Place Du Tertre, the artist’s square in Paris

Place du Tertre, Paris

Paris has always been my favorite destination.  There are numerous places around this elegant and sophisticated city,  described by Henry Miller as “a magical place, a pilgrimage site for artists and wanderers”, which will make you come back over and over again, and this particular square is one of them.

When you talk of art,  definitely Paris is one major source of talent.  One particular area I love to visit is an interesting square just a few steps away from the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur (Sacred Heart), called Place Du Tertre.

The artist’s square was once the gathering-place of young French painters, poets and composers who went on to create much of the most famous art and music of the 20th century.

Located at the center of the elevated part of the Montmarte district, which some would call the sleezy side of Paris,  several unknown artists set up their easels for tourists.

In early 20th century, many pennyless painters,  including Pablo Picasso, were living here.  Perhaps these unknown artists all hope that one day they too can be another Picasso.
It is not only the various works of art which makes the Parisian square interesting,  you will encounter some mimes and  colorfully attired musicians playing the accordion for some coins or selling their wares.

Many cafes and restaurants line the sidewalk of the square.  Its ideal to sit outside  at one of the coffee houses, listen to the french music, the prattling of the crowd and watch the artists sketch or paint their subject.

The surrounding streets are equally  picturesque, and the panoramic views of Paris spectacular.  L’Espace Salvador Dalí, a museum principally dedicated to the sculpture and drawings of Salvador Dalí, can be found a few steps from Place du Tertre.

The first time I visited this place was a few months after I graduated from college.  I was so dependent on my parents for extra money but I really wanted to be sketched so all I can afford then was a brown charcoal, cartoon of sorts and a  hurried sketch which I believe still cost an arm and a leg.  I don’t remember where I kept that first parisian sketch of mine.

The second time was a more formal charcoal portrait where I had to sit in front of the artist maybe for an hour.    That portrait was framed by my late mom and  is hung right above my bed.

I had a third portrait done and this time in color!

I didnt think the sketch looked like me but my mom would usually say, they are impressionist artist so they paint based on their impression of you.

The easiest way to reach Place du Tertre is on the Montmartrobus from Place Pigalle (the red light district).  Another option is using  the Funiculaire de Montmartre, from near the Anvers Métro station.  The third route is climbing the more than a hundred steps but I guess that is just for the young, strong and eager.  The photo below is the area near the Funicular.  Starting that area you encounter  some Mime’s  dressed to the hilt hoping passers by would share some coins.

Once you reach the top,  walking towards the square, you see more mimes….

and that is not  a statue at my back, its  human! It’s a Mime :)

Oh and this last photo is right outside the Funicular station on the hilltop near the square.  Isn’t that a spectacular view of Paris?