One thing's for sure: La Bohème it ain't anymore. Although inundated by tourists these days, Montmartre, an old artists' neighborhood crowning a hill at Paris's northern edge (the 18eme), still has an intriguing village flavor and remains one of the best Parisian areas to wander.
Its southern slopes are familiar to anyone who enjoyed the film Amèlie, its crest is a cobblestoned village once popular with down-and-out Impressionists and now crawling with tourists, and the whole of it is crowned by the confection of the Sacre Coeur basilica (» more).
The steps in front of the Basilica du Sacre Coeur in Montmartre make for an excellent spot to take in the sunset over the city of Paris.
Work your way uphill to the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur (there's a funicular to save you the steep stairs; cost: one Métro ticket), a frosty white neo-Byzantine basilica built from 1876 to 1919 and towering over the city.
Climb the dome for a vista that on clear days extends 35 miles. (» more)
Some of Montmartre's quirkiest sights include Paris's only vineyard, on rue des Saules, and a pair of windmills visible from rue Lepic (one at rue Girardon, the other a half a block to the west)—built in 1622 to mill flour; turned into outdoor dance halls in the 1870s.
Near the vineyard, at 12–14 rue Cortot, is the Montmartre Museum (tel. +33-(0)1-49-25-89-37; www.museedemontmartre.fr, open daily 10am–6pm), dedicated to the neighborhood in a house that was, at times, occupied by the artistic likes of Van Gogh, Renoir, and Utrillo.
Pay your respects to the writers Stendhal and Dumas, the composers Offenbach and Berlioz, and the painter Degas at their graves in the Cimitère de Montmartre on avenue Rachel ().
There is a ton of restaurants in Montmartre.
After your meal, finish the evening in the Au Lapin Agile (22 rue des Saules at rue Saint-Vincent; tel. +33-(0)1-46-06-85-87; www.au-lapin-agile.com)—in Picasso and Utrillo's day called Café des Assassins—Paris's most famous foremost spot for traditional folk music.
You're almost guaranteed to hear, at least once, an accordion and piano rendition of La Vie en Rose while sitting around the edges of a dark, wood-paneled back room with a tiny, over-priced drink surrounded by other grinning tourists.
Cover, including first drink, is a steep €24. Subsequent drinks are €6–€7. Au Lapin Agile is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9pm to 1am.