Place du Tertre
Place du Tertre
Best metro stations for Place du Tertre are:
6 mins walk
6 mins walk
Buses: Nos.30.40 & 80
Someone once described the painters of Place du Tertre as part of the 'postcard of Montmartre' and it is surely up there along with the Sacré Coeur.
Most first time visitors to the city of Paris and indeed many returning visitors will inevitably find themselves at the top of the many steps in front of the iconic Basilica of the Sacré Cœur taking in the panoramic views. After a visit here and perhaps the adjoining Saint-Pierre de Montmartre church they will take the short walk following fellow tourists to this, one of the most popular squares in Paris, the Place du Tertre.
Known for its artists, portrait painters and caricaturists vying for space against the surrounding bistro terraces this small paved square is a 'must see' for many. The square was opened to the public in 1635 as the then 'Montmartre village' central square. Prior to this it had been part of a 12th century Benedictine abbey complex. Over the years it established itself as a popular haunt and home of poets, famous painters and musicians. It now hosts around 140 x 1m² plots which the current group of artists share on alternate days.
Perhaps one of the most touristy things to do here is to have your portrait captured by one of the artists in residence - the ultimate Paris souvenir? How do you select the artist you wish to use? The artists start working just after 10.00am and tend to be at their easels until nightfall. A good idea is to walk around the square to view their exhibited work and watch as they work. During the busy seasons once you choose you may have wait in a queue. Expect to pay (in cash) anything from €30 to €100, best to ask before proceeding.It is also advisable to select an artist who is working on a 'sitter' so as you can check the quality of his work as some people have ended up with portraits that bare no resemblance to themselves even though the artist has quality portraits on display.
We understand they are all here on merit and have to go through a rigorous application process before securing a spot here but just to be sure...
You will find some artists canvassing for customers on the fringe of the square who are (we think) legitimate but ask to see their work back at their 'place' so as you are not disappointed with the result as some are more caricaturists than others.
As well as the portrait artists in Place du Tertre there are artists offering paintings of Paris monuments and scenes to buy as souvenirs of your visit.
The artists are there all year round but their numbers diminish during the winter months and spells of bad weather although it gets busy again over the Christmas period.
As we have said, the square is surrounded by restaurants, they offer a variety of food options but as you are in what is considered a bit of a 'tourist trap' they tend to be a bit pricy and sadly do not,if you read the reviews, have a great reputation for customer service.Fortunately you have many other options here in Montmartre.
Among these Montmartre restaurants, there are good ones and some very good ones but like most 'touristy' areas of the city there are some to avoid. You can find recommendations for restaurants here:
Chose restaurant in Montmartre
If you are just looking to rest your weary legs have a coffee or glass of wine and people watch then we recommend you leave Place du Tertre and head for cafes and bars on adjoining streets, of which there are many. You could even add another 5 minutes to your walk and head via Rue Norvins and Rue des Saules to 'La Maison Rose' one of our favourite people watching places.