As most of you may know, NOTRE-DAME cathedral on the Seine river and SACRE-COEUR basilique are the most visited monuments in France, an average of 14m and 11 millions a year from 2000 till today (except for the recent months).
Created after the French revolution, Montmartre used to be a tiny village from 1790 till 1860, before it merged with Paris, with a law voted during Napoleon III years (1852-1870) encompassing many neighbouring villages within the new enlarged Paris city. In those days, Montmartre had wind mills and vineyards and only a few houses on that cray hill, named after the martyr of 3 christian saints, Saint-Denis, former bishop of Paris, St-Rustique and St-Eleuthère. Montmartre originally meant mount of the martyrs, then ‘Mont de Martre’ and eventually Montmartre.
Nowadays Montmartre represents most of the 18th arrondissement of Paris and its key monument is SACRE COEUR, built from 16th June, 1875 till 1924. SACRE COEUR project was initiated after a vote on 24th July, 1873, supported by philanthropist Alexandre LEGENTIL, to devote a church to the Christ after the events suffered by France and especially the loss of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870. This church was entirely financed by 10 million French families and overseas supporters, some of them American and European.
The ‘Basilique du SACRE COEUR’ was built by famous architects Paul ABADIE (1875-1884), Honoré DAUMET (1884-86), Charles LAISNE (1886-1891), Henri-Pierre RAULINE (1891-1904), Lucien MAGNE (1904-1916) and Jean-Louis HULOT (1916-24), also advised by Charles GARNIER, famous architect of Paris Opera House. All the christians will tell you they find a special atmosphere in the church and feel as if they had laft the outside world. Please be respectful of those who pray when visiting.
SACRE COEUR is built on the highest point around Paris, about 131 meters above the sea level and gives the visitors a fabulous view over Paris, accessible with line 12 Abbesses station and a direct funicular (cable car) bringing you up to the church with a subway ticket.
You should also visit all the beautiful and tiny village streets around that bring you up to the SACRE COEUR, with the famous ‘Place du Tertre’ where artists will draw your portrait up if you wish and where you will recognise famous ‘AMELIE’ cafes and film events.
Among many of these tiny cafes, terraces and original spots, we recommend you ‘Moustache’, a delicious ice-cream parlour, with an incredible vegan offer of some 30 ice-creams, of which pistachio, chocolate, coconut and ‘Insolence Exotique’ are just incredible and will get you addicted after a few tries… They are friendly and welcoming and their ice-creams are incredible, with an enjoyable low volume of sugar.
If you’re lucky, you’ll meet the incredible boss, Marcelo. Tell him you come through François’ and ‘LaFranceAudacieuse’ article. He will be happy to welcome you.
Please feel free to comment on this article and the experiences you have lived when visiting Montmartre.
François P. VALLET, coach in start-ups and innovations, lecturer and speaker