Montmartre may be one of Paris’ most visited destinations, but many of its charming streets and cul-de-sacs boast a history unknown to passers by. Nestled just behind the Sacré Cœur, Rue Cortot may look like a thoroughfare, but it was once home to some of France’s most notable artists.
Dating back centuries, the 125 metre long street was once known as Rue Saint-Jean and appeared on Paris’ first street map in 1672. When Montmartre eventually joined Paris in 1859, the street adopted its current name, after sculpter Jean-Pierre Cortot.
Naming the street after an artisan would turn out to be an appropriate choice. Of the mere 20 properties on the street, Rue Cortot would be home to over a dozen of France’s most famous artists through the late 19th and early 20th century.
However, it was number 12 Rue Cortot that would house a trio of France’s most renowned painters. Between 1912 and 1926, Suzanne Valadon; her husband André Utter, and her son Maurice Utrillo, made their mark on French art history from their studio home.
The building was built in the 17th century as the Maison du Bel Air. Later, in the 18th century, it became the Demarne Hotel where it was the home of playwright Rosimond.
Number 12 would also host impressionist pioneer Auguste Renoir, who rented a studio at the location in 1875. Renoir etched the street into history with his 1876 portrait, Jardin de la rue Cortot. The same location would also house painters Émile Bernard and Maximilien Luce; poster designed Francisque Poulbot, novelist Léon Bloy and poet Pierre Reverdy. During the ate 19th century, number 12 also housed the studio of Fauvist painters Raoul Dufy and Othon Friesz.
Since 1960, numbers 8 to 14 Rue Cortot have housed the Montmartre Museum. The permanent collection contains many portraits painted bay Valadon and Utrillo, in addition to many paintings, poster and artefacts dedicated to historic Montmartre.
If you’re staying with us, Rue Cortot is a ten minute walk from our front door. If you’re planning on visiting Paris, book with us now and discover Montmartre on your doorstep!