Place du Tertre

Place du Tertre (63)

Here, in the heart of the Montmartre district is the Place du Tertre, which translates as the square of the hill. In fact, you will not find a higher square in all Paris. Today it is a very lively spot, although in the past it was the site for the scaffold and where the heads of the executed were put on display.

In the mid-19th century, many artists, above all painters, began to live in Montmartre attracted by the light and the reasonable rents. 

From then on, during the rest of the 19th century and early 20th century, this district, and more specifically, this square, has been witness to the frenetic artistic activity of figures such as Renoir, Manet, Van Gogh, Toulouse Lautrec, Picasso, Dalí or Modigliani.

Today it is a square full of artists who want to paint a portrait, a caricature or perhaps a cut-out with your profile. The bohemian atmosphere is still there although you will surely notice that it is a bit more commercialised than what it must have been like.

Our recommendation is that you enjoy yourself sitting at a terrace of the many restaurants surrounding the square, such as La Mère Catherine which has been open since 1793. As a curiosity, it seems that it was here where the word bistro came from, since this restaurant was one of the favourite spots of the Russian Cossacks in 1814 and they would bang their fists on the table shouting Bistró! meaning hurry in Russian, so that through a misunderstanding it became synonymous with café. 

Sit down and recall that time when the artists whom today we know from art books, exhibited their paintings in this square.

Also, very close to here, in the Place Émile Goudeau you will find the famous Bateau-Lavoir, which was the residence and meeting place of painters and writers. Matisse, Léger, Apollinaire, Juan Gris, Picasso... 

Unfortunately, due to a fire in 1970, today only the façade of the building is barely standing, where, for example, Picasso’s Les Mademoiselles d'Avignon was exhibited for the first time in 1907.

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