Known for its painters, portraitists, caricaturist and silhouette artists, Place de Tertre welcomes thousands of travellers every day. By day the streets are usually packed with tourists seeking a portrait; by night you hear the constant din of people chattering and enjoying a meal and a glass of wine at one of the many restaurants in the square.
The square of Place du Tertre is considered by many to be the heart of Montmartre, located high on the hill approximately 300 metres from the Sacre Coeur Basilica.
The artists located in the square of Place due Tertre pay an annual fee of just over 550euros for a 1msq space, which is shared on an alternating roster with another artist. Essentially they only work half the week. Nevertheless, with more than ten million visitors per month to this fine street, this has the potential to be a lucrative business.
Currently an artist must make an application and display proof of their artistic abilities to an official at the town hall of Montmartre, then they may be invited to join the ten year waiting list for acceptance. Currently there are a little under 300 painters, portraitists, caricaturist and silhouette artist’s formally and legally operating at Place du Tertre.
Place du Tertre Portrait Cost
At Place du Tertre, prices for art can range from as low as 25euro and in excess of 100euro. Don’t get caught! A common tourist trap is not setting a price first before the artist begins the portrait.
Tip: Many people end up with a portrait that looks nothing like them even though the artist’s samples look good. It is advisable to walk around and watch the artists working on the portraits of actual customers in order to determine which are the good portraitists.
Place du Tertre Restaurants and Cafés
The two most popular and historical restaurants in the Place du Tertre square are the La Crémaillère 1900 and La Bohême du Tertre. A great feature about La Crémaillère 1900 is its large outdoor terrace area which is handy on a nice sunny day.
Personally I recommend a nice little café called Soul Kitchen, which is located about two minute’s walk from the square and sits on the northern side of the mountain. Most of the restaurants in Montmartre and around Place du Tertre have poor to average quality food but come with high tourist price tags.
Tip: There are artists who stroll around the back streets of Place du Tertre hassling visitors to paint their portrait. These artusts are usually not licensed, and I would not recommend using them.
If you’re just looking for a quick snack or coffee then you may be pleased to know that there is a Starbucks sitting right on the corner of the street. There is also a creperie located next to Starbucks which produces decent Paris street crepes. They may not be quite as good as the ones seen in this (best crepes in Paris) video, but they are still enjoyable.
Place du Tertre Hours
The opening times for Place du Tertre are not set in stone, but usually the portraits are packed up around dark due to poor lighting conditions. You may find a few artists still standing after dark, and you can be sure that restaurants in this area will stay open late. Mondays and winter time in Montmartre can be a little slow at times so this may not be the best time to visit. Also, Montmartre does not really wake up ’til about 10am. After this the square is fully set up with all artwork on display, and so I suggest visiting the square after this time.
History of Place du Tertre
Place du Tertre used to be the main square in the village of Montmartre before it was absorbed into the modern day city of Paris. Artists such as Van Gogh, Picasso, Pissarro, Modigliani and many more, have all drawn inspiration from what has become known as “The Artist’s Square”.
Aside from largely being a great vantage point in “The Battle of Paris” and also in World War II, two interesting events can be traced back to these streets.
It is purported that in 1898 on Christmas Eve, Louis Renault’s first automobile was driven up the steep hills of Montmartre to Place du Tertre. This is said to have ignited the beginning of the automobile industry in France.
Another popular claim in Parisian history is that during “The Battle of Paris”, Place du Tertre became the birth place of the word “Bistro” into the French dialect. Located at street number 6 is Chez la mère Catherine cafe, and it is here that in 1814, Russian soldiers would shout “Bystro Bystro” at the waitresses. In the Russian language “Bystro” means “quickly”, and the soldiers were calling for the waitresses to hurry and provide them with one last drink before rejoining their ranks.
Getting to Place du Tertre
The most common way to get to the area is to catch a metro line to station Abbesses (line 12) or Anvers (line 2). Coming from Anvers you will have to walk up many stairs to reach the summit, however if you choose the Abbesses Metro then it is possible to walk up the winding streets of Montmartre without using the stairs. Alternatively, you can pay to use the Montmartre Funicular railway located near the base of the Sacre Coeur stairs to the summit if you are not of able body or simply can’t be bothered climbing.
You would be very lucky to find any parking in this area, and I also suggest not attempting to drive thorough Place du Tertre due to the large numbers of tourists on the roads (who have no intention of steppibg asude for a car). Address: Place du Tertre, 75018 Paris
Address: 21 Place du Tertre, 75018 Paris
Phone: 01 42 62 21 21
Operating Hours: 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 6pm