Several times a year it’s possible to visit working artist’s studios in the city. Different ‘quartiers’ or associations will organize open days when a group of artists open their studios and show their work – maps are provided and it’s easy to walk between them all This weekend it’s the turn of the artists working around the south side of the 20th arrondissement, in a fascinating part of eastern Paris. Not only is it a chance to discover, meet and talk to the artists, as well as buy their work, it also gives you the opportunity to explore areas of the city that you may not otherwise find yourself in, and generally if there are groups are artists working there I find they are areas well worth exploring. The area around the southern side of Pere Lachaise cemetery has tiny lanes which almost transport you into the countryside, studios both old and new tucked away in courtyards and gardens, vintage shops, organic shops and a diverse range of cafés and restaurants, both modern and traditional, all hidden behind modern apartment buildings.
The area around the rue des Vignoles is home to around 15 tiny alleyways dating from the 19th century, originally built to house local workers. We loved impasse Poule, 60 metres long and only 2 metres wide! We spent a lovely afternoon wandering around the studios, and stopping for mint tea and cakes in between visits. 40 artists opened their studios, and do so twice a year. Next week it’s the artists around Belleville who are holding open days, and I’ll be heading up there to see their work and explore another fascinating and often overlooked part of the city.
- Area between metros Alexandre Dumas and Maraichers, 75020 Paris