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Le Petit Train of Montmartre is the same kind that tours in Nice, France. It's parfait for little kids with lazy parents.

We tried to get on this train one cold and wet day back in October, and it never arrived!! That was a killer day for me because we waited for 40 minutes (they are supposed to come every half hour), and decided to walk up the hill of Montmartre when the train was a no-show. All I can remember is that we were cold and tired and Clarisse had a huge tantrum near Place du Tertre (the square where all the painters hang out), and screamed like a banshee. [Plenty of ‘ooh-la-las’ from passers-by.] Oh yeah, we also took the wrong bus back, which led us to wait another 15 minutes for another bus and…well, what doesn’t kill me, makes me age considerably.

The train departs from Place Blanche, which happens to be 'in front' of the Moulin Rouge. There is a rather large, raised metal grate that blows hot air from the Metro. Luckily, my kids were loud and silly here without repercussion.

Anyway, THIS TIME, we caught the train which waits near the Metro station Blanche, and had a whole booth to ourselves. It was a cool and sunny day, and a 10 Euro trip return (4 E for children under 12, free for children under 4, adults 6 E) which is a bar-goon considering I pay anywhere from 2.50 to 5 E per child to ride on a carrousel, and you know those are scattered all over Paris and lasts only 3 minutes. So this train ride was a STEAL for a 35 minute ride.

Our tour around the 'butte' (=hill) of Montmartre. At the base of the hill, is the carrousel and many gypsies who find you 'golden rings' or ask to weave bracelets on your wrists and then demand money.

Everyone must “descend” off the train near Place du Tertre so we looked around briefly but we’ve seen it before so we boarded the same train when it departed 15 minutes later. But if it’s your first time, take the time to explore the beautiful sites like La Basilique Sacré-Coeur, its view of Paris, and the vibrant artsy neighbourhood that lays at her feet.

Street entertainer as a wind-up doll, near Place du Tertre.

In the very touristy Place du Tertre, many artists sell their work in the open square.

Many artists will also approach tourists to do their caricatures. I liked this one.

I wasn’t expecting much but this train ride was actually a lot of fun! The audiotour was in French and English and I saw where the van Gogh brothers lived and passed by Toulouse-Lautrec’s apartment. Of course, the road was very bumpy when we hit the cobblestones and the kids had a great time bouncing all over the seats. [Note: Children are expected to be well-behaved and QUIET in public, like adults. My children, however, never took to pacifiers and were laughing boisterously. We received icy stares from a French mum and her tween daughter seats ahead of us. See my aside in my Doisneau post.] And, we took a different route back so it was an interesting tour.

Although it looks pretty sad now, the 'Clos Montmartre' vineyard is lush in the summer and has a huge grape harvest celebration during Fête des Vendanges in the autumn.

We learned that Metro station 'Abbesses' is one of the deepest stations of the Paris subway system. The entrance is 1 of 3 originals left, designed by Hector Guimard. How French Art Nouveau!

Le Chat Noir is thought to be the first modern cabaret, opening in 1881 and often recognized for its stylish poster. It is now a hotel/brasserie. We had to drive through seedy Pigalle to return to Place Blanche.

If you read my post about Nice, there is a Petit Train there too and it does the same thing: it takes you up a hill in a nice, roundabout way, with a sometimes asynchronous audiotour, and it gets stuck in traffic for 10 of the 35-45 minute tour. But hey! I am free from pushing a flimsy stroller up a cobblestone road, free from driving in that traffic, my kids are happy riding a train and no one is tired and grumpy by the end of it. I get a nice tour and can return on foot for further exploration. Although teaching my kids about French culture through Doisneau was a bust, Le Petit Train succeeded in educating them of Montmartre‘s unique neighbourhood. Bravo!

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