PARISDo artists still live in Paris? Property and Art in Paris

Local resident and contemporary British-Iraqi artist Athier Mousawi shares his behind-the-scenes take on life in Paris as a modern-day artist...and how this relates to the property market.


Do artists still live in Paris? Property and Art in Paris

Local resident and contemporary British-Iraqi artist Athier Mousawi shares his behind-the-scenes take on life in Paris as a modern-day artist...and how this relates to the property market.

Coolest artists spots in Paris

Paris needs little introduction as one of the most brilliant creative cradles of the world.  Over the centuries, its elaborate gardens and elegant cul-de-sacs have nurtured some of history’s most influential and inspirational artists, writers and thinkers. From Montmartre to the museums, Paris hums with centuries of greatness, but what about now? Has it been overshadowed by the likes of Berlin, New York, London, Istanbul? Where does the artistic heart still beat? Increasingly, global property trends are defined by artists pioneering new areas of cities that then become the hot new places for clever investment, but can the same be said of Paris?

Local resident and contemporary British-Iraqi artist Athier Mousawi shares his behind-the-scenes take on life in Paris as a modern-day artist and how this relates to property in Paris


Why did you first move to Paris?

“I first came because of the Cité des Arts, which is a really interesting place the likes of which i have yet to find anywhere else in the world.  A huge building set on a beautiful part of the river, it has 420 studios and hosts resident artists from around the world.  Institutes from everywhere, Germany, Mexico, Greece, Israel, Guatemala will send their artists here for a semester or a year and so you find this really interesting mix of musicians, writers, photographers and painters passing through. It’s creative dynamite.”


​“That was in 2010, and afterwards, I kept trying to live in other cities, like London and Istanbul, but Paris always drew me back. I used to bring my girlfriend – now wife – who is also an artist for weekends, and we’d get off the train and hop on a Vespa and start exploring. She started to fall in love with the lifestyle like me, and so moved back two and a half years ago.”


Which neighborhood in Paris did you choose to live as an artist?


​“We live in the Marais, which is beautiful and has a lovely vibe that’s really mixed.  Historically, it’s the Jewish and Gay district, so it has a lot of colour and vibe and a lot of interesting people live here now.  Property is much cheaper to rent here than say London, and the prices aren’t defined by area but more by luck.  We have a beautiful apartment with high-ceilings just off Place des Vosges, and pay well under the market rate. You find stories like that constantly around Paris.  Rent here is not so defined by real-estate agents, it’s more organic than that. We live right on the cusp of the Marais just by the river because my studio is in Ivry, which is the new district that’s emerging as a place for artists just South-East of Central Paris.”

Is this the new cool hang-out for artists then?


​“Not quite yet! It’s still got a pretty gangster feel to it. Right now, there’s not much going on for entertainment, my neighbours are industrial screen-printers, carpenters and metal-workers, but I like that about it.


Paris is different to London, where artists keep expanding organically through the edges of the city to find cheaper spaces, and then the neighbourhoods themselves become hip, gentrified. It’s more like New York, where there is still so much gravity to the centre of town.  In Manhattan, you have the bridge and the river as a natural barrier and in Paris, this barrier is the peripherique. While it only takes me 15 minutes to cycle to my studio, most Parisians have a mental barrier to places outside the ring-road, so it means rents and studio space stay really affordable.  The up-and-coming neighbourhoods for artists are Montreuil, Aubervilliers, Pantin and Ivry. I pay €200 a month for my studio, which is nothing for a developed European city, and you find a lot of artists are doing that now, stepping just outside the city walls, and a vibe will no doubt follow them.”

So is an artist’s life in Paris all it is cracked up to be?


“It’s all the stereotype and then some!  The people who pass through are amongst the most interesting you’ll meet, like these really cool, Hemingway-style Americans who come to live and write.  All the people who live here have chosen it for the right reasons, so you can constantly find yourself in really lovely conversations. I never make plans, I just walk out of my door, go for a stroll and bump into friends…we go for a drink, then dinner and it’s all in flow.  Life can be like that in Paris. I also like it as you totally blend in as an artist. It is woven into the fabric of being Parisian, rather than seen as a struggling creative profession.  You aren’t confined to one corner of the city where the artists hang, like in London, here you belong everywhere.”


