Woody Allen's film Midnight in Paris has Owen Wilson's character, a struggling writer, magically transported back to a Paris circa 1920-something, where he commiserates with the likes of Picasso, Gertrude Stein and Dali. Fantasies of this bygone artistic Golden Period in Paris still loom large in popular culture-- so much so that most people don't realize that the artistic and cultural center of gravity has moved from St-Germain-des-Pres and Montmartre to areas like Belleville, where the rent's much cheaper and artists have set up shop in former small factories and fabriques.
This month, as in past years, over 200 artists will be opening their studios to the public for the event known as the Belleville artists' open house. For some inspiration, let's take a look back at 2012. About.com Paris Travel Contributor Nicole Smith spent an afternoon weaving in and out of countless artists' studios, admiring street art in action, and conversing with artists for the occasion of the open house. She's documented her inspired afternoon in a gallery that gives us an inside glimpse into the 21st century artistic scene in Paris, taking us far from the cliches of so many Hollywood films.
Image: A conversation with Paris-based painter Alfred Rozelaar Green. Nicole Smith/Licensed to About.com.