This is my guide to Rue St Rustique, an evocative street in Montmartre and one of the oldest in the city of Paris.
Rue St Rustique is one of the best places in Paris if you want a taste of how the city once was. It’s one of the most beautiful Paris streets, its houses framing a gorgeous view of Sacré Coeur basilica.
It’s also one of a few Montmartre streets to retain a peaceful village feel, and it somehow escapes the crowds of Place du Tertre, just a block away.
My Rue St Rustique guide delves into the history of the street, and shows you how to find it and what else you can see close by in Montmartre. I hope you find it helpful.
Why Visit Rue St Rustique Paris
Rue St Rustique offers a brief, quiet glimpse into old Montmartre and, indeed, old Paris.
It’s a narrow, atmospheric cobbled lane with a wonderful view of the Basilica of Sacré Coeur, framed between the houses of the street.
It is one of the few places in the city where you feel like you’re stepping back in time.
Other than walking along the street, it’s also possible to enjoy a drink or meal at one of the street tables at the back of Chez Ma Cousine restaurant and cabaret.
Rue Saint Rustique is possibly the oldest street in Montmartre, though it’s unlikely that it’s the oldest Paris street.
Who Was St Rustique
Little is known about St Rustique. He is believed to have been a companion of St Denis, one of the patron saints of and the first bishop of Paris, who was decapitated on Montmartre in the late third century AD.
According to tradition, St Rustique was martyred along with Denis and the deacon St Éleuthère.
St Rustique’s feast day is 9th October, the same day as St Denis.
Rue St Rustique: History
Montmartre was, until the 19th century, a rural village overlooking the vast French capital. Some traces of its rural past survive, including Rue St Rustique, one of the oldest streets in Montmartre.
The area – known as Mons Martis, the hill of Mars, was occupied during Roman times, most likely many years prior to the martyrdom of the three saints in the 3rd century.
We don’t know when the street originated, but the village of Montmartre was in existence by the 11th century, so it’s possible that it dates from that time, making it around a thousand years old.
During the 16th century it was known as Rue Notre Dame and was – like today – a narrow alleyway running parallel to the larger, wider Rue Norvins.
It was renamed Rue St Rustique after the local martyr in 1867.
Rue St Rustique has been described as the oldest street in Paris, but this is unlikely. Rue St Jacques, in the Latin Quarter on the Left Bank, has a much stronger claim, as it follows the line of the old Roman road into the city from southern Gaul.
Where Is Rue Saint Rustique
Rue St Rustique is in the heart of Montmartre. It runs from Rue des Saules in the west to Rue du Mont Cenis a little over 100 metres to the east.
It’s a small, narrow lane, parallel to the much busier Rue des Norvins and the northern side of Place du Tertre. It can be found between the famous Le Consulat café and restaurant and La Bonne Franquette, a few metres away.
You can also reach Rue Saint-Rustique from the opposite end, via the bustle of Rue du Mont-Cenis. This end of Rue St Rustique is just metres away from St Pierre de Montmartre, one of the oldest churches in Paris.
How To Get To Rue St-Rustique
Rue St Rustique is close to the summit of the Butte de Montmartre, and one of the most enjoyable ways to reach it is on foot. It’s a short, steep stepped climb up from Abbesses Metro, via Rue Drevet and the gorgeous Escaliers du Calvaire, to Place du Tertre.
You could always take a longer walk up the hill to Montmartre, starting at any of Anvers, Blanche or Pigalle Metro stations.
It can also be reached via the Montmartre funicular, which runs from Place Suzanne Valadon to within metres of Sacre Coeur.
The useful number 40 Paris bus also runs from the bottom of the hill, and stops at Place du Tertre – Norvins, within 20 metres of Rue St Rustique.
Places To Visit In Montmartre Around Rue St Rustique
Part of Rue St Rustique runs parallel to Place du Tertre, one of the most famous squares in Paris. The square is very over-touristed and its average restaurants over-priced, but it still looks beautiful at dusk, with the surrounding buildings lit up.
You should combine any stroll around the Montmartre backstreets with visiting Sacré Coeur Basilica, which is also a two-minute walk away. The Basilica has very long opening hours – usually from 6.30 am to 10 pm, but it’s best to visit very early or late in the day, when it’s much less crowded.
The much older (12th century) St Pierre de Montmartre is a few metres from Rue St Rustique, and the interior is well worth a few minutes of your time.
At the other end of Rue St Rustique, turn right down Rue des Saules, where you pass Clos de Montmartre, the only surviving vineyard in the village. The picturesque La Maison Rose Restaurant is on the corner of Rue de l’Abreuvoir, one of the most beautiful streets in Paris.
Walk down the hill to the end of Rue de l’Abreuvoir at Place Dalida, named after a Montmartre singer not perhaps well-known to English-speaking audiences, but who was immensely popular across much of Europe and beyond.
David Angel is a Welsh historian, photographer and writer. He is a European travel expert with over 30 years’ experience exploring Europe.
He has a degree in History from Manchester University, and his work is regularly featured in global media including the BBC, Condé Nast Traveler, The Guardian, The Times, and The Sunday Times.
David is fluent in French and Welsh, and can also converse in Italian, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Czech and Polish.
He creates detailed travel guides about the places he visits, combining personal experience, historical context, and his images to help you plan a fantastic trip.
Check out some of our guides to churches in Paris here:
- La Sainte Chapelle Paris – one of the wonders of the Gothic Age
- Saint Etienne du Mont – quirky Gothic and Renaissance gem in the Latin Quarter
- Saint Germain des Pres – landmark Left Bank church, one of the oldest in Paris
- Saint Sulpice Paris – the second largest church in Paris after Notre Dame
- St Julien le Pauvre – humble 12th century church within sight of Notre Dame
Or perhaps take a look at some of our other Paris guides: