Short description

Place du Tertre in Montmartre is located on the Montmartre hillock, in the Clignancourt district of the 18th arrondissement of Paris, France, at an altitude of 130 m. It was the center of the old village of Montmartre, a few meters from the Sacré-Coeur basilica and the Saint-Pierre de Montmartre church.

This old public square opened against the wall of the abbey of Montmartre in 1635 was frequented, from the end of the 19th century until the beginning of the First World War, by all the bohemian people who lived in Montmartre: painters, songwriters and poets. Toulouse-Lautrec, Poulbot, Picasso, Modigliani lived in rented rooms around.

Today, it is famous all over the world for its painters and its terraces where to have a drink. Many artists set up their easels there every day for tourists. It is also one of the most visited places in Paris.

Localisation
Access

Place du Tertre
75018 Paris

  • Metro - Line 12 (Abbesses, Lamarck-Cautaincourt - Pigalle stations) - Line 2 (Anvers - Pigalle station)
  • Bus - 30, 54, 40. (40 is the only line that runs on the Montmartre hill)
  • Funicular of Montmartre : High Station
Address

Place du Tertre
Place du Tertre
75018 Paris

Coordinates Latitude Longitude
Sexagesimal (°, ', ") 48° 53′ 12″ N 2° 20′ 27″ E
Degré décimal (GPS) 48.88665 2.34086
Full description

Place du Tertre in Montmartre is located on the Montmartre hillock, in the Clignancourt district of the 18th arrondissement of Paris, France, at an altitude of 130 m. It was the center of the old village of Montmartre, a few meters from the Sacré-Coeur basilica and the Saint-Pierre de Montmartre church.

Today, it is famous all over the world for its painters and its terraces where to have a drink. Many artists set up their easels there every day for tourists. It is also one of the most visited places in Paris.

Origin of the name "Tertre"

The Place du Tertre (Square of the "Tertre") is so named because of its location on the heights of Montmartre. A Tertre, in French, is a small isolated eminence with a flattened top. "Butte" is a synonym, used for Colline de Montmartre or "Butte de Montmartre. A Tertre is also often funerary: an eminence of earth covering a burial site.

The Place du Tertre and its painters

This old public square opened against the wall of the abbey of Montmartre in 1635 was frequented, from the end of the 19th century until the beginning of the First World War, by all the bohemian people who lived in Montmartre: painters, songwriters and poets. Toulouse-Lautrec, Poulbot, Picasso, Modigliani lived in rented rooms around.

With its many artists setting up their easels every day, it is one of the most visited places in Paris by tourists. This "carré aux artistes" is regulated and divided into 140 spaces of 1 m². Each one allows two painters to take turns. It is also a reminder of the time when Montmartre was the place of modern art from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century.

History and the Place du Tertre

It already existed in the 14th century and was bordered by the enclosing wall of the abbey of Montmartre. It is traced on the Jouvin de Rochefort plan of 1672.

Opening to the north of the Place du Tertre, the rue Saint-Rustique (named after the companion martyred with Saint Denis) is 9 centuries old. It has kept its cobblestones and its central gutter.

The first town hall of Montmartre is also located there, installed in 1790 at the home of the first mayor, Félix Desportes. It is located at n°3 of the Place.

The restaurant À la Mère Catherine, founded in 1793, today at n°6.

It is on this square that stood the pitchforks (gibbet) of the abbesses of Montmartre mistresses of the place since the 12th century.

After the fall of Napoleon III's Sedan and the Prussian invasion of 1871 and the end of the siege of Paris, the National Guards stored on the Place du Tertre some of the 171 cannons that were stored on the Montmartre hillock. On March 18, 1871, General Lecomte tried to remove them, which provoked a riot that would lead to the Paris Commune of 1871. It should be noted that the Commune was at the origin of the burning of the Tuileries Palace.

On December 24, 1898, a petrol car driven by Louis Renault, its manufacturer, reached the Place du Tertre.

The polemics about the Place du Tertre

The Place du Tertre has regularly been the scene of legal battles between "associations for the defense of artists" and the public authorities.

In the 1990's, the collective "Association for the defense of the rights of the painters of the Place du Tertre" was opposed to a regulation of the public space enacted by the Paris City Hall. It divided the square into 140 places of 1 m² reserved for painters, portraitists and silhouettists. To obtain permission to practice their profession, they had to pay a fixed annual fee.
The case, finally brought before the Conseil d'Etat, was settled by the decision of February 11, 1998 ("Ville de Paris c. Association pour la défense des droits des artistes peintres"): the judges of the Palais-Royal (the Conseil d'Etat) overturned the decisions of the courts of first instance and of appeal, finally finding in favor of the Paris City Council.

Moreover, since the 1980s, the space of the square reserved for artists has decreased significantly to the benefit of restaurant terraces and cafes. Hence the conflict. Although the Paris City Council decided in 1983 to create a "carré réservé aux artistes" in order to have a fair and stable situation, the eight restaurant owners present on the square keep on nibbling away at the available space and had in 2018, 80% of this space. The general feeling was that the town hall favors the restaurateurs.

Places of memory of Place du Tertre

See map of the Place du Tertre in the gallery:

  • Corner of the rue du Mont-Cenis: hotel Bouscarat.
  • No 3 : former city hall of Montmartre.
  • No 6 : restaurant À la Mère Catherine, founded in 1793 in the presbytery of the priest of the Church of Saint-Pierre de Montmartre. This is also where the word bistro (бистро in Russian) was born in 1814, used by the Russian soldiers of occupation following the collapse of the Empire of Napoleon I, eager to empty a glass before joining their ranks.
  • No 7: house of the sculptor Maurice Douard (plaque).
  • No 15: on this site was located the telegraph which was tested in 1822.
  • At 19, the seat of the associative and festive commune libre du Vieux Montmartre, founded in 1920.
  • No. 21: plaque commemorating that "for the first time on December 24, 1898, a petrol car driven by Louis Renault, its manufacturer, reached the Place du Tertre, marking the start of the French automobile industry".
  • At n° 21 is also the tourist office of the old Montmartre (Tel. 01 42 62 21 21, leaflets, guided tours).
  • The adjacent Saint-Pierre de Montmartre church hides the Romanesque remains of the Abbaye des Dames.
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