Once a village of its own on the outskirts of Paris, housing artists like Picasso, Renoir and Van Gogh, Montmartre deserves its famous bucolic reputation. At the top of the hill lies Sacré-Coeur, with inarguably THE best sweeping view of the city. There is a trolley (Le funiculaire de Montmartre) that can smoothly whisk you up (and down) the side of the hill if you’re feeling lazy. Tucked away down the winding streets on the north face of the hill you will find the city’s only active vineyard. As you head towards the upper end of the 18th, You’ll find a treasure trove of spices and flavors, thanks to the immigrant communities residing there. If you’re looking for something a bit more, dare we say it, racy, then the titillating show at the Moulin Rouge (that world-famous cabaret from the late 1800s) will provide you with entertainment. Best to leave Grandma at the hotel for this one!
Montmartre used to be a village outside of Paris, and being on a hill, it has some of the city’s best views. But joke’s on you if you think you’ll find a solitary moment on the steps in front of the Sacré-Cœur Basilica to soak it in. You might if you wake up early (or stay out late). But even then, we doubt it. Go around and browse the Place du Tertre (where you’ll have a hard time not getting your portrait done by a beret-clad street artiste). Don’t forget to explore the back side of the hill, facing north—that’s when you’ll feel as if you’ve gone from tourist-central to a charming area with one of Paris’ vineyards. Other highlights here include Avenue Junot, Rue de l’Abreuvoir, Le Lapin Agile, and La Maison Rose. Then, pretend you’ve downed some absinthe à la Van Gogh and stumble down the cobblestoned streets to where he stayed with his brother for a couple of years.
Barbès Rochechouart / La Goutte d’Or
Do you want to see the Paris that keeps it real? This area, bordering the 19th and 10th arrondissements, will smash any beret-wearing, croissant-eating clichés of Paris you may have — all in a very good way. Visit one of Paris’ largest and most colorful African markets, and don’t forget to check out Le Louxor theater, built in 1921 with neo-Egyptian architecture, preferably after snagging some North African goodies.
The La Chapelle quarter also borders the 10th and 19th arrondissements. It’s quite multicultural, and towards the end of the 18th and start of the 10th, you’ll find Little India and a Hindu Temple. No need to venture towards the northern area of the quarter as there isn’t much to see or do.