TRAVEL / Paris by foot: A walker's guide: Montmartre

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
The walk begins at the base of the sandstone butte (hill), where theatres and dance halls once frequented by painters from Renoir to Picasso, have been taken over by rock clubs. It continues uphill to the original village, along streets which retain the atmosphere caught by artists like Van Gogh, before winding downhill to end at Place Blanche.

Place Pigalle to Rue Ravignan: The walk starts at Place Pigalle (1) and follows Rue Frochot to the Rue Victor Masse. At the corner is the ornate entrance to a private street bordered by turn-of-the-century chalets (2). Opposite, at No 27 Rue Victor Masse, is an ornate mid-19th century apartment building; Vincent Van Gogh and his brother Theo lived at No 25 in 1886 (3). The Chat Noir (4), Montmartre's famous 1890s cabaret, flourished at No 12. At the end of the street begins the tree-lined Avenue Trudaine. Take Rue Lallier on the left to Boulevard de Rochechouart. Continue east. No 84 is the Chat Noir's first address; at No 82 is the Grand Trianon (5), the oldest-surviving cinema, from the early 1890s. No 74 is the original front of Montmartre's first great cancan dance hall, the Elysee-Montmartre(6).

Turn left on to Rue Steinkerque, which leads to Sacre-Coeur gardens, and then left into Rue d'Orsel, which leads to the leafy square, Place Charles Dullin, where the early 19th-century Theatre de l'Atelier (7) stands. Continue up the hill on Rue des Trois Freres and turn left on Rue Yvonne le Tac, which leads to Place des Abbesses (8). This is one of the most pleasant squares in the area. It has conserved its Art Nouveau entrance by Hector Guimard. Opposite is St-Jean l'Evangeliste (9), an unusual Art Nouveau church. To the right of the church steep steps lead to Rue Andre Antoine, where painter Georges Seurat lived at No 39 (10). Continue along Rue des Abbesses and turn right at Rue Ravignan.

Rue Ravignan: From here there is a sweeping view of Paris. Climb the steps straight ahead to the Place Emile Goudeau (11). To the left, at No 13, is the Bateau-Lavoir, the most important cluster of artists' studios in Montmartre. Here Picasso lived in the early 1900s. Further up, at the corner of Rue d'Orchampt and Rue Ravignan, there is a row of 19th-century artists' studios (12).

Rue Ravignan to Rue Lepic: Continue up the hill along the public garden, Place Jean-Baptiste Clement (13). At the top, cross Rue Norvins. Opposite is an old restaurant, A La Bonne Franquette (14), which, as Aux Billards en Bois, was a favourite gathering place for 19th-century artists. Continue along Rue St-Rustique, from where Sacre-Coeur can be seen. At the end to the right is Place du Tertre (15), the main village square.

From here turn left to Rue Cortot. Erik Satie, the eccentric composer, lived in No 6 (16), and at No 12 is the Musee de Montmartre (17). Turn right on Rue des Saules and walk past the Montmartre vineyard (18) to the Au Lapin Agile (19) at the corner of Rue St-Vincent. Return along Rue des Saules and turn right on Rue de l'Abreuvoir. Continue into l'Allee des Brouillards. No 6 (20) was Renoir's last house in Montmartre. Take the steps down into the Rue Simon Dereure and turn left into a small park, which can be crossed to reach Avenue Junot. Here, No 15 (21) was the house of Dadaist Tristan Tzara in the early 1920s. Continue up Avenue Junot, turn right on Rue Girardon and right again on Rue Lepic.

Rue Lepic to Place Blanche: At the corner is one of Montmartre's few surviving windmills, the Moulin du Radet (22). Continue along Rue Lepic: to the right at the top of a slope is another windmill, the Moulin de la Galette (23). Turn left on Rue de l'Armee d'Orient, with its picturesque artists' studios (24), and then left again into Rue Lepic; Van Gogh lived at No 54 (25) in June 1886. Continue to Place Blanche, and on Boulevard de Clichy to the right is the Moulin Rouge (26).

TIPS FOR WALKERS

Starting point: Place Pigalle.

Length: 2.3 km (1.4 miles), lasting about 90 minutes. The walk goes up some very steep streets; if you do not feel like the climb, consider taking the Montmartrobus, which covers most of the walk and starts at Place Pigalle.

Getting there: Nearest metro is Pigalle; or take the 30, 54 or 67 bus.

Stopping-off points: There are many cafes and shops in Rue Lepic and the Rue des Abbesses. Rayons de la Sante, in Place Dullin, is one of the city's best vegetarian restaurants. For shade and a rest, Place Jean-Baptiste Clement and Square S Busson at Avenue Junot.

Text extracted and maps adapted from the 'Eyewitness Travel Guide: Paris', published by Dorling Kindersley on 9 September, price pounds 14.99. Available from all good bookshops, or to order by credit card (Visa, Access or American Express) telephone 0621 819600, 8.30am-5.00pm.

(Photograph and map omitted)

Comments