Le Moulin de la Galette - Atlas Obscura

Le Moulin de la Galette

Montmartre's sole surviving windmill became an iconic landmark for 19th-century painters, artists, and bohemians.  


At the intersection of Lepic and Girardon in Paris’s Montmartre neighborhood, the empty husk of a mill, known as Le Moulin de la Galette, is perched above a restaurant. This is the oldest mill still standing in Montmartre and serves as a reminder that in the early 19th century, Montmartre was a rural area sprinkled with mills, vineyards, and wheat fields before it was incorporated into Paris. This area formerly housed two mills, the Radet and the Blute-fin, first documented in 1622.

Le Moulin de la Galette dates back to the 17th century when it was built as part of a group of windmills to grind wheat into flour. In the late 19th century, as industrialization diminished the need for windmills, the area around Le Moulin de la Galette transformed into a bustling entertainment district, attracting artists, writers, and bohemians.

During this time, the windmill became a focal point of artistic and social activity. It featured prominently in paintings and literature. Renowned artists such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Vincent van Gogh immortalized the mill and neighborhood in their works, capturing the vibrant atmosphere of Montmartre’s café culture. Renoir’s famous painting “Bal du Moulin de la Galette” depicts a lively dance scene at the base of the windmill, showcasing the era’s carefree spirit.

Le Moulin de la Galette also served as a gathering place for prominent figures of the Impressionist movement, including Édouard Manet, Renoir, and Edgar Degas. They frequented the nearby cabarets and cafes, drawing inspiration from Montmartre’s colorful characters and bustling streets. 

Despite changing ownership and periods of neglect, Le Moulin de la Galette has retained its historical charm and cultural importance. Today, it stands as a symbol of Montmartre’s artistic heritage, attracting visitors from around the world who come to experience its rich history and picturesque surroundings. Whether through its portrayal in famous paintings or its role as a gathering place for artists, Le Moulin de la Galette continues to be a beacon of creativity and expression in Paris.

Know Before You Go

To get to Le Moulin de la Galette in Montmartre from the center of Paris, you have a few transportation options.

Metro: Take the metro line 2 (blue line) towards Porte Dauphine and get off at the Blanche station. From Blanche station, it's about a 10-minute walk to Le Moulin de la Galette. Follow signs towards Montmartre and then follow the streets towards Rue Lepic. The windmill will be located on Rue Lepic.

Bus: You can take bus number 30, 54, or 95 and get off at the stop 'Moulin de la Galette'. Check the exact bus routes and schedules as they might vary depending on the time of the day.

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