The 18th arrondissement is going through a revitalisation. It was first developed in the 1840s as a means of providing temporary housing to workers in the provinces, but it quickly grew into the landing area for European immigrants. This created a very colourful, lively and diverse neighbourhood. The shops are exotic and bazaar-like and the food stands offer a great selection of fruits and vegetables.
Some of the main attractions for tourists include Sacré-Coeur Basilica, Montmartre Cemetery and Le Moulin Rouge. The area still has a rough-around-the-edges reputation – however, locals pride themselves on that edge. The winding streets and the off-the-beaten-track cafés and restaurants offering a fresh spin on French cuisine are what makes the 18th appealing to so many.
Governments and authorities are trying to find a middle ground between cracking down on street crime and gentrifying the area to a point that it is unrecognisable. Clignancourt and Pigalle are two areas where kitsch antique shops and jazz bars can be found alongside various fringe theatres halls, which local residents are fighting tooth and nail to keep.
The Espace Dali in Montmartre, with its many statues and paintings on the walls, exemplifies the love of beauty and playfulness that make up the 18th arrondissement. The quarter, but more specifically Montmartre, is much more than what the tour buses and souvenir shops present.