Busking in Europe

Eileen & David busking
  Eileen & David busking for Le Bonaparte patrons at the Place     Saint-Germain-des-Prés                   Photo provided by patron

Busking is basically street performance for tips and gratuities. To read a more detailed definition and description, click  here  for the Wikipedia entry.

There were two methods that we saw being used by the buskers in Paris - performing on a street, alleyway, or sidewalk for pedestrians as they walked by, or performing for patrons of a restaurant eating at the tables outside of the restaurant. We tried both methods.

Performing for pedestrians entails picking a spot (called a "pitch") where a flow of pedestrians pass by, or a line for a show or perormance at a club might develope. A container for tips is made available for people walking by to 'pitch' in a donation. The buskers do their act and accept what people put in the tip container as they are performing. If a crowd gathers, the hat or tip container can be passed, which will often increase the amount of tips.

Performing for restauranteurs while they dine at outdoor seating (commonly referred to as "terraced cafés") requires that the buskers go from café to café to perform. After the performance has ended, the busker will often go from table to table and make the tip container available for diners to make their contributions, and then move on to another café and do the same.

Of the two methods, we found that performing at terraced cafés worked best for us.