A Morning Walk in Montmartre with Kids
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Although we’ve made several visits to Paris, Jeff and I have never walked around Montmartre. When the opportunity to pop into a friend’s apartment in Paris while their family was out of town came up, we set our trip itinerary around walking Montmartre and enjoying the parks of Paris.
We rode the Metro from our apartment to the Abesses stop. The lift was out of order so the whole group climbed up the 200 some odd stairs to the top. The silver lining though was the amazing murals by local artists that line the rotating stairs. (The spiral staircases were busy and we were slow climbers, so there wasn’t any time for me to snap a photo.)
We walked a block to the Love Wall in Jehan Rictus park. This wall includes the worlds “I love you” in languages and handwriting from around the globe.
The Big Little instantly spotted the saying in Dutch! I spent a bit longer searching for it in English. The flow of people into the park is pretty much constant, but it’s fun to see everyone finding the saying in their language. There is also lots of kissing going on here. The park has a very small playground just beyond the wall which our boys tested while we got our bearings.
A few more blocks leads you to the funicular at Montmartre. You can walk the famous stairs, or hop on the funicular for a 1.5 min ride to the top. The ride will cost you one Metro ticket.
The boys are never one to pass up a train ride. We hopped right on to the funicular and up we went.
The Middle Little was in a mood and chose to stay in the stroller to give me funny faces every time I tried to take his photo.
At the top of the hill is Sacre Coeur, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris. The Roman Catholic Basilica is built on the top of the hill of Montmartre where it is believed the Druids worshiped and the Romans built a temple to Mars and Mercury.
We popped into the Basilica for a quick visit. The big boys lit candles and we used a guide pamphlet for our visit. We bypassed the tower climb, but have seen plenty of pictures showing an incredible view of the city from there.
Then we went outside and just admired the view. This really is an unbelievable place to take in the vastness of Paris. We loaded the kids back up to get ready to walk and roughly followed the Rick Steves’ walking tour from the Rick Steves’ Paris guidebook.
If you have older kids check out Paris Walks with Kids for a great option here. I thumbed through the book at an English bookstore and we are just not quite there yet.
We saw a number of walking tours in the area. If you’re not traveling with kids or have older ones this would be a wonderful place to join a walking tour. (Free Tours by Foot, a wonderful resource for walking tours, has a comprehensive list of options.)
We paused for a while at Place du Tertre and watched people painting and selling art. The silhouette artists were our favorites to watch, quickly cutting profiles from black paper. This is a popular spot to get a portrait painting, although we passed on this experience mostly over concerns of transporting the drawing for the rest of the day. We also thought it would be hard to keep our kids sitting still for a sketch.
We paused by the little pink cafe, La Maison Rose. It is recognizable not only by its pink color but from paintings by Maurice Utrillo who painted scenes from Montmartre.
Just past this cafe is the Clos Montmartre Vineyard which is always closed, with the exception of the wine festival in October. This little vineyard produces enough grapes to make a few hundred bottles of wine which are auctioned off during the festival.
The walk around Montmartre includes paying homage to many famous artists. #6 Rue de l’Abreuvoir is Renior’s house. You’ll have to peek through the gates since it is a private residence.
We found a lovely little park tucked away at the bottom of the hill. We made friends with another family enjoying some play time during their walk. The dads picked grapes from the vines used to line the trellis and they were quite sour but the kids thought picking them was great fun.
On the walk we discovered a lot of great street art, these flamingos were some of my favorites. We all took turns standing like flamingos. (At home that night the boys requested to listen to the Wow in the World podcast about flamingos.)
This unassuming blue door at #54 Rue Lepic is the third floor apartment where Vincent Van Gogh lived. We popped into the small grocer directly across the street to buy a quick snack for the kids. I think I’m fascinated by Paris because there is no fanfare around these houses, despite their previous owners.
We did the most touristy thing you could think of next. We popped into La Pain Quotidian for lunch. It’s reliable and there was no line. The kids wouldn’t stand for much more so we fed them at our first chance.
The last stop on our walking tour was the Moulin Rouge. It is quite nice to see in person, although then we led the kids on a walking tour of the Red Light district of Paris which is always amusing. It happens to us more than we would like to admit.
This is a great walk and you could easily spend more time getting lost in the neighborhoods of Montmartre. I highly recommend a visit here with kids when you are in Paris.