From the cobbled streets of Montmartre, to bright and lively Pigalle; and up and down the steps of the Sacré Cœur, read on for our selection of the best ways explore the 18th.
Discover the Quartier Africain
Also known as Château-Rouge, Quartier Africain is the African neighborhood in Paris. A home for many migrants, this area offers an instant change of scenery, starting as soon as you step out of the metro. Through rue Polonceau, rue Myrha, and boulevard Barbès, colorful Congolese fabric shops, speciality supermarkets, vendors selling roasted corn or chestnuts, and shoppers with their carts line the sides (and middle) of the streets. The area becomes especially interesting around Ramadan, where you find a plethora of Ramadan treats like baklava and dates stuffed with almond paste. Nearby is the Institut des Cultures d’Islam, the Islamic cultural center, which organizes language lessons, neighborhood tours, and art exhibits.
This bustling and crowded market sits under Barbès metro station. Le marché de Barbès has as a wide variety of fruit and vegetables often for a special one-euro promotions. The energy and bustle of the market is emblematic of the Barbs area, but watch out for pickpockets.
As the name suggests, it’s a shop dedicated to vintage bicycles. They have bikes for renting, buying, and test trying, all inspired by retro styles of the 70s and 80s. Open Tuesday – Friday 5pm – 8pm and Saturday 12pm – 8pm.
This place is halfway between a museum and boutique. The owner, Alain Marquet, is a known jazz musican with a passion for musical treasures rarities. The owner is happy to chat and show his impressive collection, sell some objects, offer advice, and even some repairs.
This boutique, dubbed “the infinite wardrobe”, is a friendly atmosphere where customers can relax, try on clothing, and listen to music. They sell and buy garments to ensure a fresh inventory turnover.
This place has antique furniture and art from the 20th century, as well as many other high-end vintage pieces. In addition to the chic boutique in the 18th, many items are available on their Facebook page.
This cemetery is one of the four important cemeteries in the city famous for housing the graves of artists who lived in Paris. The Montmartre Cemetery has the graves of many actors, painters, singers, writers, dancers, and composers who lived in Montmartre including, Edgar Degas, Dalida, Alexandre Dumas, Adolphe Sax and Francois Truffaut. Intricate architecture and monuments make this cemetery a beautiful place to walk through and visit the graves of inspirational people.
This popular film showcased the most charming parts of Montmartre and Parisian life. Following Amelie’s story begins at metro Abbesses, with a beautiful art nouveau entrance. The station itself has stairs with beautiful and intricate mural art, depicting life in Montmartre. Continue along rue Lepic to reach the iconic Café des 2 moulins, where photographs of scenes from the film decorate the walls. Keep walking along towards rue Tholozé to find Cinema 28, where Amelie liked to watch films. On rue des Trois Frères is the market where we met the character, Ali. The inside is now plastered with press articles about the increasing popularity of the film and the shop. The movie takes place in many more delightful places in Montmartre; up to you to find the rest of the exact spots.
Historical theater and music venues are abundant along boulevard de Clichy and boulevard Rochechouart and around the rest of the 18th. Places like La Cigale and Le Trianon, La Boule Noire host classic and contemporary music concerts while La Machine du Moulin Rouge is a bar and nightclub with an impressive late-night concert line-up. For jazz lovers, around the corner from the Moulin Rouge, is Autour de midi… et minuit, a café restaurant by day and a jazz club by night. The cave basement opens later at night with an impressive jazz program. Check out this website to see what’s on in the 18th.
Paris is often left out when it comes to French vineyards and their prestigious reputation. The Clos Montmartre is the last functioning vineyard in the city spanning over 1,600 square meters across a hill. It is open to visits upon reservation throughout the year, and is celebrated during the autumn wine harvest festival, the Fete des Vendanges in early October. The four-day festival includes guided visits of the vineyard, tastings, music, and fireworks.
This area behind the Sacre Coeur encompasses flânerie at its finest. The old town square is now an important stop for tourists but still keeps its original charm as a historical monument, taking visitors back to the 20s when artists of all kinds found inspiration and started art movements such as Surrealism and Impressionism. The Place du Tertre has an artist’s square at its center; crowded with portraitists, caricaturists, silhouetteists (who cut silhouettes out of paper with scissors) and painters depicting the people and places of Paris. Within the square each artist has 1 square meter to themselves to create their magic.
This 40 square meter outdoor wall of art was literally made with love, written 311 times in 250 languages. The Mur des je t’aime is a collaborative effort between Frédéric Baron and Claire Kito. Baron asked people to write down the phrase in their language and continued, consulting embassies, filling pages in his notebooks. Kito, a calligraphy artist then assembled the script that would appear on the wall. Every aspect of the wall — from the red fragments, black tiles, and the handwriting — is symbolic. The red represents a broken heart, a symbol of the human race torn apart and the ‘I love yous’ on the wall aim to reconcile. The tiles are the same size as Baron’s notebook pages, a reminder of the wall’s creation process. The wall is located in a small park, making it an ideal stop on a walk.