tertre. This square was opened to the public in 1635 as Montmartre village central square and was a hub of activity during Montmartre’s bohemian period in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

crowds in a street with artist stalls and cafes and one of the domes of sacre-couer in the background
Place du Tertre gets busy in summer

If you’re in Paris in winter, Place du Tertre will be a quiet space to wander between trees; in summer, it will be packed with artists selling their wares and terrace seating for the many restaurants around the edges.

If you can find a spot, grab a drink on a terrace and enjoy the buzz. I prefer Chez Eugene, which offers a good view of the square for people-watching.

Once you have had enough (or if it is just too hectic for you to linger there), get ready for some downhill walking, because the next stop is lower down the butte of Montmartre.

7. Escalier Du Calvaire & Place Émile Goudeau

On the southern side of Place du Tertre, you’ll find a set of pretty steps, descending down the hillside: Escalier du Calvaire. Walk down the steps, enjoying the view as you go.

view down steps tree-lined steps with buskers sat playing
Escalier Du Calvaire

At the bottom, turn right along Rue Gabrielle and stay with the road as it bears left. Soon you’ll come to a small square with trees, benches and an attractive Wallace Fountain. This is Place Émile Goudeau and not only does it have a pretty view between buildings, it was home to another artist’s landmark: Le Bateau-Lavoir.

green decorative fountain in a leafy square in montmartre
Place Émile Goudeau

Le Bateau-Lavoir (or, Washhouse Boat) was the nickname for a kind of unofficial clubhouse for several artists in the late 1800s, most famously Pablo Picasso. Here he painted several works, including a painting that signalled his move into cubism, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.

8. The Wall Of Love

From Place Émile Goudeau, head downhill and down Rue Ravignan, then left onto Rue des Abbesses and into Place des Abbesses. This is a small square with one of only two original ‘Dragonfly’ entrances to the Metro. There’s also a cute old carousel and in December, this is the location of one of the sweetest Christmas Markets in Paris.

Here you’ll find Square Jehan Rictus and the Wall of Love. This monument to love was created in 2000 and is composed of 612 tiles, on which the phrase ‘I love you’ is featured 311 times in 250 languages. See if you can find it in your language!

wall of a house decorated with blue tiles with white writing on them and a drawing of a woman in a blue evening gown
The Wall Of Love

9. Rue Des Abbesses To Cimetiere De Montmartre

From the Wall of Love, head west along Rue des Abbesses, a classic Parisian street with plenty of cafes with street terraces. When you come to Rue Tholoze on the right, check out the Art Deco cinema, Studio 28, which was featured in the movie Amelie. It was the first avant-garde cinema on the right bank and opened in 1928. They play a mix of movies, including some in English. It could be somewhere to come back in the evening to if you’re staying in Montmartre.

At the junction by the Terrass Hotel, you’ll find Cimetiere de Montmartre on the left and ahead of you. Officially known as the Cimitière du Nord, Montmartre Cemetery opened in 1825. It is the third largest necropolis in Paris, after the Père Lachaise cemetery and the Montparnasse cemetery.

row of tombs and crypts in Montmartre cemetery
Cimetiere De Montmartre

Strolling a cemetery might not be for everyone, but I suggested it for a couple of reasons. One is the sheer impressiveness of some of the tombs here. In the UK, we tend to have single headstones on graves, but the fashion here is clearly grander. The graves are often marked with tall stone tombs, many with a striking gothic style.

It’s also interesting because there are some historical figures buried here, including the impressionist painter Edgar Degas, writers Emile Zola and Alexandre Dumas and the film director François Truffaut. Dalida’s tomb is also here – and it’s quite a spectacle.

The entrance to the cemetery is a little way along Rue Caulaincourt.

If You Want To Continue Your Exploration Of Paris On Foot…

By this point in your journey, I hope you’ve had an enjoyable tour of Montmartre and that your head is of full of the charming things you’ve seen along the way. 

However, if you’re hungry for even more, I encourage you to explore beyond this walking route – it’s never a bad idea to do off the beaten path in Paris.

You could also continue onto nearby Boulevard de Clichy to visit the famous Moulin Rouge theatre: the birthplace of the Can-can and the inspiration for the 2001 movie of the same name. The Moulin Rouge is still a working theatre where you can see cabaret.

If you do that, be warned: it’s not as glam as it looks in the movie!  It’s in Pigalle, a red light district in Paris, and the road it’s on is kinda sleazy with lots of sex shops and ‘girls girls girls’ kind of establishments.

Map: Self-Guided Walking Tour Of Montmartre Route

Here are the route and markers for key attractions along this walking tour of Montmartre.

How To Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left-hand corner of the map to view the layers. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each one.  If you click the star next to the map’s title, it will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu, go to ‘Your Places’ or ‘Saved’, then click Maps and you will see this map in your list.

Where To Stay In Montmartre

I stayed in a great hotel in Montmartre: Terrass” Hotel. It’s an excellent 4-star hotel with two big attractions: it has some rooms with a view of the Eiffel Tower and it has a nice rooftop restaurant and terrace bar – again, with great views.

breakfast on a table next to a window overlooking Paris including the eiffel tower in the distance
Breakfast in the top floor restaurant at the Terrass” Hotel

I treated myself to one of their Eiffel Tower rooms and it was lovely: a big room with all the amenities I could ask for. Terrass” Hotel is definitely one of the best places to stay in Paris for first-timers.

Other Hotels in Paris

If you want some more hotel ideas, here are some of the other Paris hotels I recommend. I’ve stayed at these hotels myself recently (in the last 2 years), and I’d happily return to them:

La Finca Hôtel & Spa (formerly called the Hotel Auberge Flora) is a 3-star hotel in the vibrant Bastille area, which has lots of bars and cafes. The rooms are small but comfortable, have all the amenities you need, plus the staff are friendly. They have a bar downstairs and they offer a simple, affordable breakfast in the morning.

Hôtel Diva Opéra is a boutique 4-star hotel in Fauberg-Montmartre, which is really central, making it a great place to stay if you want easy access to places like the Grands Magasins of Boulevard Haussmann and some of the best covered passages in Paris

Hotel Regina Louvre is a grand old hotel next to the Louvre. This 5-star is traditional and also luxurious, with some elegant Art Nouveau design features in the lobby. Some rooms have a view of the Eiffel Tower (mine did – it was a wonderful surprise!)

grand olf hotel in Haussmann style of architecture with a gold statue in front of it
Hotel Regina Louvre

For more ideas on places to stay, check out my post on the best hotels in Paris for first-timers.

Where To Eat In Montmartre

I’ve already mentioned La Maison Rose and Le Consulat, both of which are picture-perfect brunch/lunch spots, with bohemian heritage. However, I really liked these two places:

  • Le Moulin de la Galette – I mentioned this place earlier. It has an interesting heritage and a classic French menu. I had onion soup followed by classic steak frites there and it was delicious!
  • La Boite aux Lettres – this small and unpretentious bistro on Rue Lepic has an innovative menu with a focus on seasonal produce.

In Conclusion

Walking is a great way to explore the historic and culture-rich area of Montmartre in Paris. I hope this free self-guided walking tour helps you discover the best of Montmartre. However, if you feel like you’d prefer to follow a guide, you could join a guided walking tour of Montmartre.

And if you’re interested in even more ideas about the historic corners of Paris, check out my review of the best covered passages in Paris. And if you’re travelling to Paris solo, dive into my comprehensive guide to solo travel in Paris.

Have fun strolling around Montmartre!

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