Paris Tours: Unbeatable Attractions in the 18th
The 18th is one of the largest arrondissements of Paris, from the seemingly endless hills and stairs of Montmartre to the vibrant North African neighborhood known as the Goutte d’Or. Whether you’re itching for some unique shopping or an intimate place to have a bite or drink, or just want to take a walk through one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the world, Paris tours of the 18th have plenty to offer.
Take a Walk
Once you’ve hit the tourist landmarks like the Moulin Rouge, Sacré Coeur and Place du Tertre, wander off the beaten path and enjoy the white-washed locales of Montmartre that have inspired films from Funny Face to Amélie. The building attached to le Consulat (18, rue Norvins) was featured in Woody Allen’s Everyone Says I Love You, and the Abbesses quarter is chock-full of recognizable locales from the dreamy film Amélie. You can eat at the Café des Deux Moulins (15, rue Lepic), where Amélie worked as a waitress, and shop at the produce spot where the proprietor torments poor Lucien.
Café des Deux Moulins.
Wind your way behind the Sacré Coeur to rue Saint-Vincent, immortalized in the Yves Montand song of the same name, past Paris’s only operating vineyard, le Clos Montmartre (14–18, rue des Saules), which hosts the annual autumnal Fête des Vendanges, and finish at rue des Saules, a tiny dead-end street that houses some photogenic homes and Au Lapin Agile (22, rue des Saules; a cabaret once frequented by Pablo Picasso), and sometimes acts as a pop-up dog park for neighborhood pups.
For one-of-a-kind Paris tours, don’t miss a walk through the colorful and lively Goutte d’Or, or Drop of Gold, neighborhood in the east 18th. Lined with produce markets and vividly patterned fabric shops, the bustling, fragrant and noisy Goutte d’Or is like no other ’hood in Paris. Check out le Marché Dejean (on the rue of the same name) every day except Monday for its open-air market, filled with traditional African ingredients. While you’re in the neighborhood, stop by rue Ordener between rue Léon and rue Stephenson; here you’ll find an ever-changing wall mural that bursts with the colors, texts and images from some of the area’s local graffiti artists.
Soak Up Some Culture
Montmartre has two hard-to-beat museums. The Espace Dalí (11, rue Poulbot) houses a world-class collection of some of the Surrealist’s most mind-bending works and a gift shop to match. The Musée de Montmartre (12–14, rue Cortot) pays tribute to the history of this unforgettable neighborhood, tracing its origins as a hot spot for artists and intellectuals to its role today as one of Paris’s biggest tourist destinations.
Have a Bite
Of course, traversing the hills and stairwells of Montmartre is sure to work up your appetite. Les Ambassades (25, rue Lamarck), tucked into the armpit of rue Lamarck, has a massive interior decorated in the style of Louis XVI, classic French dishes inflected with a Mediterranean flair and a large, romantic terrace lined with fresh flower bouquets.
Chez Marie (27, rue Gabrielle) is impossible to miss, its bright red exterior beckoning from the foot of the steps of rue du Calvaire, and this family-run bistro has fresh, simple dishes that will warm you from the inside out.
Boulangeries in the 18th have dominated the “Best Baguette” contests for five of the past six years. While you’re in the neighborhood, don’t skip a trip to Boulangerie Mauvieux (159, rue Ordener), whose tradition won Best Baguette of Paris in 2012. They’re also among the cheapest and friendliest boulangeries around, to which I can honestly attest because I live down the street and have tried every single boulangerie in the neighborhood.
Have a Drink
There is no shortage of places in the 18th to pop in for a drink, but some of the best ones are rather hidden. Au Rendez-vous des Amis (23, rue Gabrielle), next door to Chez Marie, is an authentic spot to hobnob with neighborhood locals over extremely cheap drinks served at your mosaic-tiled table. During the busiest hours, it can be tough to find a table, so don’t be afraid to belly up to the bar and make conversation with the locals who frequent the joint.
At the very northernmost part of the 18th, la Timbale (2, rue Versigny) draws the neighborhood’s hippest and chicest with happy-hour pints for 3 euros and friendly service. But a fantastic splurge would be to make a reservation at Hôtel Particulier (23, avenue Junot), an ornately decorated hotel and bar in west Montmartre accessible only by a nondescript locked gate and a little trip down a hidden alleyway. Once you get in, though, the drinks are fantastic and creative, the service immaculate and the ambience divine.
Though the Marais is famous for its thrift and vintage stores, not many people know that the south end of Montmartre boasts more than a few secondhand shops all in close proximity to one another. Check out la Caverne à Fripes Vintage (25, rue Houdon), a true treasure dig; By Flowers (86, rue des Martyrs), with its finely curated collection and indie pop piped throughout the store; and Chinemachine (100, rue des Martyrs), which always has an unbeatable selection of vintage designer duds for less. Don’t miss its men’s vintage and sales in the cave downstairs.
In searching for unique souvenirs, I can’t recommend Belle de Jour enough (7, rue Tardieu). This beautiful boutique adjacent to Sacré Coeur is packed with antique perfume bottles and other ancient girly curiosities, like pocket mirrors and vintage beauty posters. Just next door is Pylones (7, rue Tardieu), which I admit is an international chain but I must confess I’m always drawn in by its eye-popping array of colorful, whimsical Paris-themed knickknacks. Both of these lovely shops will yield a memorable souvenir of your day in Montmartre.
Though you could spend days in the 18th Arrondissement (personally, I’m working on my second year), if you head in willing to walk, climb and wander off the beaten path, you’ll be rewarded with a day filled with delight and diversity.
Au Lapin Agile
Musée de Montmartre
Belle de Jour
Editor’s note: We have a brand-new partner, the fashion site L’Exception. Shop for the latest Paris fashions from your iPad or laptop. If you spend more than 200 euros, you’ll receive free shipping anywhere in the world using our special code, GG2PFree.