The Definitive Guide to Montmartre & Pigalle

In the 18th arrondissement, Montmartre, the artists’ village where masters like Picasso and Renoir had studios (and backdrop to French cult classic Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain), spills down from the Sacré-Cœur, on the city’s highest butte, or hill. The former red-light district of Pigalle, in the 9th arrondissement, unfolds underneath. Home to the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret, the area is one of the city’s most vibrant, with design-forward boutique hotels, award-winning cocktail bars, and artisanal bakeries that are among the best in Paris. With histories that intertwine yet spirits all their own, here are some of the best things to do and places to visit in neighboring Montmartre and Pigalle on your next trip to the French capital.  

Where to Stay:

Credit: Benoit Linero

Le Pigalle

Vintage-style throwbacks sit alongside more modern additions like photographs and illustrations created by local artists in the 40-room neo-classical building. Everything from the croissants sourced at a nearby bakery to the DJ lineup and the hotel’s locally-driven restaurant nods to the energy and culture of the surrounding neighborhood.

Credit: Jérome Galland

La Fantaisie

Among the crop of whimsical, dreamlike hotels to debut in Paris pre-Olympics, the Martin Brudnizki-designed boutique hotel is a lively newcomer in a stretch of the ninth arrondissement that’s more village than vibey. La Fantaisie’s oasis-like courtyard garden inspires bespoke furniture, floral wallpaper prints, and mosaics in the spa, a partnership with holistic Parisian beauty brand Holidermie.

Where to Eat & Drink:


Chef Léa Lestage (previously of three-star Epicure) and her partner William Atlan, whose resume includes cooking with Daniel Rose at La Bourse et la Vie, are behind the market-driven restaurant that’s a welcome addition to Butte Montmartre, where it can be tough to find gems in an area catering to tourists. 

Sister Midnight

The duo behind Red House in the 11th arrondissement embraced Pigalle’s glam rock roots with their boudoir-inspired craft cocktail bar that’s popular for its Saturday night drag and burlesque show.

KB Coffee Roasters

One of the early pioneers to spearhead Paris’s third-wave coffee movement, KB Coffee Roasters in South Pigalle takes a cue from Australia’s craft coffee culture. The menu is small but strong—think an espresso bar with beans from Guatemala and Papua New Guinea, classics like a flat white and cold brew, and a display of fresh sandwiches, scones and sweet treats.

Hotel Particulier Montmartre

Lush, manicured gardens designed by Louis Benech (also behind the renovation of a historic section of the Jardin des Tuileries) shield the former Hermès family home near Sacré-Cœur. On a warm day, take a seat at one of the wrought-iron tables outside for lunch, afternoon tea, or cocktails in what claims the title of Paris’s largest hotel garden.


One of Mamiche’s trio of bakeries, the women-run boulangerie in the 9th arrondissement is among the top in town (the queue outside instantly gives it away). Be sure to try a sourdough baguette tradition and the best-selling chocolate marbled babka—which you can order by the slice.

Maggie Rooftop at Hôtel Rochechouart

Each new hotel in Paris seems to sport a rooftop bar these days, but one whose views are hard to beat is the ninth-floor Maggie Rooftop, where wrought-iron tables are tucked in an urban garden of rosemary and lavender and show off a 360-degree panorama of Paris.

Where to Visit:

Stroll Around Sacré-Cœur & Montmartre’s Main Square, Place du Tertre 

You can spot the towering Sacré-Cœur basilica’s all-white façade from practically any part of Paris—and the landmark is worth a visit at least once. After popping inside to admire the largest mosaic in France, spanning more than 5,160 square feet, make your way around the Butte Montmartre to one of Paris’s most iconic squares, Place du Tertre, to sip wine at Chez Eugène and people-watch as artists paint at easels. 

Visit the Gustave Moreau Museum

Curated by the artist himself before his death at the end of the 19th century, the French painter—deemed one of the most important in the Symbolist movement—transformed his three-story family home and studio into a museum to display his life’s work: hundreds of paintings and watercolors and thousands of drawings.

Shop Sales at A.P.C. Surplus

The epitome of that French je ne sais quoi cool, the minimalist-chic brand known for its raw denim and timeless everyday staples sells discounted clothing and accessories at up to 50% off at two outlet shops (men’s and women’s) sitting side-by-side on a winding street leading up to Butte Montmartre.

Catch a Drag Show at Cabaret Madame Arthur

Paris is the origin of cabaret culture, but Madame Arthur was the first in the city to add a drag spin when it debuted nearly 75 years ago. Now, a young crowd of 20- and 30-somethings stand concert-style or sit at one of the round tables facing the stage for the interactive performances followed by DJs spinning until dawn on weekends. 

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