If you settle for the typical “Le Chat Noir” postcard and think you’re sending something unique to your friends in the States, then you’ve sold yourself short to the touristic confines of Paris.
Walking along the cobblestones of Montmartre the other day, my eyes glanced over a rack of neon-colored postcards displayed on the street. I stopped in my tracks and turned around, my eyes adjusting to the neon amidst the warm fall colors lining the streets. I was greeted by a card with the word “salope” (bitch) printed on it, and then another sporting “petite bite” (little dick).
I have to say, Montmartre isn’t given enough credit by Parisians. While people rush to frequent the “hipster” spots centered around République, they overlook the other gems of Paris. My ex-boyfriend, who grew up in Paris and dares not leave his 10ème boundaries, was shocked when he starting exploring Montmartre while I was living by Lamarck-Caulaincourt. “There is no place more beautiful than Montmartre,” he once told me, as spring was just about to bloom on the hilltop village neighborhood.
Not only is Montmartre a stunning backdrop for soul-searching walks during every season, it’s also where you can find unadulterated jewels like Sérigraphie Montmartre. Relatively undiscovered by hipsters who choose to wander only in the “cool” neighborhoods, you’ll find postcards, sweatshirts, t-shirts, and canvas bags printed with funky, Paris-themed designs, and all for an affordable price. I bought this t-shirt for €15, which I love:
The studio is run by a young man named Victor Gouteyron. He wears a paint-splattered apron, and he does all of the designs and printing himself. While I was perusing the prints and additional antique treasures for sale at the shop, tourists wandered in and out, taking advantage of the original designs and low prices that haven’t been hiked up yet by hipster crowds popularizing the place.
I asked Gouteyron why he didn’t use Instagram to market his unique and quirky designs. They would really pick up quickly with the young people of Paris, I said! His recurring themes of drugs, gentrification of neighborhoods like Barbès, and mainstream pop culture symbols (Adidas’ Stan Smiths) truly resonate with the interests of many young Parisians today.
Gouteyron responded that it’s better when people find out about his shop through word of mouth. How sad is it, he asked, when people only visit a certain store because they’ve researched it on the Internet? Why doesn’t anyone just wander and discover anymore??? So I must give you my deepest apologies, Victor, if I have sent customers your way because of this Internet blog post. I thought your designs were too fresh not to be shared.
Each postcard you see above costs €1 each. T-shirts run for €15, and sweatshirts cost €35. Does Gouteyron take credit card? “HELL NO,” he’ll respond in English.
Enjoy your pop-culture prints, and thank you, Gouteyron, for painting us accurate pictures of Parisian youth culture to hang up on our walls.
5, rue Paul Albert