Montmartre Travel – In the Footsteps of the Impressionists

A trip to Paris is incomplete without a visit to the bohemian district of Montmartre.

It was and still is a magnet for artists, writers, painters, musicians, sculptors and intellectuals from all over France and around the world.

Montmartre is also the neighborhood of one of the finest impressionist museums in Paris, the Marmottan Monet.

Below is a list of the best places to visit in the footsteps of the Impressionism and post-impressionism painters:

Montmartre Travel & the Impressionism Painters

Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Mary Cassatt, Camille Pissarro, Raoul Dufy and Vincent van Gogh are just a few of many painters who resided in Montmartre at some point in their lives.

Edgar Degas, lived in Montmartre for most of his adult life and when he died, was buried in the Montmartre cemetery.

Montmartre street

Montmartre Travel / Photo by Jeff Frenette on Unsplash

Perched on a hill in the northern section of Paris center, Montmartre was once a rural village dotted with vineyards and windmills.  Once it was considered too remote, and was an inexpensive part of Paris. Mainly the working class and poor artists lived there.

Vincent Van Gogh landscape of Montmartre
Vincent Van Gogh Picture of Montmartre[Public domain]

Put on your comfortable walking shoes and follow the list below of some fabulous gems in Montmartre, including Marmottan Museum…..

Montmartre Travel – Moulin Rouge

Montmartre is divided into two completely different areas. The first area, near Place Pigalle, is recognizable by its numerous neonlights of sex-shops and cabarets, including the renowned Moulin Rouge, attracting hundreds of tourists each year. Press here for more information about the Moulin Rouge.

The Moulin Rouge at night
The Moulin Rouge at night

Moulin Rouge

The Moulin Rouge was founded and built in 1889 and ever since is coined the modern birthplace of the cancan, a seductive dance that later turned into a form of entertainment. 

The French impressionist painter, Henri deToulouse-Lautrec was a regular at the Moulin Rouge. The women, the shows and the atmosphere of the cabaret are the subject matter of many of his famous paintings.

Historical footage of Paris & the Moulin Rouge in the 1900s
Moulin Rouge nightlife - Toulouse Lautrec poster
Moulin Rouge nightlife – Toulouse Lautrec [Public domain]

Montmartre Travel: Tertre Square & Basilica of the Sacre-Coeur

The second area of Montmartre is Place du Tertre at the top of the hill, which you  reach after walking up nearly 200 steps or taking the funicular.

This is a beautiful section of Montmartre . It is a wonderful place to have dinner and to stroll through its pretty streets. Around here you can observe the artists while they work and sell their art. 

The artists in Montmartre in Tetre square
The artists in Montmartre in Tetre square

As you walk in the upward direction, through the maze of narrow and steep streets, you reach the hilltop and the famous Basilica of the Sacré-Coeur. This is a beautiful church.

And from the wide stairs you see breathtaking views of Paris below. These steps are usually full of tourists and Parisians enjoying the views below.

Tip: Watch your bags for pickpockets here.

Musee Marmottan – Monet

Another wonderful place to visit in Montmartre is the Marmottan museum. It features a collection of over three hundred Impressionism and Post-Impressionism paintings.

It showcases many of Monet’s famous paintings  (with the largest collection of his works in the world).

You will also see paintings of Berthe Morisot, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro, Paul Gauguin, Paul Signac, Pierre-Auguste  Renoir and others. For more information about the museum, press here

Water Lilies Claude Monet  at the Montmartre Marmottan Museum
Water Lilies Claude Monet at the Marmottan Museum [Public Domain]

Are you able to keep walking?

If yes, another wonderful museum to visit is the Montmartre museum not far from Place du Tertre.

Montmartre museum (Musee de Montmartre)

We visited this museum in April when the flowers were in full bloom in the garden. At one point in the garden, I stopped to enjoy a lovely view below of Montmartre’s vineyard and the northern part of Paris in the distance.

This lovely garden was inspired by Renoir, who lived here between 1875 and 1877. A swing in the garden represents his painting “La Balancoire,” painted here in 1876. This painting was scorned at in the Impressionists exhibition in 1877 but is now hanging in the Musee d’Orsay.

The Swing (La Balancoire) - Pierre-Auguste Renoir painting
The Swing (La Balancoire) – Pierre-Auguste Renoir [Public domain]

This museum is a hidden gem and so tranquil, although only one street away from the busy Place des Tertres.

If you love the atmosphere of early 20th century Montmartre and impressionists, this museum is for you! For more information, press here

Enjoy Montmartre, Marmottan museum and all the other gems in this neighbourhood!

Shop front in Montmartre
Montmartre – Photo by Benedikte Vanderweeën (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Looking for a walking tour that will take you to the great Montmartre landmarks in the footsteps of the Impressionists?

Check out the options below:

(For some of the links on this page, I receive a small commission when you purchase. You don’t pay more when you buy through my site.)

Montmartre still attracts the bohemian crowd but today is far more trendy than in the 19th and 20th centuries. It is a fantastic area to base yourself while traveling around Paris.

See below for accomodation options: