Although Van Gogh preferred the French countryside to the congested streets of Paris, he did live in Paris for a short time with his brother Theo at number 54 Rue Lepic in Montmartre. The art community was active at the time in 1874-75 and the Impressionists, or the grands boulevards artists as they were referred to, often gathered together there for exhibitions. Van Gogh was inspired by works in museums of Paris as well as the works of his contemporaries. Surrounded by Impressionists as well as the up and coming Pointillists, Van Gogh observed the works of other artists and drew from their techniques in the continual development of his style.
It is surprising the number of artists who have lived in Paris at one time or another in their lives. The neighborhood of Montmartre especially has attracted a multitude of famous artists including Renoir and Picasso as well as unknown artists. During the same time that Van Gogh lived in Montmartre, Edgar Degas lived a few doors down on Rue Lepic and Toulouse-Lautrec lived around the corner.
Today the art community is still alive in Montmartre. Visitors can sit and have their portraits painted in a matter of minutes, or do as Van Gogh did and observe the works of other artists. There are even walks and tours which take you by some of the places where these great artists like Van Gogh once lived and created their masterpieces.