Paris is my favorite city in the world. Montmartre will always be my favorite neighborhood. This is a neighborhood characterized by art. The buildings are beautiful. There are so many little streets. Many artists live here.
Place du Tertre, a square just a few streets away from the famous Basilica of the Sacré Cœur, is truly one of those squares in Paris that has made me fall in love with the city. It is a café-lined cobbled square on the “small hill” (tertre). It has so much art history. For example, Pablo Picasso and Maurice Utrillo lived here.
What I love about this square is that on any given day there are many artists working with the public. There are painters selling their paintings, as did many others in the past, as well as those sketching portraits on the spot for the tourist. It has been like that ever since the neighborhood was founded over five centuries ago.
As one of the most popular squares in the city, with both locals and tourists, the city of Paris has kept the tradition alive by allowing the 149 carré aux artistes, or artist spaces, to continue as it has for a long time. For about 1 square meter these artists pay around €550 or about $600.
“If you work long enough hours,” says an artist named Michél, “I think it’s easy to make the fee in a few days.”
Michél, who like many artists here shares the space with another artist, says most of the artists enjoy working with the diverse crowd that make their way to the hill. Thousands of people visit them each day, and he says he has worked with tourists from all over the world.
“I always ask them where they visit from,” he smiles, “I’m an artist!”