Montmartre is the hill in the North of Paris upon which the Basilica de Sacré Cœur is situated. From here, the views of the city are wonderful, and give one a chance to reflect upon the luminous bohemian history of the area. Is there anywhere else that can boast Pissarro, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, Matisse, Renoir, Picasso and Modigliani as former residents? By the 1890s, the area was the artistic hub of Paris, with many of these artists – and associated models, lovers and hangers-on - living and working together in close quarters.
Montmartre is not what it used to be – the film Amélie (2001) painted an idealised, charming version of the place now – but it still retains a village-like atmosphere and there is plenty nearby to see: the Espace Dali (a permanent exhibition devoted to the great man), Le Moulin de la Galette (a lovely restaurant with a windmill on it) and the Moulin Rouge (they still do the can-can) which is situated in Pigalle (that’s the red light district, kids). There is also the Place du Tertre, where many artists gather in the morning, set up their easels and sketch portraits of tourists for a small fee; it is a sweet nod to Montmartre’s artistic past.