Paris: Ten Artists Studios You Can Visit

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Ruby Boukabou
Ruby Boukabou with her book The Art Lover’s Guide to Paris (White Owl) by the Canal Saint-Martin in Paris. Photo Olivia Rutherford.

How to Meet the Real Artists Who Are Working in Paris

By Ruby Boukabou

Paris is one of the best places in the world to lose yourself in the works of of the greatest artists who have ever lived. From Michelangelo to Picasso, Renoir to Dali. With over a hundred museums, you can ooh and aaaah all across the City of Lights for weeks or even months on end.

But what about today’s artists?  Where are they, what are they working on and how can you meet them?  Read on.

Monsieur Chat (street art) on the walls of Albatros Studios in Montreuil. The artists prepare for the open door festival.
Monsieur Chat (street art) on the walls of Albatros Studios in Montreuil. The artists prepare for the open door festival.

Portes Ouvertes Festivals: Open Door Studios

The ports ouvertes (open door) festivals in Paris’ north east are a fabulous way to meet artists, see where they work (and in some cases live) and purchase original artworks for generally extremely reasonable prices.

You can find a map online, grab one in the local area at a café or just follow the stream of art lovers from studio to studio. You’ll discovering cute backstreets, private courtyards and many fascinating artists.

Portes Ouvertes Belleville, Every May in Paris

There are over 120 studios and over 250 artists in funky/gritty/cross-cultural Belleville. Lofts, warehouses and kitchens have been converted into studios and if you’ll lucky you’ll even find a small recital in a backyard to enjoy a glass of something cold at the end of your tour (otherwise there are many poplar bars and cafés in the area to hang out at after).

Belleville is also a great spot to check out the street art and you can occasionally come across the artists  in action (check out rue Dénoyer). ateliers-artistes-belleville.fr

Hydrane, French-Peruvian artist at 59 Rivoli
Hydrane, French-Peruvian artist at 59 Rivoli

Portes Ouvertes Ménilmontant, Late September

Just down the boulevard from Belleville is the vibrant Ménilmontant (a great place for concerts in bars, couscous and affordable restaurants).

At their open door festival you’ll meet painters, photographers and sculptors in converted churches, cobbled stoned alleyways, under private grapevines and in hidden houses. www.artotal.com/orga/Ateliers-Artistes-

Villa Belleville Photo Ruby Boukabou

Les Ateliers du Pere Lachaise Associes, in May and December

Just past Ménilmontant is Père Lachaise, visual artists welcome the public in their studios based near the Père Lachaise cemetery. Of course, you should also visit the cemetery while there (tombs of Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Isadora Duncan, Sarah Bernhardt, Proust, Oscar Wilde, Marcel Marceau…)
Portes ouvertes d’Anvers aux Abbesses: In mid-November, painters, sculptors, photographers, ceramists or engravers “d’Anvers aux Abbesses »will open their studios around Montmartre. Itis a meeting with the artists and a stroll in one of the most famous districts of Paris. 

Montreuil in October

Montreuil is just outside of central Paris but still accessible by metro. There’s many artists living and working here thanks to cheaper rents and they have created a lovely village vibe. Meet potters, painters, street artists, multi media artists and more at Albatros Studios (http://www.espacealbatros.fr/. ) and at the many other spots on the map. website

Painter/calligrapher Luc Lynski opens his studio for visitors during the Montmartre Aux artistes open day in October
Painter/calligrapher Luc Lynski opens his studio for visitors during the Montmartre Aux artistes open day in October

Montmartre Aux Artistes in October

189 rue Ordener, 75018

After discovering beautiful Montmartre, the cradle of impressionism and modern art, visit Montmartre aux Artistes, a complex of artist studios and homes. During their open door festival you can chat to the artists and sometimes even get invited for a tea or a glass of wine (or why not bring something to offer them and share).

It’s intimate and charming. Artists include painter Monique Journod (Prix de Rome), painter/engraver Médéric Bottin, photographer Vincent Dufrêne and painter/calligrapher Luc Lynski. montmartre-aux-artistes.org 

Artist Médéric Bottin opens his studio (with a view of Sacre Coeur) for visitors during the Montmartre Aux artistes open day in October
Artist Médéric Bottin opens his studio (with a view of Sacre Coeur) for visitors during the Montmartre Aux artistes open day in October

Les Frigos in Late May

19 rue des Frigos, 75013

This cool converted refrigerator depot in now home and studio to many artists and has exhibitions, concerts and events that you can attend. Meet the painters, sculptors, photographers, potters, architects and costume makers. les-frigos.com

Le Carreau du Temple

2 rue Perrée, 75003
+33 (0)1 83 81 93 30

This cultural center in a former clothes market hosts many cultural events. Head to the bar area to mingle with the painters and art dealers hanging around for the various fairs, and expos. www.carreaudutemple.eu 

Point Éphémère

Point Ephem, 200 Quai de Valmy, 75010

+33 (0)1 40 34 02 48

A funky arts & entertainment centre on the Canal Saint-Martin, Point Éphémère has residency programs, exhibitions as well as rehearsal spaces, concerts, screenings (street art documentaries and more) and a café/bar with a relaxed urban vibe. www.pointephemere.org 

Ecole Nationale Superieure Des Beaux-Arts

14 rue Bonaparte, 75006
+33 (0) 1 47 03 50 00

Brush shoulders with the next generation of French artistes at the National Fine Arts school by attending an exhibition, conference, seminar or attending an art documentary. www.ensba.fr 

American artist James Purpura at 59 Rivoli artist studios in Paris
American artist James Purpura at 59 Rivoli artist studios in Paris.

59 Rivoli Artists Studio

59 Rivoli 75001. Open to the public on Tuesdays– Sunday 1–8 p.m.

A celebration of art in the centre of Paris, the 59 Rivoli artists’ squat/studio is bold and colorful with five floors full of artists in the midst of creation. Wander about, meet the artists, buy some work and stay for the spontaneous parties and concerts. Once a squat, the artists Kalex, Gaspard, and Bruno (comically calling themselves ‘the KGB’) got good press and the promise from candidate Bertrand Delanoë that if elected, he would make 59 a legal art squat and gallery.

It happened, and in 2005 the city bought 59 Rivoli and, after renovations, reopened to the artists and the public with a lease renewable every three years. In return for the cheap rent, the artists offer the City of Paris a vibrant location in central Paris. If you love someone’s work, now is the moment to find out more about the process and the artist and shout yourself an authentic, signed, souvenir or buy a perfect Paris present! www.59rivoli.org 

Ruby BoukabouRuby Boukabou is a freelance writer and entertainer often based between Paris, France and Sydney, Australia. She is author of The Art Lover’s Guide to Paris, The Architecture Lover’s Guide to Paris (White Owl Books) Sense in the City, Paris (Pilot Media) and 48 Paris (National Geographic). Ruby is also a tap dancer and cabaret performer. www.rubytv.net

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