What do you love about life in Paris?


“​It’s so lovely and convenient. Paris does what it does perfectly. It’s a relatively small city, so everything feels tangible and you never have to say no about making a plan.  I hope from coffee at the Eiffel Tower to drinks in Pigalle on my bike really easily, so it’s a city you can really manage.  Imagine Central London, say the area from Notting Hill to Westminster – in Paris, that encapsulates the whole city.”

The global property trend tends to go that where the artists go, the hipsters and then the property market follows. Do you see it developing as a new, hip, neighbourhood?

​“The artists are always the ones who go first, but Paris has more psychological barriers than London, so here it will happen, but much more slowly.  Ivry is a bit behind Montreuil, where you are starting to find more cool converted studios and warehouses, but although it’s evolving, prices aren’t going up too much.  Everyone wants to be in the arrondissements, but people don’t realize how much they can save by breaking through the psychological barrier. Paris has yet to integrate its different ethnic groups socially, and a lot of this is pushed outside the walls  There is this sense of ‘Barbarians at the Gates! but let’s not look’.  That’s why people feel tension from the projects and the social housing you see around the city.

“I am in unique position. I’m a huge guy who speaks Arabic and, in my painters overalls, I can hang out in the gangster-filled parts of town, which are like Peckham in the early 90’s – all gambling shops and dodgy dealers – and I can kind of be anywhere. I feel very connected, which is unique in Paris, to transition through these different layers of society.”

  • Love at First Sight
    LisbonLove at First Sight

    How a sustainable approach to development can breathe soul into a city.

  • The city that sings: Lisbon’s creative scene
  • Barcelona: The Local Insider
    BarcelonaBarcelona: The Local Insider

    We talk to one of Barcelona’s style innovators, Maxi Zigart, about the city’s design scene and the best, secret spots to eat.

  • Expert Profile Parisian Property Advisers Clementine Georges
  • Where to work in Barcelona
    BarcelonaWhere to work in Barcelona

    British-born entrepreneur Benjamin Nachoom talks global business trends and how Barcelona’s work culture is shifting.

  • The secrets to investing in Barcelona's property market
  • Bamboo Is this the future of sustainable building?
  • Lisbon’s hottest new neighborhood Intendente
  • Ahead of the curve: What's next for Lisbon?
  • An Artist's Guide to Paris
    ParisAn Artist's Guide to Paris

    Where do the modern-day Monet's hang-out? Athier Mousawi shares his paint-splattered black-book on his favourite art-inspiring spots and the hidden places where creatives go to connect. Consider this your ultimate insider artist’s guide to Paris.

  • Do artists still live in Paris? Property and Art in Paris
  • How to buy property in Lisbon expert insight Carlota Pelikan Athena Advisers
  • Where to Eat in London? London's best insider restaurants
  • Lisbon's organic and vegetarian scene takes off
  • Luxury rental service One Fine Stay set to take on the world
    LondonLuxury rental service One Fine Stay set to take on the world

    Onefinestay, which rents homes far beyond the ordinary, is poised for global dominance. We talk to Deputy CEO Keyvan Nilforoushan about what lies behind their success, and how to get your property on to their increasingly competitive books.

  • Val D'Isere Special: Insider Travel Guide with Roman Carel
  • All the Way to the Top – The Changing Face of Val d’Isere
  • Where the Locals Go Mauritius
    MauritiusWhere the Locals Go Mauritius

    Time for some winter sun? Here’s how to get beyond the super spas and beach resorts of one of the world’s most gorgeous islands and live it like the locals do.

  • How to change the world smog free towers Daan Roosegaarde
  • Restaurants that Paris Locals Love
  • Diversify Your Portfolio: Could You Make Your Living Off a Tescos?
  • Where and how to buy property in the Alps with Destination Adviser Charles-Antoine
  • How I Live: Adventure Master-Mind Bobby Melville
  • Surf's Up: Where to Surf in Lisbon
  • A Chic Weekend Style Guide to Paris
    ParisA Chic Weekend Style Guide to Paris

    In the words of Aubrey Hepburn, ‘Paris is always a good idea”. Local design expert Pierre Frey shares his insider tips for the chicest weekend in Paris.

