France //

Montmartre and around


Perched on Paris’s highest hill, towards the northern edge of the city, Montmartre was famously the home and playground of artists such as Renoir, Degas, Picasso and Toulouse-Lautrec. Topped by the pale Sacré-Coeur church, the crown of the Butte Montmartre, around place du Tertre, is a scrum, overrun with tourists these days, but the steep streets around Abbesses métro preserve an attractively festive, village-like atmosphere – and seem to become more gentrified and more fashionable every year. Even Pigalle, the brassy sprawl at the southern foot of the Butte, is turning trendy, with fashionable shops and boutique hotels springing up around rue des Martyrs. The Goutte d’Or, to the east, remains vibrantly multi-ethnic. Out at the northern city limits, the mammoth St-Ouen market hawks everything from extravagant antiques to the cheapest flea-market hand-me-downs.

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