I never knew there was an official word to describe entertaining people on the street (usually for donations), but “busking” is the verb to describe said action. Paris is full of busking (I’m not sure if “buskers” exist), and it provides my favorite soundtrack to life here. Last Friday upon celebrating the completion of my thesis, some friends and I took to the steps of Sacre Coeur with several bottles of champagne and 400g of chouquette. There was a lot of “No Woman No Cry” busking (did I use that right?) happening nearby, but then we saw a crowd of people forming around these guys. It turned into an impromptu, festive jam session and dance party by all!

So when my friend Bonnie sent over this link to The Busking Project which her sister, Belle, is taking part in, I loved being transported back to Friday night. The Busking Project seeks to interview, photograph, film and discover the life and motivations of the street artists. As part of the project they’re also looking for leads on street performers, film makers, and people who are willing to share their couches. You can find out more here and how to get involved here.


  • Buskers definitely exist! It’s such a great word, don’t you think?
    It’s also a ton of fun – in Boston you need a permit, but I don’t think you do in Paris!


  • Interesting project.

    I learned the term ‘busking’ last spring when I was stuck in Paris, per the volcanic eruption in Iceland. BBC News was covering people who had no money to buy new plane tickets and were thus ‘busking’ to raise the funds needed to purchase a new flight outta Dodge.

    And yes, there is such a thing as a ‘busker’ – according to Merriam-Webster:


  • Hi Anne! Thanks so much on behalf of The Busking Project for mentioning us on your blog! We’re in Marrakech at the moment, filming snake charmers and musicians in the market. Your blog is so interesting, what a great read. We’ll definitely keep reading and pass the word.

  • Hi Anne- As a fellow travel-lover, I enjoy reading your blog (I lived in Paris the last two years before returning home to the states). On the theme of busking, I just watched a great little movie I might suggest if you haven’t already seen it: It is an Irish film called Once and directed by John Carney.

  • Anne,
    There was a sign in the Piccadilly Square Station of the London Underground in 1968 that said “Buskers and street musicians not permitted here.” So yes, “buskers” is a real word.

    PS: Despite the sign, buskers and street musicians were performing there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *