For an average (future) Paris traveler, Montmartre is really not the first thing that comes to mind when planning a visit to the city. In all fairness, this was supposed to be a ‘hidden treasure’ in the city. In fact, it wasn’t even officially a part of the city till 1860. So, what is Montmarte and why should it interest you? Given that it’s literally my favorite part of this city, I compiled a list of 10 interesting Montmartre facts.
So, read for yourself and decide.
What is Montmartre?
Montmartre, a hill and its surrounding area in the 18th district of Paris is a historic district established by the City of Paris in 1995. And obviously, its history starts long before that. The interesting part is that it’s as colorful as long.
Montmartre is primarily known for its artistic history, the white-domed Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur on its summit, and as a nightclub district.
What makes it a cultural symbol?
In 1860, the village of Montmartre was annexed by the city of Paris. The mount was known for its stone quarries and gypsum mines, windmills as well as vineyards. But there’s a lot more to its history and charm- well, you’ll have to read the full blog to answer this question.
Okay, before we skip to the facts, here’re my outfit details:
- PREMIUM White lace dress
- Corset belt
- PREMIUM Faux leather jacket with statement collar
- White boots with block heel PREMIUM
- PREMIUM Printed bandana
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10 interesting Montmartre facts:
1. It has been occupied since Gallo-Roman times
Archaeological excavations show that the heights of Montmartre were occupied from at least Gallo-Roman times. Texts from as far as 8th-century mention this village & a major wall whose remains have been discovered in the excavations.
2. Almost every big artist of the 19th century has lived here
One of the most interesting Montmartre facts – during the Belle-Époque or the golden era of French history, 1872 – start of World War I in 1914, almost all notable artists of the time have lived in Montmartre. This is what also gave it the nickname- artist’s quarter of Paris.
Notable names include Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Suzanne Valadon, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, Camille Pissarro, and Edgar Degas.
3. It is the embodiment of during the Belle Époque
Characterized by optimism, regional peace, economic prosperity, colonial expansion, and technological, scientific, and cultural innovations La Belle Époque notes a bost in France’s cultural and artistic climate (particularly within Paris), the arts markedly flourished, with numerous masterpieces of literature, music, theatre, and visual art gaining extensive recognition. Most of the action was reserved for Montmartre itself.
4. Montmartre is home to one of the last working vineyards in Paris
Paris was once surrounded by working farms, vineyards, and windmills to ground the harvests. However, with the passing time, all that changed, and today only a handful of each survive and remain specifically in Montmartre. In fact, Montmartre is home to one of the last working vineyards in Paris standing since the 1930s. You can tour it, too.
5. Montmartrois aren’t really Parisians
Montmartre was annexed in the 1860s by the city of Paris so obviously, it stood independent before. In fact, the annexation wasn’t all amicable giving rise to a rebellion. That resulted in the tragic events of the Paris Commune of 1871 killing thousands of protestors. The movement lives, albeit in a much smaller way, to this day where the original Montmartre habitants or Montmartrois continue to demonstrate.
6. Montmartre is the highest natural point in Paris
Montmartre’s highest point is 130 meters above sea level, making it the highest natural vantage point in the city. Yes, the Eiffel Tower is still taller than the hill, almost twice its height at 300 meters.
7. It has the most photogenic street in Paris
Rue de l’abreuvoir with its pastel houses, La Maison Rose, and lush streets is the most photogenic street in Paris. Okay, maybe not the most but definitely one of the most photogenic streets of Paris.
8. It’s the only historic district of the city
Montmartre is an officially designated historic district with limited development allowed in order to maintain its historic character.
9. The Sacre-Coeur church basically cleans itself
The most famous church in the area and the second-highest point is the Sacre-Coeur church. But there’s an interesting reason behind its ability to maintain its beautiful white color for over a century – it’s stones. It’s highly resistant and does not let water infiltrate. In fact, when it rains, the stone releases a substance, called “calcite” which is a natural cleanser.
10. It has a peculiar transportation
The area is steep and has a lot of climbs with no real transportations all the way up to the hill- so get ready to walk up. Although there’s a cable car to assist the climb and also a special public run train- Montmartrobus which is specific to this area.
Pigalle is one end-point of the Montmartrobus. Yes, Pigalle, the historic red light area and where you’ll also find the (in)famous Moulin Rouge theatre.
That’s all in the list of Montmartre facts today! Does that intrigue you? Are you inspired to visit Montmarte yet? Do share your thoughts in the comments below.
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