Welcome back to the latest in our Introducing series where we give you an insight into the French capital’s best-known landmarks if it’s your first time here plus some quirky facts if you’ve been here before. This time we’re introducing you to Montmartre, one of the biggest attractions in Paris and just half an hour on the metro from Accord language school! Ready to explore?
Don’t lose your head
You’ll know from your French lessons at ACCORD that Montmartre means “mountain of martyrs”. So here’s the legend behind the name: Saint Denis was the first bishop of Paris (and its patron saint). The Romans beheaded Denis and his companions Rustique and Eleuthère on the hill where the Sacré-Cœur stands but rather than drop dead, Denis picked up his severed head and delivered a sermon about repentance as he walked away!
Belle Epoque glory days
Hilltop Montmartre was once a cute little village with little farms, vineyards and windmills… until the Belle Epoque when it became a magnet for the world’s best-known artists! The cost of living here was affordable and it was exempt from Paris’ wine tax making wine cheap. A lively cabaret culture flourished here and the likes of Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec and Van Gogh moved in. If you want a taste of what life was like back then with the bohemian gang of artists, pay a visit to “Au Lapin Agile” at 22 rue des Saules. The cabaret is one of the oldest and most popular in Paris and still stages a show every evening from Tuesday to Saturday.
Place du Tertre
The local artistic legacy lives on today in Montmartre on Place du Tertre. It’s one of the most visited squares in Paris and literally full of artists selling their canvases or doing portraits on the hop. It’s no wonder that competition for a space is so fierce! First of all you have to wait about 10 years on the waiting list for a spot, then you’re allocated a tiny 3 square feet that you have to share with another artist on alternating days. Last but not least, you’re only allowed to do paintings, portraits, caricatures and silhouettes.
Climb those stairs
Montmartre is famous for its many stairways and being a hill, your calves are in for a serious workout making your way up the slopes. The stairs are great for your Instagram feed but maybe not so ideal when you’ve got the kids in tow or have limited mobility. Never fear, the tourist train is here! It sets off from Place Blanche by the Moulin Rouge every half hour and takes you to Place du Tertre in 15 minutes (it takes 30 minutes the other way). It costs 10 euros for adults and 5 euros for children. So there you have it, if you want to save your pennies then take the stairs and enjoy the views, but if you want to save your energy then hop on board and enjoy the ride!
ACCORD: 3bis rue Jean-Pierre Bloch, 75015 Paris, France
Tel: +33 (0) 1 55 33 52 33
The ACCORD Paris language school is recommended by the editorial staff of PARIS MOVE
How to get to the ACCORD Tour Eiffel school:
- by Métro (underground/subway)
Nearest stations: La Motte-Picquet Grenelle (lines 6, 8 and 10) and Dupleix (line 6)
Other stations: Ecole Militaire (line 8), Bir-Hakeim (line 6)
- by Bus: line no. 86 (Champ de Mars), line no. 82 (bus stops: Champ de Mars – Suffren, and/or Général Detrie), line no. 42 (bus stop: Desaix and/or Champ de Mars – Suffren)