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La Victoire de Samothrace, Unknown, 190 BC

Nouvelle Athènes & Montmartre

19th century

The late 19th century was an incredibly rich period in terms of artistic creation in Paris.

We have an entire walk dedicated to 19th century art at the Musée d'Orsay. We highly recommend taking a look!

To get some sense of where it was all happening, we recommend taking a stroll through the 9th arrondissement and Montmartre. Many of the original buildings are gone or heavily refurbished but you do get a sense of the vibe of the quartier.

The Opera Garnier was built in 1875, as part of Haussmann's great transformations of Paris. Throughout the 19th century, France was at the forefront of opera. Famous works by Meyerbeer, Rossini, Berlioz, Gounod, Verdi, Wagner... were created in that period.

The Boulevard des Italiens, just off the Opera. was one of the most fashionable boulevards in the 19th century. It was lined with cafés and theatres and was a favourite place to meet and socialise. It was immortalised by artists like Pissarro and Caillebotte. If you get a chance, try the Bouillon Chartier for lunch for a true brasserie experience.

Walk the Rue de la Tour-des-Dames, a street full of townhouses owned by famous actors of the Comédie Française, including Mademoiselle Mars, Mademoiselle Duchesnois and Talma.

Visit the Musée Gustave Moreau, a small intimate museum, stacked with the artist's work.

Find the square d'Orléans, the hidden home of many artists including Chopin, George Sand and Alexandre Dumas.

Walk up to the Place Saint Georges, a quiet square with two beautiful townhouses, one owned by famous courtesan La Paiva, another by the second French president Adolphe Thiers.

Visit the Musée de la Vie Romantique, a beautiful townhouse owned by artist Ary Scheffer who hosted salons every week with George Sand, Chopin, Delacroix, Ingres, Lamartine, Liszt... Not many Parisians know it exists.

Finish at the Place Blanche, opposite the famous Moulin Rouge, or the Place Pigalle, where you can sneak a peak at the elusive Avenue Frochot, a peaceful and intriguing enclave, home to artists like Theophile Gautier, Baudelaire, Alexandre Dumas, Gustave Moreau, Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, Jean Renoir...

Fun fact : many theatres and cabarets like the Moulin Rouge, Chat noir, Elysées Montmartre were built on Boulevards (Clichy, Rochechouart...) as the streets were previously walls delimiting the city. Being inside the walls on the Paris side meant paying taxes, so many cabarets, bars and cafes were built on the outside.

Keep climbing the hill and enter Montmartre, another hotspot of 19th-20th century art.

Much of it has been saturated by touristic sites, but you can still glimpse some of its bohemian vibe today.

Montmartre was really remote in the 19th century, filled with fields and gardens and windmills.

The Moulin de la Galette, now surrounded by buildings, was a windmill surrounded by fields, and a favourite dancing spot for Parisians during the weekends, as immortalised by Renoir, Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec

The Lapin Agile is a gem of a place that still conveys some of the bohemian vibe of 19th-20th century Montmartre. It was a favourite restaurant/cabaret for artists like Picasso, Modigliani and Apollinaire.

Make sure to drop by the secretive Hotel Particulier, a hotel and bar accessed by a secret door in Montmartre, and which conveys some of the bucolic nature of Montmartre.

The Avenue Junot, Villa Leandre and the rue de l'Abreuvoir are also nice streets to walk.

We'll end this walk here, on the cusp of the 20th century, although there are a million more things to say.

If you've made it this far and want to know more, shoot us a message :)