All photos Erica Berman (Marcus’s flat, his courtyard and his stairwell)
On a recent Paris Sunday, Heather Stimmler Hall of Secrets in Paris invited me to meet her for an afternoon tea at artist Marcus McAllister’s painting studio, in the semi-underground and very interesting neighborhood of Goncourt. Meeting new people is always cool — but if artwork is involved, it’s even cooler. Goncourt is a hip, little, off-the-beaten-track quartier of the 10th, not far from the trendy Canal St martin, the up-and-coming St Marthe area and the Asian restaurants, outdoor markets and exotic supermarkets of Belleville.
I was met at the door by a smiling, American Marcus covered in paint with his cute doggy Grover at his heels.Marcus, an American from Arkansas, has been in Paris for 14 years and living in this sunny 1st floor studio for 11 of those. Marcus has been hosting Sunday afternoon tea and talks for 8 years now. Having crowds of strangers chez lui has become second nature and a tradition he enjoys immensely. Marcus started the Sunday teas after first participating in the Belleville open artist studios in his neighborhood. This is where he discovered how much he loved having direct contact with the public and being able to present his work to his audience. The regularity of the tea get-togethers naturally progressed from that realization. As Marcus started doing shows and building a reputation, people started wanting to come by his studio to see his creations. In the end, it became easier to simply set aside a time each week for just that purpose. Word of mouth and email updates now bring the Sunday crowd to Marcus every Sunday!
Marcus’ jovial open manner quickly put me at ease and I was soon chatting away with an eclectic group of Americans, Aussies and Frenchies. Subjects of conversation revolved around how to adjust to life in France as a foreigner, where to dine in Paris, how to decide what to do in Paris amidst so many cultural options, and how Marcus’ neighborhood has been evolving over the years into the funky, yet still fairly unknown, quartier it is now.
The hours rolled by as people came and went. Conversation was flowing, cute doggy Grover was rolling (he does tricks!), tasty treats and tea were available aplenty, and of course, the artwork was inspiring and tempting.
- Sunday tea runs from 14:30-18h every Sunday that Marcus is in Paris.
- 152, rue St Maur 75011 Telephone: 01 49 29 08 94 Email: [email protected]
- Please contact Marcus for the code, floor etc. Updates here: www.marcusmcallister.com
Some of Marcus’ neighborhood gems:
L’Autre Café – 62, rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud 75011 Paris. According to Marcus this is a true French bistro experience. Apparently, there even some vegetarian options. Wifi Point!
Belleville food and produce market – Tuesday and Saturday mornings until 1pm. Although Marcus rarely makes it over, he highly recommends you check it out (and so do I). This market is one of the cheapest and most diverse in Paris.
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