Perched on a steep hill north of the city center is Montmartre and the beautiful Sacre-Coeur church. Montmartre remains a contained and only slightly sullied throwback to a bygone era, with winding streets, ivy-clad houses with exquisite gardens, and artists' studios that one could picture Picasso slaving away in.
Sacre Coeur is endlessly besieged by bus tours, as is the Place du Tertre, the main artist hub. As soon as you get off the main thoroughfares, the area is surprisingly village like. The tiny 12th-century church of St-Pierre de Montmartre is one of the oldest in the city, while the quiet streets, cafes and squares have a character quite unlike the rest of Paris.
For a total change of mood, head down to Pigalle, the neighborhood along Boulevards Clichy and Rochechouart. Tourists are still driven in to inspect the neon-lit peep shows of the area, but Pigalle is also increasingly the center for music, lively nightclubs and quirky late night bars, as more and more former cabarets reopen as modern clubs and bars. The area can be rough so be careful.
Saint Pierre de Montmartre Information:
This ancient church in Paris is the last remnant of the royal abbey founded by Louis VI and his wife Adélaïde de Savoie. On the left side of the property, stands the Cimetière du Calvaire. The cemetery is open only to visitors on All Saints day. Here lie Bougainville, the duke of Fitz-James and the sculptor Pigalle.
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