Exploring historic Montmartre ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics

As Paris prepares to host the Olympics, Samantha Mayling explores a historic part of the city on a walking tour with Intrepid Travel

What could be more Parisian than the Moulin Rouge and Sacré-Coeur? But, as our guide Linda Burzoni tells us, they are actually Montmartrois. Originally, Montmartre village and its 13 windmills sat outside the capital, but by the 1860s Napoleon III’s expanding Paris had reached the outskirts and Montmartre soon became home to a community of Impressionist artists, philosophers and writers seeking a cheaper area to live.

This is just one of many intriguing facts shared by Linda on this Intrepid Urban Adventures tour – a quick stop on our way as part of an Atas fam trip to Lake Como by train. And it makes for a fantastic way to break up the journey.

Linda meets us at Blanche metro station, named after the white powder scattered by carts from gypsum quarries. The Moulin Rouge opened here in 1889, with its fake red mill advertising its seductive charms to Parisians. It became famous for risqué can-can dancers, and the current show Féerie still sells out most nights.

There’s more evidence of Montmartre’s legacy of mills as we reach Café des Deux Moulins – featured in the film Amélie. Fans can also visit the location of a greengrocer from the film at Au Marché de la Butte.

Pictured: The Atas experiences group of agents

At our next stop, Linda buys us some deliciously buttery, flaky croissants and tells us about their history – from the Ottoman Empire and Vienna to today’s annual competition to decide who supplies the French president.

We also learn about the Art Nouveau design styles seen on the metro stations and buildings, and also about famous residents such as Picasso, who lived here during his ‘rose period’, US writer Gertrude Stein and singer Dalida.

We pose for pictures outside Le Moulin de la Galette, one of the original 13 windmills built in the 17th and 18th centuries, which was painted by Renoir, Van Gogh and Picasso. There’s even a vineyard – the last one in Montmartre.

Then we reach the hilltop and the iconic Sacré-Coeur, the basilica completed just over 100 years ago, with its views across the vibrant city. As bustling, sprawling Paris gears up to host the Olympic Games this summer, this tour offers a fascinating way to explore the city’s rich past.

Main picture: Shutterstock / Catarina Belova

Go to Source...