Although I do love a good stroll through the Place du Tertre to the sounds of an accordionist playing “La Vie en Rose,” idling around the Sacré-Coeur, and savouring a crème brûlée at the Amélie Café, I also revel in unearthing the 18th arrondissement’s lesser known, local haunts. Looking to discover the neighbourhood from a local perspective? Here is an alternative guide to exploring Montmartre and its surroundings.
Where to eat
Start your day by grabbing coffee at Cuillier. Located on rue Yvonne le Tac, here is where the locals begin theirs. Take a seat and enjoy their adorable space or take your beverage to go and explore the streets of Montmartre. And if you’re in need of a second latte, head to Café Lomi. If this spot sounds familiar, it’s because they’re the brewers behind the coffee at Shakespeare and Company Café).
If you’re looking to take a break in an eco-friendly locale with a laptop or book in tow, a visit to La REcyclerie is a welcome change from Paris’ hustle and bustle. Nestled near Porte de Clignancourt, this converted train station houses a restaurant/cafe, an outdoor terrace, a garden, an urban farm (with a weekly market), among other delights.
For foodies, Melbourne’s much loved Hardware Société recently opened in Montmartre and they serve a killer brunch and coffee from Australian roasters, Padre. Soul Kitchen is great for healthy fare or a latte, while Rroll specializes in savoury and sweet rolls (try their brunch!). Rue Ordener’s Sunset dishes out breakfast (and weekend brunch) and lunch on their terrace, along with dinner and cocktails when the sun goes down.
Take the time to walk around this neighbourhood and don’t be afraid to get lost – the 18th arrondissement has plenty more to offer on the outskirts of the butte. Located just off of Montmartre in the Barbès quarter, the appropriately named Brasserie Barbès is the local and hip brasserie in town in a previously seedy part of town that is undergoing gentrification. It’s also where you’ll spot several French artists and stars on the terrace come summer.
Just in time for summer, the newly inaugurated Roberta has taken up residence steps away from rue des Abbesses. This large space houses an Italian restaurant, a butcher, cheese, and fresh pasta counter, along with a fine goods shop – I’m already picturing myself in Montmartre with a Spritz or gelato in hand!
Gloria is a tiny spot on rue d’Orsel just waiting to be discovered. This location serves tapas whipped up by their Brazilian chef along with wine and cocktails to match their small bites. And for a swanky meal, head to Les Tantes Jeanne. Meat lovers will love their classic French selection that comprises terrine, tartare, and foie gras appetizers and various cuts of meats (including Wagyu beef) as mains.
Where to shop
In a sea of tourist shops, Montmartre is also home to a host of charming boutiques that will make gift shopping a breeze. Atelier Nota specializes in stationery, notebooks, pens, and cards, Espace Louisette sells unique homeware, along with handmade jewellery and purses, while brightly lit La Régulière, is the perfect spot to shop books, art, and break for coffee or tea thanks to their in-house cafe.
La rue des Martyrs has plenty of interesting shopping spots, including several vintage stores and Antoine & Lili, a colourful boutique that sells everything from clothing, to accessories and fun knick-knacks. Other quaint shops within walking distance that will effortlessly add flair to your style include Heroines, Make My D…, and Spree.
A pit stop at the eclectic Tombées du Camion boutique may strike you as odd at first due to its decor made up of baby doll heads, but you’ll surely find a memento to take home once you start digging in this vintage-inspired gem. Just a few steps away, visit Little Big Galerie for one of a kind works of art (their focus is photography) made by local French and European artists. Finally, Joel Knafo’s contemporary art gallery displays and sells one of a kind pieces by street artists Obey (Shepard Fairey), Miss.Tic, and much more.
Where to play
If you’re interested in visiting the Moulin Rouge, how about seeing it from a local perspective? Spend your Saturday night dancing at La Machine du Moulin Rouge next door and come back the following day to enjoy the Bar à Bulles (one floor up) and its outdoor terrace located directly behind the windmill.
Bring your evening to a close in style at the glamorous Terrass Hotel’s rooftop terrace. Along with breathtaking views of the City of Light (read: Eiffel Tower), they also serve expertly-crafted cocktails. I recommend the Moulin Rouge cocktail. Be sure to arrive before the sun sets as this coveted spot fills up fast!
What are your favourite places to explore in Montmartre? Let me know below!
Opening photo courtesy of Buvette