Place du Tertre: For artists only

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Reviewed on 11/1/2010 | 6 Reviews


The rude competition among artists

You might have hidden talents and be able to cut a perfect silhouette out of a sheet of paper. Or you are perhaps a virtuous of the brush and never talked about it?

PHOTO: AFP, Loic Venance

Well, then your day has come: You can become an artist on Place du Tertre in Montmartre. You just need to write a letter of application to the town house of the Montmartre district. And who knows, may be you’ll be the lucky one.

You think every Sunday painter can practice here? You’re wrong. Only 298 artists are allowed to propose their services to the tourists on Place du Tertre. They do sketches – either making you look like a monster or portraying you in a way Monet would have done. If you like, your face will look like a true Picasso. It really depends on your taste.

Portraying tourists on Place de Tertre is a real business. Ten million tourists visit the famous square on the top of Montmartre every year. The painters have to pay quite a lot for their licence: 554 Euros for one square meter per year if they share their spot with another artist and occupy it only half time.

Until recently, whether you could join the illustrious circle of painters and portraitists was a question of what French call magouille . Magouille literally means: wheeling. In France you can translate it as: there is just no clear rule. You’d better know somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody. Or you are the son of the mayor. Or you pay someone some money. Many roads lead to Rome when it comes to magouille.

Despite all these unwritten rules, the competition has become very tough in recent years on Place du Tertre. Unaccredited artists try to sell their paintings. Sometimes their work is “made in China”. Others propose their services so cheaply that they probably live in a tent before returning home to Rumania or Albany. The accredited artists are not amused at all. This is the reason why they wanted to change the procedure and give others chance. But you have to be talented. And work there and then.

Tempted? You can find forms on the following website of the townhouse But hurry up. 30th of October is the deadline for application letters.

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Place du Tertre: For artists only, 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings

User reviews

  1. Shirley 9 October 2011 Reply

    I was recently purchased a piece of original art work at Place du Tertre in Paris for a local artist. He told me his name but I couldn’t quit pick up because it is in French. Is there any way to find the names of artists who recently paint and sell their work there?

    • martinam 11 October 2011

      I will try to get the list for your. Give me some days. Best, Martina

  2. Gelly 20 February 2012 Reply

    I recently went to Paris, which was fantastic by the way.Place du Tertre,I loved. A painter made a sketch of me and my friend.An amazing one.His name I think is Maxim and we would be really happy if there was an e-mail that we could thank him and find out how he is doing now.Thank you very much.

  3. Sharon Nole 24 December 2013 Reply

    I purchased a piece of art in Place du Tertre in 2008 and have been searching for the artist. I would love to complement his work and ask a few questions. The artist’s name is K. Koc. If anyone knows him, please forward my email address so he may contact me.

    Thank you,

  4. Yetty Sudarman 16 February 2014 Reply

    My husband and I visited Place du Tertre several times in the past 22 years. We bought two oil paintings from one of the artists whose name was Catherine Poiriet who used to paint in the square. The last painting we bought from her was in 1994. Do you know if Catherine Poirie is still painting there? Her paintings are abstract and she used a lot of orange and turquoise in her paintings.

  5. Lourdes Maurer 5 April 2014 Reply

    My husband and I, just came back from Paris. While at the Place des Tertre, we fell in love with a 3D relief painting but cannot remember the artist name. Unfortunately, at the time of our visit, it started to rain heavily and we had to seek cover.
    We had planned to go back, but were not able to do that. If there is a list of the painters or a way of finding him, we would really appreciate it.

    Thank you in advance for your help.

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