Montmartre: 18e

FRANCE PARIS Montmartre Sacre Coer

Montmatre was the ‘boho-artsy’ section of Paris before Montparnasse. Named after the Montmatre (meaning Mountain of the Matyr) hill, this northern Paris district was initially a place of religious significance. The mountain spot was said to have been a Druid holy place and was also where the patron saint of Paris, St Denis was decapitated. However, its reputation morphed to an artistic one in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as many writers and artists were attracted to the place. Once housing an impoverished Pablo Picasso and Amedeo Modigliani at Le Bateau, the entire district was generously sprinkled with numerous artistic associations. However, most of these artisans, musicians and writers moved to the nearby Montparnasse soon after WWI. Nonetheless, Montmatre’s lively atmosphere is still present in its streets and has been well captured by films like Amélie and the 2001 and 1954 versions of Moulin Rouge.

Basilique du Sacre Cour
Perched atop the Butte de Montmatre, the Basilique de Sacre Cour [35 rue de Chevalier de-la Barre, +33 153418900 http://www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com] is the definitive symbol of the Montmatre arrondissement. The basilica was built in reparation for the many lives that were lost during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) and was heavily funded by the area’s Catholics. Although official construction of the structure began in 1873 itself, the basilica was only consecrated in 1919. Today, this Roman-Byzantine structure sees many visitors thanks to its 83m high dome (reached by 234 spiral steps) that presents a panoramic view of Paris.