Our favorite approach to the area is to take the Metro to Abesses
(Rue des Abbesses) and walk to the bottom of hill topped by Sacré
Coeur. If you are strapped for time or plan to ascend to the
top of the dome of Sacré Coeur, take the funicular to the top. By
the way, if you are a fan of Robert De Niro and the movie Ronin,
this is the location of the café
where the movie starts and ends.
(18th arrondissement) (R)
Set on the bluff in Montmartre (Martyr's Mound), this church, built
by donations, is a
well-known Parisian landmark. The Basilica was constructed in the
late 19th century and completed early in the 20th century. Its
look is characterized by several cupolas and dominated by its
impressive central dome. The dome contains a spectacular bell, the
Savoyarde, which weighs-in at close to 20 tons. The interior of Sacré
Coeur is beautiful
and the altar mosaic is spectacular, but most come for the view of
Paris from the dome of the Basilica. We usually settle for the
"cheap seats" and take in the view from the terrace
of the Basilica, which is often crowded with sightseers.
Local musicians can tell a tourist a mile away! During a visit to Sacré
Coeur, we were gazing at Paris from the steps in front of the church,
enjoying the view. A wizened old fellow came around the corner, loaded up
his accordion and serenaded us with “La Vie en Rose”. It was like a scene in
a movie and it worked just fine!
Sacré Coeur is surrounded by the winding streets of
Montmartre made famous by the writers and artists who once lived in
this quixotic neighborhood..
The nearby Place du Tertre (place of the mound) is a fanciful little square filled with
artists displaying their paintings and other artists who will gladly
paint a portrait of you. Stop and have drink
while soaking up some of the local ambiance. This is a fun place to
(Located on the border between Montmartre and Pigalle) 9th
arrondissement (R) (Bal
du Moulin Rouge, 82 Boulevard de Clichy)
The Moulin Rouge (the Red Mill) has an interesting history,
including being featured in paintings by Toulouse-Lautrec. The tickets for the
performances are pricey and the densely packed audience consists,
predominately, of tourists. The show is fun, lively, and if you want
to see the "Can-Can" in Paris, this is the place to see it.
Since April of 2004, the theater has been a no smoking zone.
Tickets can be arranged at numerous locations around Paris, or you
can make reservations at the official website of the
The Moulin Rouge continues to be a popular attraction, especially
with the men in the audience who are stunned that their wife wanted
them to attend a show featuring long-legged, bare breasted showgirls
(actually, partial nudity is only a brief part of the show).
Tickets are fairly pricey for two drinks, uncomfortable seats and being wedged around
a small table
with people you don't know. On the other hand, the Moulin Rouge is a Paris
legend and the dancers are very good.
The neighborhood around the Moulin Rouge (the Pigalle) is "edgy" and
full of strip clubs and peep shows, although it is usually crowded
with tourists. Many of the clubs in this area, have an unsavory reputation and several
are known for extorting excessive and unwarranted fees from
anyone brave enough to enter. If anyone on the street suggest
that you buy them a drink - head the other direction. We
recommend that you limit your activities here to the Moulin Rouge.
Even so, exercise caution when leaving the show, as pickpockets, hustlers, and
Cabs may be hard to find when the show at the Moulin Rouge ends. You can catch the
Metro at the Blanche Station, if your show lets out before the Metro
shuts down around midnight (check the
for current schedules).