Curious Bites

What to Do in Paris: Best Montmartre Attractions

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What to Do in Paris: Best Montmartre Attractions
Photo Ali Utku Selen / Flickr

Clos Montmartre is just across from the famous Lapin Agile cabaret, a pink house where entertainers have been performing for decades and where Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, plus numerous writers and musicians used to spend their time and francs. A little Montmartre trivia: Picasso painted Au Lapin Agile and gave the painting to the bar owners who later sold it, in 1920, for $20. In 1989, it was auctioned at Sotheby's, in 1989, for $42 million.

The Montmartre vineyards feature one of the narrowest paths in Paris, which take visitors right and in front of the Moulin de la Galette. Originally a flourmill, or moulin, which helped grind the flour for the eponymous galettes, Le Moulin de la Galette was built in 1622. It was later turned into a dancehall, frequented and painted by Pierre - Auguste Renoir, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Vincent Van Gogh. The Moulin de la Galette in on the Rue Lepic, the same street where Van Gogh lived, at nr 54. In terms of art history, the Moulin de la Galette is a much more important landmark than the better known Moulin Rouge, made famous by Toulouse Lautrec, and pretty cancan dancers, as well as more recently, Nicole Kidman. That’s where Toulouse-Lautrec drank his Earthquakes (half cognac and half absinth) and then died of alcoholism at 36. Even in Montmartre, one must be careful to drink in moderation.

Be sure to visit the famous Bateau Lavoir at nr 13 Place Emile-Goudeau. Picasso lived here between 1904-1912, during which time he painted Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. Other residents included Georges Braque, Juan Gris and Modigliani. Any biography of any of these artists and poets will give you countless stories of the wild days at Bateau Lavoire.

Last but not least, don’t miss the crowded Place du Tertre, the meeting point of many painters and caricaturists competing with white-aproned café waiters. Explore the small cottage-lined alleys and stairways, the bars, food and fashion shops of rue des Abbesses and the cemetery. Don't be afraid of getting lost. If you keep walking uphill, you'll eventually find the Sacré-Coeur Basilique.

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