You may have spotted the colourful retro Space Invaders that can be found dotted around the streets of Paris, but did you know that Paris is home to some of the most exciting street art in Europe – even the world?
If the streets of the city are a canvas for street artists, then it’s a canvas that is constantly changing. So how do you track down Street Art in Paris? Well, here are some favourite destinations for discovering a glimpse of the urban art world that is always evolving.
One place in Paris where you can really appreciate the changing face of street art is on Rue Dénoyez. Just a short walk from Belleville Metro and marking one of the hubs of the arty neighbourhood, you’ll often find young people and adults alike choosing spraycans from their bags to create new tags and designs on the patchwork of graffiti on this colourful street. The atmosphere here is one of laidback appreciation for this great example of urban creativity, so wander the street, chat to the people creating the pieces, and then head to the iconic Aux Folies for a glass of wine.
Another creative neighbourhood, Oberkampf is a great hotspot for street art. Don’t be surprised if you see the occasional walking tour making its way round the artistic highlights of narrow cobbled streets or checking out Le Mur, a dedicated urban art space at 107 rue Oberkampf. This is a fixed “canvas” wall that seems never to be the same – artists including Mademoiselle Maurice, Fred le Chevalier (a local favourite whose work you may recognise), Sêma Lao, Hoctez & Fuga and many more have created works here – and that’s just in 2014.
Butte aux Cailles
The village-like neighbourhood of Butte aux Cailles is a firm favourite for street artists. A wander through the quiet cobbled streets of the hill is all you need to spot some of the city’s best examples of urban artworks. From stencil work and graffiti to intricate drawings, don’t forget to bring your camera to snap some of these beautiful temporary gems – then choose your favourites over an affordable pint of beer at Chez Michel.
Canal de l’Ourcq
It’s no surprise the arty 19th arrondissement district attracts the city’s urban artists. A laidback atmosphere and a slightly run-down setting mean the colourful murals and graffiti tags fit right in, but 2014 saw the Canal de l’Ourcq become a real hub of Street Art, with over 30 artists allowed to create their own amazing works throughout the streets. Thanks to this initiative, a stroll around the Canal de l’Ourcq makes for the perfect chance to see a whole range of artists’ work in one Sunday stroll.
Vitry sur Seine
Sometimes it’s worth getting a little out of town to visit something really special. Vitry-sur-Seine is home to Christian Guémy, so keep an eye out for his stencil work dotted around the neighbourhood. He first started painting portraits of his daughter so she would know her dad was thinking of her while she was away at school! You may spot his huge murals on the side of buildings, or vibrant portraits mixed amidst the work of other local artists.
One thing is sure – all you need to spot street art in Paris is to keep your eyes open ! Once you spot one piece, you’ll see them it all over the city – but for the latest and greatest, these neighbourhoods are a great place to start. Let us know what you found.