Localers, as the name suggests, provides visitors with a taste of Paris from the expertise of local Parisians. Localers tour guides are experts in whatever you are touring in Paris, be it history, literature, food, or a Parisian neighbourhood. You will surely have a unique and educational experience.
Localers provided Mark and I with a wonderful experience last September on the Photo Tour with Bruno. This time, I embarked on the Montmartre and Sacré Coeur Walking Tour with Localers tour guide Marion. I could barely contain my excitement! Marion is a singer and songwriter. As such, she was the perfect tour guide for the wonderfully bohemian neighbourhood of Montmartre.
After a short introduction, we began the tour and the slow, meandering walk up the hill toward Basilica Sacré Coeur. Many people compare Montmartre to a small village. Only this small village is attached to the biggest city in France. Montmartre is able to keep its identity due to the small streets and friendly residents. As we walked passed delicatessens, bakeries, florists and cafés receiving their daily shipment of goods or placing their wares on display, shop workers would not hesitate to wave, bid each other “bonjour” and assist shoppers with the selection of their product. It is plain to see how easy it is to become acquainted with those living and working in your neighbourhood.
The name Montmartre is a bit of a mystery with two possible explanations for its provenance. The first explanation is derived from “Mont des martres” (or mount of martyrs) where Saint Denis was martyred and later became the patron saint of Paris. The second possibility is an evolution of “Mont de Mars” (mount of Mars) after the god of war from the time when Romans ruled much of the known world.
Famously, the character Amélie from the movie Amélie lived in Montmartre and worked at Le Café des Deux Moulins which was our first stop.
The conversation shifted naturally towards the great artists and writers who lived in Paris in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. One stop included the house in which Van Gogh lived for two years with his brother.
Marion guided us through the winding, uphill streets of Montmartre. She pointed out the remaining windmills in Montmartre and explained the stories of various statues along the way. The lives of the artists, writers, and muses who lived in Montmartre were subject of much of the discussion during the tour. Picasso, Matisse, Eric Satie, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ezra Pound – most under the guidance of the great Gertrude Stein – all lived and worked and partied in Montmartre.
As we neared the Basilica Sacré Coeur, Marion invited us to stroll through an artists square. Here, we browsed artist’s paintings and sketches available for purchase. Tourists and artists crowded this area of Montmartre. Here is where you begin see the tourist side of Montmartre.
Our final attraction was the Basilica Sacré Coeur. We entered and did a quick tour of the interior. Marion did not talk to us inside the basilica out of respect of the Holy House and to those praying.
The tour ended and I was, once again, extremely satisfied with Localers. A fun, informative tour with a friendly, knowledgeable and interesting tour guide! I cannot say enough good things about this tour and Localers – you’ll just have to experience it yourself!
Marion was a fabulous guide. She answered all our questions, brought visual aids, and had great recommendations for lunch after the tour.
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I was a guest on the Montmartre and Sacré Coeur Walking Tour with Localers. The opinions expressed in this article are my own and all photos are owned by Amanda Holmes.