18th Arrondissement (Montmarte), Paris Travel Guide
18th Arrondissement (Montmarte) Summary
- Great cafes and restaurants that are often less expensive than those in central Paris
- Numerous budget-friendly hotels
- The beautiful Sacre Coeur, with sweeping views of the city
- Laid-back, bohemian vibe
- The infamous Moulin Rouge cabaret
- Hilly area means lots of climbing
- A bit removed from central Paris (a pro for some!)
- Some areas are known for pickpockets
What It's Like
The 18th Arrondissement, on Paris' Right Bank, is best known for Montmatre, the historically bohemian neighborhood that sits atop a hill. It may be a bit removed from central Paris, but the gorgeous Sacre Coeur basillica and the infamous Moulin Rouge make it worth a trip for most tourists.
In the early 1900s, the 18th Arrondissement was known as the haunt of painters, writers, and other "bohemian" types. Hemingway, Van Gogh, Picasso, and many other famed artists lived and partied in the neighborhood due to its relatively inexpensive rents and restaurants. After World War I, however, property values rose as business executives and their families discovered the 18th Arrondissement's charming narrow streets and sweeping views of the city. The neighborhood never lost its bohemian vibe, though, and the Montmatre Cemetery is the final resting place for many artists who have worked and lived in the area.
The Sacre Coeur, a beautiful white basicalla opened in 1919, offers gorgeous views of the city, rivaled only by those from the Eiffel Tower. Visitors can either walk up the hill to it (this neighborhood does require a lot of climbing) or take a small shuttle that goes up every few minutes. The Moulin Rouge needs no introduction; the iconic cabaret (where the can-can dance got its start) maintains its historic reputation as a burlesque playhouse. The 18th Arrondissement is also home to numerous produce markets and one of the largest flea markets in the Europe.
Where To Stay
The 18th Arrondissement is a bit removed from central Paris, making it a good choice for those looking for a quieter Parisian experience. Staying toward its southern end allows visitors to be within easy reach of more touristy areas of the city. Some may want to avoid staying near Boulevard de Clichy; this is technically the "red light" district and is home to several sex shops and adults-only theaters (and pickpockets have been know to frequent the area). Visitors hoping to wine and dine may consider staying near Rue des Abbesses and Rue Lepic.