Most visitors and residents of Paris are familiar with the famous Butte de Montmartre, and its wedding-cake Basilique Sacré-Coeur. After Amélie and Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge, even people who have never been there before recognize the Place des Abbesses and the neon windmill at Place Clichy. But that’s only half the story of this unique Parisian village. Hop on the Montmartrobus (at Pigalle or Abbesses) and head towards the north side of Montmartre, between Metros Lamarck and Jules Joffrin. This is the side where actual Parisians eat and shop, without a postcard stand, tour bus, or portrait artist in sight!
Sightseeing & Shopping
At the Place Jules Joffrin is the neo-gothic Notre-Dame de Clingnancourt, a small merry-go-round, Haussmann-style press kiosque and the dramatic town hall, the Mairie du 18ème. Inaugurated in 1892, the Mairie has a beautiful glass and wrought iron ceiling courtyard open to the public. Hidden from sight is one of the most beautiful Salle des Mariages in Paris, with paintings and frescos depicting Montmartre at the beginning of the 20th century, including ones by the locally-born artist Maurice Utrillo. This Mairie is the only town hall in Paris with its own wine cellar, where several bottles of the rare “Clos Montmartre” wine, made from the vineyard at rue St-Vincent, are kept for special occasions. Montmartre’s next “Fête des Vendanges” is October 11 — mark your calendars!
Around the corner from the Place Jules Joffrin are the market streets Rue du Poteau, with a wide variety of boutiques selling everything from sausages and chocolates to shoes and home decorating supplies, and the Rue Duhesme, with fresh fruit, vegetable, fish and meat stalls. Chinese, Italian, Greek and North African food shops can be found alongside the more traditional French bakeries and terroir charcuterie specialists. Don’t miss the Fromagerie de Montmartre (9, rue du Poteau), where they’ll vacuum-seal your cheeses for travel. Nearby is the Gourmet Shoppe (139 rue Ordener), where you can find British food specialties, including wild salmon and haggis. Wine aficionados should check out the wine bar and boutique Au Bon Coin (49 rue des Cloÿs, 01 46 06 91 36), winner of the Bouteille d’Or in 2000. L’Eldorado (10 rue Francoeur) has already appeared in ELLE and Vogue for its stylish women’s shoes and clothing. Ladies looking for that perfect hat should stop into the whimsical boutique of Sylvie Camicas (76 rue Lamarck), a hat couturier who sells hats off the rack and made as well as custom orders.
There are two parks in the neighborhood. Just around the corner from Jules Joffrin is the beautiful Square de Clingnancourt, a garden with children’s playground and bandstand, surrounded by listed residential buildings and tall trees. On Rue des Cloÿs, just off Rue de Ruisseau, is the Square Serpollet, a larger, modern garden with a huge Eiffel-Tower shaped climbing structure, mini football pitch, fountains, intricate gardens and a sandpit for younger kids.
Dining & Nightlife Call if you stop by in August to make sure they’re open!
The Brasseire Nord-Sud (open daily non-stop, 79 rue Mont Cenis, 01 46 06 02 87), is the locals’ preferred perch for watching over the busy intersection at Place Jules Joffrin. On the other end of the market street is La Sauterelie (57 rue Montcalm, 01 42 23 39 88) an intimate restaurant open only at night, serving a creative mix of French and world cuisine in a low lit, “antique” décor. Perched alongside the steep stairways Montmartre is known for, just outside the Metro Lamarck, is the trendy restaurant Ginette de la Côte d’Azur (101 rue Caulaincourt, 01 46 06 01 49) and the more laid back bar and café Le Refuge (72 rue Lamarck, 01 42 55 27 58), both with little terraces during warmer weather. Night owls gravitate towards the lively country-style bar and restaurant Village Michel (100 rue Ordener), or Hogan’s Irish Pub (corner of Rue Francoeur and Rue de Clignancourt) for a proper pint of Guinness. For a bit of culture, the Sudden Theatre (14 bis rue St-Isaure, 01 42 62 35 00) often has guest English-language productions from the UK and Ireland as part of their seasonal program (check out the new schedule in September).
This article is one of the 78 original “Secrets of Paris” articles published between September 1999 and July 2004. After disappearing into the internet graveyard for almost 15 years, I’ve republished them in autumn 2019 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Secrets of Paris: “1999-2019: Twenty Years of the Secrets of Paris” Broken and dead links have been updated or deactivated, but otherwise the article remains unchanged.