  • Why Lisbon's Tech Scene is on Fire
    LisbonWhy Lisbon's Tech Scene is on Fire

    Lisbon has already been hailed as Europe's answer to San Francisco, yet as the world's leading tech conference moves its headquarters to the Portuguese capital, the start-up scene looks set to accelerate.

  • An Insider's Travel Guide to La Rosière
    The French AlpsAn Insider's Travel Guide to La Rosière

    As Alpine property advisers, we love skiing as much as you do. Its why, every season, we connect with our network of on-the-ground experts across the Alps to get the inside-track. Now, instead of passing around hand-written tips before trips, we’ve compiled the AA’s Alpine Guide. Don’t dream of buckling your boots without it…

  • 350 million euro investment to put one of France's first ski resorts back on top
  • Why the locals love the Left Bank ?
    ParisWhy the locals love the Left Bank ?

    Globally renowned as a cornerstone of Parisian culture and heritage, Paris' 6th arrondissement encompasses St German, The Left Bank and some of the city's most iconic brasseries, but what's it really like behind the scenes? Locals share their insights and where to go to beat the tourist crowds.

  • How I Live: Adventure Journalist Tobias Mews
  • Developing a Design Icon: Battersea Power Station
  • Interior Design Report: The Wonderful World of Pierre Frey
  • Principe Real: Lisbon’s Hip New Shopping Hub
  • Where to eat in Lisbon: Restaurants that locals love.
  • Designing for the Future: London's newest neighborhood
  • Trend Focus: Where the sun shines and the living is easier
  • How I Live: Relocating to Mauritius
    MauritiusHow I Live: Relocating to Mauritius

    How a move to Mauritius enabled a high-flying tech executive to swap the rat-race for sunshine time with his young family and new business opportunities.

  • Dollar swing sets the Paris property market up for a boom.
    ParisDollar swing sets the Paris property market up for a boom.

    “There has never been a better time to invest. We have seen international property investment increase 4% in the last 6 months, and with the current rate of dollar investment, prices are set to increase" says Camille Letuve, a Partner at Athena Advisers,

  • How I Live: Alpine Adventurer Squash Falconer.
  • City vs. Country in Paris with Bridgitte Dempsey
  • Weekend escapes from Paris
    ParisWeekend escapes from Paris

    The founder of one of Paris's hippest organic grocery stores L'Epicerie Générale, Marseille-born Maud Zilnyk shares her secrets on where she goes in Paris and the best place to escape for the weekend.

  • Paris Focus: Why this new launch is the rarest of finds
    ParisParis Focus: Why this new launch is the rarest of finds

    “If new-builds are rare, waterfront new-builds in Paris are virtually unheard of.” As part of an exploration of the Parisian property market, we take a look at one of the most eagerly awaited launches in Paris of the decade, a water-front Haussmannian beauty on the city-centre island of Ile de la Jatte.

  • City vs. Country in Paris with Émilie Gervoson
    ParisCity vs. Country in Paris with Émilie Gervoson

    In this series we follow 3 Parisiennes, short on time, but keen for adventure as they navigate life in Paris, local property prices and planning the perfect weekend getaway within 3 hours of Paris.

  • Trend report Mauritius
    MauritiusTrend report Mauritius

    ‘Every weekend in Mauritius is like ‘les grandes vacances’, says 33 year old Parisian-born Franco-Mauritian Isabelle Dupond ‘It feels like being a kid again.

  • Why Summering In The Alps Is Back
    The French AlpsWhy Summering In The Alps Is Back

    For years only frequented by locals and a handful of clued-up foreigners, the crisp mountain freshness, soaring valleys and sky high-blue of the French Alps is now becoming a must-visit Summer and savvy property investment destination.

  • Santos: Lisbon’s Newest Epicentre of Cool
    LisbonSantos: Lisbon’s Newest Epicentre of Cool

    Perched on a hill facing the river, Santos is home to a kaleidoscope of art aficionados, architects and designers. Design pioneers Paris:Sete shine a light on life in Santos.

