Musee de Montmartre Museum in Paris

This museum in Paris is dedicated to the history of the Montmartre area and located within one of the oldest houses in Montmartre it depicts different times and places including some of the famous cabaret shows in Paris such as the Moulin Rouge and the Lapin Agile, along with different artists that used to live and work in the area like Auguste Renoir.

A bit of history

This museum is located in the oldest remaining house in Montmartre area, which dates from the 17th century overlooking the Montmartre vineyard,  and the house was originally called Hotel Rosimond, because it was owned by Claude de la Rose, whose stage name was Rosimond.
Musee de Montmartre house facade
It was Rosimond that took over the acting troupe from Moliere who had even performed in front of the king at The Louvre palace, and Moliere had also acted in comedy plays at the Palais Royal among other venues in Paris and hence his troupe was highly successful at that time, which is why Rosimond took it over.

In fact, in 1875 the famous artist Auguste Renoir rented a part of this country house where he painted many of his best known masterpieces such as Le Bal du Moulin de la Galette, which is now on display at the Musee d’Orsay.

It then all started 1886 when the Societe d’Histoire et d’Archeologie Le Vieux Montmartre was founded by artists who wanted to protect the rich history of the area.  This society for the history and archaeology of the Montmartre area in Paris has accumulated over the years well over 6000 works of art including paintings, prints, photographs and sculptures, along with around 100,000 different documents.

Many years later, it was in the same building of the Hotel Rosimond that a museum was created, as it seemed the most apt place from where the society was first started, and the museum was first opened to the public as the Musee de Montmartre back in 1960.

The society was classified as a charity in 1967, obtained the label of Museum of France and has grown from strength to strength ever since, mainly through private donations that have enhanced the collections for everyone to be able to enjoy the history of Paris in this famous area.
The Company Rossillon Kleber that specialises in the management and restoration of cultural sites took over the Musee de Montmartre and they embarked on an ambitious restoration programme that virtually doubled the exhibition space and allows visitors to experience even more.

In addition to the inside space, the original gardens have been enhanced with the whole project completed in 2014, yet this is one of the museums in Paris that remained open to the public throughout the time that these works are being undertaken.

About the Musee de Montmartre

Located at the top of the Butte Montmartre this is a really charming museum in Paris that has such a lot of history relating to the area, that anyone interested in this, or artists, music, paintings, etc will really enjoy the Musee de Montmartre.

Apart from Auguste Renoir, there have been many other artists that have lived at the workshop on the second floor, and a part of the museum depicts the life of these, which includes items of furniture, lithographs and much more within an Atelier Apartment section that was once utilised by Suzanne Valadon, Maurice Utrillo and Andre Utter.
Musee de Montmartre art collection
Musee de Montmartre exhibition
In fact, many objects such as a frying pan in the same place, walls of the bedroom with its original panelling and the barbed wire on the windows can all be seen and the atelier, or workshop, has been reconstructed based upon old photographs, letters and writings of the time.

But this historical building itself also has a pretty garden that surrounds the museum and looks over the Montmartre vineyard, which has been dedicated to Auguste Renoir who resided here between 1875 and 1877 where he painted some of his renowned masterpieces.

The Jardin Renoir of the Musee de Montmartre can be visited separately from the museum itself, plus it is also home to the Cafe Renoir, and provides visitors a little piece of tranquillity and paradise in a city of hustle and bustle.

Yet the Montmartre area has also become famous for its cabaret venues in Paris, like the Moulin Rouge, the Carrousel de Paris and the oldest cabaret venue called the Lapin Agile.  And at the Musee de Montmartre you can get to see paintings, posters, etc that reflect the lively night clubs in Paris of times gone by.

However, there are also numerous documents, prints and other exhibits, along with a large model of the Montmartre area, which is still classed as a village in itself.  And the audio guide that is provided with your visit, will give you more insight about how the area was long ago, with facts like the abbey at the top before the Sacre Coeur Basilica was even there.
Musee de Montmartre recreated Atelier Apartment
Even though Montmartre is the area known for artists, actors, etc, at times like during the French Revolution, it was a place of much bloodshed and this is also depicted at the Musee de Montmartre museum.

But there are also temporary exhibitions that are held at this museum, which highlight different artists from the area and some also depict the cultural life of the Butte Montmartre in Paris.

As we mentioned earlier, there is also a cafe style tea room located at the Montmartre Museum, which is called the Cafe Renoir and has been designed like a winter garden with a glass roof and plenty of plants for added greenery.

It has a decor of period furniture, rattan lights, even a library and lounge area, which all opens up onto the lovely garden and you can enjoy sweet or savoury snacks, or coffee and cakes, just like you will expect to get in a tearoom, plus light lunches are also available for you to enjoy while in a relaxing atmosphere in this historical area of Paris.

Access to the Musee de Montmartre Museum in Paris

Gardens at Musee de Montmartre
Musee de Montmartre Cafe Renoir
The Musee de Montmartre is open daily, except for when it closes on National French holidays and it is open from 10am through to 6pm, however, do bear in mind that last entry is 45 minutes before closing time.

As of 2018 the cost of entry is free for children under the age of 10, €5.50 for people between the ages of 10 and 17, and it is between €9.50 and €12 for anyone 18 and over, yet for students or the disabled upon proof of eligibility there is a reduced rate of between €7.50 and €9.

There are guide leaflets available in French, English, German, Italian and Russian, plus there are free audio guides available in French, English and Spanish, which are included within the cost of entry.

However, you can opt to just visit the Renoir Garden, which is free in low season and a cost of €4 in high season as of 2018, and this is where you will find the Cafe Renoir that is open on a Wednesday through to a Sunday from 12:15pm to 5pm during the winter months, however it is open daily in summer months from noon until 6pm.

Guided tours are also available upon request, yet must be booked in advance and these tours can be conducted in French, English, Italian and Russian, plus workshops for children are also available not forgetting birthday parties, yet these also have to be booked in advance as well.
Temporary art exhibition at Musee de Montmartre

Access to the Musee de Montmartre

You can reach this museum via the Metro stations called the Lamarck-Caulaincourt  stop and the Abbesses stop, both serving line 12.  Alternatively, you can go to the Anvers Metro stop, then take the Funiculaire, which is the funicular cable car up the hill.

Another option is also the Montmartrobus, which are the smaller buses in Paris that will get you around Montmartre and takes you up the hill, rather than having to climb up steep cobbled streets and steps and you would need to the bus stop called Saules - Cortot.

However, for those of you as tourists on holiday in Paris, another option is the Petit Train du Montmartre, which is the tourist train that takes you around the area to see numerous attractions, and stops virtually outside the museum.