Immerse yourself in the “Champs-Élysées of street art”
The 13th arrondissement, in south-eastern Paris, is constantly changing. After years of redevelopment, the streets have been brightened up with surrealist frescos created by urban artists from across the globe.
The Street Art 13 walking tour is the perfect way to spend an entertaining afternoon exploring the fifty-some works of art that can be found in this outdoor museum of sorts.
Your underground excursion begins on Boulevard Vincent Auriol, known to some as “the Champs-Élysées of street art”. It is along this wide avenue where the metro runs aboveground that you will come face to face with huge mural paintings.
At no. 186 on rue Nationale, prepare to be amazed as you stand before the gigantic work of art Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité by American artist Shepard Fairey. This homage to Marianne, the national symbol of France, covers one side of a seven-storey building.
Further along on your walk, on a facade of the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, the artist Invader has immortalised a popular television character with his pixelated Dr House. At Place Vénétie, be careful not to strain your neck as you gaze up at one of Europe's tallest frescos reaching 66 metres high: Tourbillon de sardines by Pantónio. In this labyrinth of colourful concrete, your guide will tell you all about what drives these street artists.
Street Art 13 walking tour
24 boulevard du Général d'Armée Jean Simon
+33 (0)1 44 06 45 39
Fall in love with Butte-aux-Cailles
After taking in so much monumental art, you may want to scale down with some graffiti art in a charming neighbourhood that brings to mind a country village. Welcome to Butte-aux-Cailles. As you wind your way through the serpentine streets, you will frequently be surprised by a silhouette that seems to emerge from a wall or a celebrity set in stone such as Johnny Depp, Brigitte Bardot or Serge Gainsbourg.
While most of the art is clearly visible – such as stencils by Miss Tic, a visual artist and urban art poet, or Jef Aerosol's work – others require a little more effort. You may get the impression you are on a treasure hunt as you seek out Clet Abraham's discreet stickers on street signs that give them a whole new meaning.
In Butte-aux-Cailles, street art is not limited to stickers and stencils. Artists such as Portuguese street artist Vhils use decaying walls to sculpt impressive faces in stone and incorporate other materials such as wood or metal. Some lucky murals remain there for years, while others are constantly added to give the walls of Paris a little extra embellishment.