  • Paris city Adviser interview: Clement Felisa
    ParisParis city Adviser interview: Clement Felisa

    To celebrate the recent launch of our new Paris offices, who better to talk to about the passions and pitfalls of the Parisian property market than our city advisor, Clement Felisa.

  • One Day In Hackney With James Ramsden
    LondonOne Day In Hackney With James Ramsden

    Following on from our insider interview with foodie-cum-restaurateur James Ramsden, we delve into his Black-Book for spots not to miss for the authentic East London experience.

  • Hackney Under the Spotlight, London’s Hippest Neighborhood
    LondonHackney Under the Spotlight, London’s Hippest Neighborhood

    While once renowned for its rhyming slang and traditional pubs, East London has evolved into London’s hippest district, thanks to its proximity to the City, relatively affordable rents, and dynamic restaurant and nightlife culture. We sit down with restauranter James Ramsden to uncover why Londoners have fallen so in love with the East.

  • One Day in Paris with Caroline de Maigret
    ParisOne Day in Paris with Caroline de Maigret

    Following on from our insider interview with fashionista-cum-author Caroline de Maigret, we delve into her Black-Book for spots not to miss for the authentic Parisian Experience.

  • Lifting The Lid on Pigalle, Paris’ Most Non-Conforming Neighborhood
  • Is this the next Shoreditch? A spotlight on Mouraria, Lisbon
    LisbonIs this the next Shoreditch? A spotlight on Mouraria, Lisbon

    With a reported 95% of Lisbon’s property still primed for renovation, it’s a city in constant metamorphosis. Yet while first-time visitors tend to be attracted to the elegantly bustling Chiado, sophisticated Barrio Alto and the buzzing bars of Cais do Sodré, its in neighborhoods such as Mouraria where forward-thinking developments are driving the evolution of the next generation of hot-spots.

  • Escape The City - Lisbon
    LisbonEscape The City - Lisbon

    London, Paris, Lisbon… while we love the dynamic metropolises where Athena Advisers is based, there’s little like escaping for the weekend to deserted beaches and country-side cabins to remind us of what life is all about. Introducing our Escape the City series – hand-picking the best insider weekend bolt-holes that balance out city-life.

  • Are
    ParisAre "uber chefs" the key to getting under the skin of a new city ?

    What do you get if you mix talented home-chefs with diners looking for a more dynamic culinary experience? Spearheaded by the success of Airbnb for hotels and Uber for taxis, “meal-sharing” is the latest innovation when it comes to the way we dine and discover cities.

  • On The Trail Of Alvaro Siza by Amelia Hazlerigg
  • Step Inside Lapa
  • Is Lisbon the next San Francisco?
  • What Are You Eating?
  • Lisbon city Adviser interview Carlota Lancastre
  • New Heights
    The French AlpsNew Heights

    Alpine architecture is no longer limited to age-old wooden chalets, as visionary architects create modern masterpieces in the mountains.

  • Industrial Revolution
    LisbonIndustrial Revolution

    LXFactory: an industrial wasteland turned Lisbon’s beating heart of creativity.

  • The Golden Ticket
    LisbonThe Golden Ticket

    Of all the European governments offering residence permits to wealthy non-European investors, Portugal has been the most successful. But will the scheme last?

  • The Art of Hoppyness
    The French AlpsThe Art of Hoppyness

    Christian Luthy, founder of Le Bec Jaune in Morzine, left a London career to brew craft beer in the Alps. And he’s not the first entrepreneur to have traded city for slopes.

  • Safe and Sound
    LondonSafe and Sound

    London attracts more foreign investment in real estate than any other city worldwide. But can it be too much of a good thing?

  • A Taste of the Times
    ParisA Taste of the Times

    Alexandre Cammas, founder of French gastronomic guide Le Fooding, singlehandedly shook up a staid Parisian dining scene. But who is picking up where he left off?


Company Registration Information 4648699 / Carte de transaction immobilière No T14968

- Added to shortlist

- Removed from the shortlist