A trip to Paris is not complete without a stroll through Montmartre. From the Sacré-Coeur basilica to the typical streets, reminiscent of a provincial village, it is simply lovely. The artists on the streets, the shops, the art galleries, the numerous restaurants and bistros (do not forget to eat some Moules Marinières!), the hustle and bustle of tourists (yes is a bit overcrowded!), the color and the animation, transport us to a less sophisticated Paris, to a bohemian and more irreverent city that captivates you at the first look.
Its even more interesting if you go for the less crowded streets, where you can find precious places. For instances, although Sacré-Coeur is beautiful and imposing, its a very recent monument (around 100 years) while the Church of St-Pierre de Montmartre is one of the most ancient churches of Paris (founded in the twelfth century). In the inside one can find four marble columns that are believed to be from a roman temple that existed on the same place.
The Place du Tertre is the Parisian square at the highest altitude and became associated to the artists that in the nineteenth century used to expose their paintings there. Nowadays is full of artists that work and sell to the tourists. There are also lots of restaurants and coffee-shops where to take some refreshment.
Who loves beautiful shops and sweet things can not avoid a (prolonged) visit in these two stores: La Cure Gourmande and Maison Georges Larnicol where you can find cakes, biscuits, chocolates and sweets. Perhaps it is not entirely handcrafted products because these are chain stores, but will certainly please the majority and there you may find sweet gifts for friends and family.
And off course the sound track for this visit must be the one from the film Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie Poluain!
You can reach Montmartre by Metro (stations Anvers or Pigalle). If you feel that going up the hill is to much for you, there is a funicular, starting at Rue Foyatier, that can take you up to Sacré-Coeur (you can use the Metro tickets there). But if you want to take my suggestion, when coming down, opt for the iconic cobbled stone stairs.