It is easy to identified Montmartre only with the very touristy place, the Sacro Coeur church, one of the symbols of Paris. However, that is not it, on a close look, in Montmartre you can find a bit of everything: from the thousands of tourists of Place du Tertre, to the glimpses of Renoire’s paintings, to the modern portraitists who approach you on the street; from courteous and helpful Parisians to the less friendly and quite snobbish ones who only speak to you in French; up to the signs of the economic crisis that France is also experiencing.
Montmartre is located in the 18th arrondissment and is the only hill in Paris: it is no coincidence that the French call it “La Butte” and until the beginning of the last century it was characterized by vineyards and windmills.
There is plenty of small and bigger Hotels, mainly located almost at the foot of the hill, in the north of Paris: looking up you can see, imposing, the dome of the Sacro Coeur but to get there it is necessary a walk of at least 15 minutes uphill.
It is a pleasant experience walking through the streets and admiring the art noveau buildings, the Town Hall, the Notre Dame de Cignancourt church, the numerous cafes, boulangeries, supermarkets (such as the G20, popular with the locals) and various shops (the Manga Space comic book-bookshop is delightful); discovering the small gardens that characterize every corner of Paris.
In this area of Paris there is lots of businesses run by foreigners, including minimarket and coffee, a sign of the strong presence of immigrants who have managed to integrate into the social fabric, at least from the point of view of work.
For a sightseeing tour of Montmartre, without getting too tired, you can also use the little train, which allows you to see the most characteristic places.