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If you are the kind of tourist that does not travel to discover things, but to recognize them, the 18th district is for you. Here you will find what you have already seen in movies and postcards: sex industry in Pigalle, mills and artists in Montmartre.

Saint-Ouen                    Saint-Denis
    |                Clignancourt        Chapelle        Aubervilliers
    |                      \                ++                 ++|  
    |                       \               ++                 ++|  
    |                        \              ++                 ++|  
    |                         \             ++                 ++|  
    |                          \            ++                 ++|  
    |_____ rue Ordener          \           ++                 ++|  
    |     -------______          \          ++                 ++|  
    |                  ------_____\         ++                 ++|  
17th|                             -|--____  ++                 ++|19th
    |                              |      --++--______         ++|  
    |                              |        ++        ------___++|  
    |           _____________      |        ++                 ++|  
    |          /rue Caulainc.\_    |        ++                 ++|  
    |         /                \   |        ++                 ++|  
    |        /                  \_ |        ++                 ++|  
    |       /            Sacré    \|        ++                 ++|  
    |      /             Coeur     |        ++                 ++|  
    |    /                         |        ++                 ++|  
    |   /                          |        ++                 ++|  
    | /    Pl        Pl          Barbès     ++                 ++|  
                                           Gare                ++
         9th                               Nord     10th      Gare Est

Everything in italics is outside the district. ++ signs indicate the railroads. The 18th district is the 2nd most populated district in Paris with 184,586 inhabitants in 1990. It's the 3rd largest district (7.15 km2).


Jean-Baptiste Pigalle was a French sculptor in the 18th century. Now he is one of the most important night life and sex areas in Europe, but it's not his fault. Night clubs and sex shops gather on a continuous line from Place Pigalle to Place Blanche and beyond, on the frontier between the 18th district and the 9th district. One of the most famous French cabarets, the Moulin Rouge, stands on Place Blanche.

Montmartre and Sacré-Coeur

From Pigalle, gloomy (and busy at night) streets go up to Montmartre, one of the highest hills in Paris, and certainly the most famous. Montmartre is a labyrinth of streets and stairs where your only landmark is the slope of the hill. Every pedestrian, after walking at random, naturally gets to Place du Tertre, where dozens of painters are waiting for them. A little farther, you'll get to the Sacré-Coeur.

The Sacré-Coeur is a gigantic white basilica, built by the Parisians at the end of the 19th century. Because it stands on the highest point in Montmartre, you can see it from everywhere in Paris. It also gives a good point of view over the capital. The church itself, with its eclectic and pompous style, is not the best example of French good taste. However, as often in Paris, the gardens that go down from the church to the bottom of the hill produce a beautiful perspective.

This perspective is very well used in a movie which has been the largest success in French cinemas since Titanic: Amélie Poulain (Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain). The movie gave a popular, old-fashioned vision of Montmartre which has little to do with the real Montmartre. The movie aimed at pleasure, not accuracy. Amélie's café and Amélie's greengrocer really exist, the former in rue Lepic and the latter a few blocks above.

Montmartre is worth a long walk. On the northern part you can find vineyards that sell a few bottles of wine every year. Or a small cemetary. Or old cabarets which were famous one century ago. Or references to the Paris Commune. Or mills. Not all areas are reserved to tourists. Two blocks above Pigalle, Place des Abbesses is a pleasant and popular area in the evening.

The rest of the district

The eastern half of the district contains many different nationalities. Rue Poulet (metro Chateau-Rouge) is a crowded African quarter. Goutte d'Or (metro Barbes-Rochechouart) is the most important North-African quarter, and one of the most crowded places on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The Indian town of the 10th district extends north of metro La Chapelle, between the railroads of Gare du Nord and the railroads of Gare de l'Est. And finally you will also find Chinese shops and others in that area.

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