One of the reasons people come to Montmartre is to admire the fabulous views of Paris you have from its heights. Although the plaza in front of Sacré-Coeur offers soaring view of the city, it can be challenging to truly enjoy the vista because of the crowds that swarm the basilica’s surroundings. What’s more, from in front of the church you can’t even see the city’s most famous monument: the Eiffel Tower. All you need to do is go a little further, and enjoy an amble around the district, to be rewarded with some of the best views of Paris.
Rue Azais & Square Nadar
Take a few steps away from the masses in front of Sacré-Coeur and you’ll be treated to some excellent views of the city to the southwest, a direction which isn’t visible from the basilica plaza. This direction is where you’ll find… the Eiffel Tower! You can start getting glimpses of it as you walk along rue Azais, albeit through the trees (top photo). You can have a clearer view of the tower, just below this street, from within the Square Nadar park. A great view can be had standing or sitting at the second bench as captured in the above photo. This is a much better perspective than the view of the tower some people first spot in the curve of the road, which sadly has a big TV antenna in the way.
Place du Calvaire
This charming small square offers pleasant respite from the crowds of Place du Tertre, located just around the corner. There are a few benches where you can enjoy some peace and quiet, and from one of them you can spot the Eiffel Tower peeking through the buildings. You can also see it, along with nice vignettes of the city, from various places along the barrier wall that runs along the sqaure.
Rue du Mont Cenis Staircase
Montmartre has over thirty staircases, several of which offer picturesque perspectives. One of my favorites is from the top of rue du Mont Cenis. Situated behind and to the west of Sacré-Coeur, this is an ancient Parisian road heading north. The view from here is accentuated by the lovely Parisian buildings which flank the sides of the staircase.
Rue du Chevalier-de-la-Barre Staircase
Although this staircase behind Sacré-Coeur is itself not very big, its views are. They are made additionally charming owing to the low lying buildings straight across from it, which showcase quite a nice view towards the east. You can continue on enjoying the views by walking straight ahead and down the Passage Cottin stairs, a favorite staircase of mine. The views looking back up this staircase are nice as well, but I’m saving that for another article!
Rue Norvins & Rue Jean-Baptiste Clément
As mentioned above, the Eiffel Tower tends to pop up in unexpected places around the neighborhood, and you can catch quite a good glimpse of it from this exact spot, looking south at where these two streets meet. The Parisian buildings and lamppost add to this vantage point’s allure.
Rue Ravignan & Rue Garreau
I used to live on Rue Ravignan, the six-floor walk-up I talk about in this article. It’s a very steep street, however, when you reach the top, where it meets rue Garreau (and Rue des Trois Frères) you are rewarded with a fabulous view. Stand close to the entrance to the Relais de la Butte restaurant for the best perspective, which features the dome of Les Invalides. You can also admire these views from the restaurant’s highly coveted terrace… whose higher prices reflect the impressive scale of views. Even though I moved away from this exact street, the route from my current home up a little higher in Montmartre to rue des Abbesses has me walking down this street often and the view often puts a smile on my face, especially at dusk.
Rue des Abbesses at Rue Germain Pilon
I’m very fond of this view, which many people probably walk by without even noticing. Right in the heart of bustling rue des Abbesses and draped in cascading fake cherry blossoms, the flashy facade of Le Vrai Paris café is certainly eye-catching. After you’ve oohed and aahed at it, turn your head a little to the left and you’ll have another pretty sight: a descending vista towards south of Paris. Pay attention to a large building with a triangle roof that rises above the rooftops. It is none other than the Opera Garnier, located only about a 20-minute walk away from where you are standing.
Passage de la Sorcière
What? You didn’t know there was a “witch’s lane” in Montmartre? Well, that’s probably because since the Hotel Particulier de Montmartre opened, this pedestrian alley and staircase, whose actually name is le Passage Depaquit and is accessed at 23 Avenue Junot, has been unfortunately closed by a gate. Nevertheless, if you do go to the stylish Hotel Particulier for a drink or meal (sometimes the gate is ajar as well), don’t go inside their own private gate immediately. Instead keep walking past the strange rocky mound in the middle of the path and at the top left of the stairs you have a lovely view over Paris and the Eiffel Tower. Legend has it that a witch used to live in the Hotel Particulier and the mound is what’s left of her sorcerer’s fountain. Whether there’s any basis to the story or not, you’ll certainly be bewitched by the view.
Rue Tholozé & Rue Lepic
The site of the Moulin Radet windmill might be what first lures you up steep rue Tholozé, but once at the top of the street, where it hits Rue Lepic, be sure to turn around and you’ll be treated to a pretty vista of Montmartre and as far as Les Invalides. You can also admire this from the outdoor tables of the Autour du Moulin bar and the Italian restaurant Tentazioni. Note: you can also reach this lookout via Rue Lepic.
Rue Tourlaque & Rue Lepic
Further down the street, Rue Lepic boasts another great view, this time to the northwest. Since the slopping rue Tourlaque goes by the Montmartre cemetery, it has a wider panorama than most streets fringing the hill. I’m also fond of this vista because of the gorgeous historic buildings which frame the perspective.
La crème de la crème of Montmartre views is undoubtable the rooftop of the Terrass hotel. This early 1900s hotel on the edge of the neighborhood has become somewhat trendy over the past few years thanks to its impressive top floor restaurant and bar, but it still remains for those in the know. From here you can have a 180-degree perspective of Paris. I would suggest coming a little on the earlier side and you should be fine to get a table (5 or 6 pm). Lunch during the week is also a good option, when you can nibble on their refined and relatively reasonably priced set menu with the eye candy of la Tour Eiffel in the distance. Magnifique!
Discover these views with our Google Map!
Do you know any other nice views of Paris from Montmartre? Feel free to add them to the comments below!
Do you want to do more exploring around Montmartre? Check out these other articles on the site!