Montmartre is one of the districts of Paris located near the Seine, precisely positioned on a hill of about 130 meters high. This charming neighborhood has been the scene of many important events in the history of Paris, such as battles, the birth of the artistic style known as impressionism and the rise of the French bohemian movement in the 19th century. It is worth mentioning that it was once one of the most rural areas of the City of Light, at least a century ago, and today it is one of the most touristy neighborhoods.
Historically, Montmartre was an independent village that was annexed to Paris in the 19th century. During the Belle Époque, the neighborhood was a lively cultural center with cabarets, theaters and famous artists such as Picasso, Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec living and working there.
It is important to mention that this neighborhood was the birthplace of the impressionists, of the Parisian bohemia that we will talk about later, as well as of the most important battle theaters during the Franco-Prussian war and the Commune.
The hill was originally a religious center, with several convents established in the area. The convents were destroyed during the French Revolution, which was determined to break away from anything related to the Old Regime, such as religion. As the city expanded, the hill gradually became part of the metropolis.
It became the heart of Parisian bohemian life in the second half of the 19th century. Great French artists took up residence in the neighborhood, which was filled with cafés, cabarets and restaurants.
Today, Montmartre is a bohemian neighborhood where you can still see street artists painting portraits, musicians playing music and writers writing poetry. The neighborhood is also famous for its Basilica of the Sacred Heart, an iconic church built in the late 19th century to honor the victims of the Franco-Prussian War. The basilica is accessible by a monumental 237-step staircase, but visitors can also take the funicular to enjoy the view of Paris from the top of the hill.
The Moulin Rouge Cabaret, which dates back to 1889, is one of the most famous in the world and has become one of the most important monuments in Paris. You’ve probably seen the movie with Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, based on this cabaret, right? You’ll be happy to know that it is located in Montmartre and perfectly illustrates the liberal and relaxed spirit of the neighborhood.
In short, Montmartre is a must-see neighborhood in Paris that offers a unique and authentic experience of the city. Its rich history, spectacular views and bohemian atmosphere make it a favorite for tourists and locals alike.