Paris is known as one of the art capitals of the Western world. From artists painting in Montmartre, to the Mona Lisa in the Louvre museum, the opportunities to experience seeing art are incredible!
But... have you considered taking to the winding streets to see graffiti?
The benefits include not waiting in line, no entrance tickets, no crowds... you will find some of the most extraordinary art right on the street, completely free, just look up, behind or around and you will spot it!
Street art was invented during the 1970s in New York City, when young artists such as Keith Haring would take spray paint and create work on walls, using the city as their canvas.
When Haring came to Paris he made his work in original places like the Hôpital Necker-Enfants malades (children hospital).
It became so famous that it was even used for an original post stamp in 2014!
You can even find a piece of Keith Haring in the form of a golden altarpiece inside the church Saint Eustache!
Today, Paris has a thriving street art scene which is easily spotted when looking at almost any street in town. There are certain districts or areas that are graffiti artists favourites:
The 13th Arrondissement
Place for monumental frescoes, just look up and be amazed!
From the 1960s, this industrial district saw its facades covered by artists who wanted to embellish their living space. With the support of the town hall of the 13th arrondissement and the action of art galleries, certain areas have transformed in recent years into veritable street museums! Evidenced by the boulevard Vincent Auriol, which hosts no less than 26 monumental works. In 2013, the district was in the spotlight with the Paris 13 Tower , completely painted and opened to the public before being demolished.
A film and documentary project was made by Thomas Lallier. See the trailer below:
Festive, young and cosmopolitan
Located in the east of Paris, the Oberkampf district has a festive, young and cosmopolitan atmosphere. The streets Oberkampf, Jean-Pierre Timbaud and Parmentier are very lively - especially in the evening! While at the Atelier des Lumières you can enjoy spectacular immersive exhibitions, on the streets of the neighbourhood you can find lots of street art.
Provided that they have a link with the urban artistic logic, all techniques and modes of intervention are welcomed. Graffiti, Street Art, Diversions, Installations, In Situ, the contributions are completely free to access and extremely diverse.
On rue de la Fontaine-au-Roi, you can admire works by some twenty artists!
If you go to 11 rue des Trois-Couronnes you will discover the 3 Couronnes wall, runned by the Collectif 3 Couronnes that brings together people from the street or local residents, from all walks of life.
They came together to develop what was an urban wasteland make it something more, working with the aim that it becomes a place of welcome and solidarity.
Truly it is a participatory place open to the neighbourhood !
From former modest village to a trendy district
In the surrounding area, several other walls serve as a canvas for pop-up works, such as the wall of the Pavillon Carré de Baudoin (121 rue de Ménilmontant) or the wall of square Henri-Karcher (165 rue des Pyrénées) just steps away from the Pere Lachaise cemetery.
Both are expressive media for an artistic program managed by the Art Azoï organisation.
The Villette District
Art along the water
In the 19th arrondissement of Paris, and particularly the surroundings of the Bassin de la Villette and the Canal de l'Ourcq, is one of the essential districts of Paris where to see street art.
From small interventions hidden between the bridges, buildings and boats all the way to massive frescoes that can be seen from afar.
Every year a street art festival called "Ourcq Living colors" is organized by the association Cultures Pas Sages. Supported by the graffiti artist dAcRuZ, this association aims to strengthen the social fabric of this multicultural neighborhood on the move by organizing collaborative cultural events.
To discover this area you can walk, but given the long distance we recommend that you rent an electric boat or bikes.
Below you will find a wonderful map created by Tourisme93 which will allow you to find the most interesting creations along the canal.
Steps away from the highlights, but hidden from the average tourist
Steps away from the Louvre, the George Pompidou center, the Seine river, Notre Dame Cathedral and the city hall you can stroll the narrow streets of Beaubourg and find many small interventions from the famous Invader and many other that have decided to leave their trace without asking for permission.
But you can also find incredible frescoes like the ones from OBEY and Jef Aérosol! At the Place Igor-Stravinsky by the very beautiful and colorful fountain designed by Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint-Phalle! (currently under renovation until 2023)
And that's not all! In case it is a cold winter day you can also find street art in museums and galleries!
In the north of Paris is Art42 (17th Arr.), the first French urban art museum.
While la Fab. by agnès b. is in the south (13th Arr).
The Fluctuart boat near the elegant Alexandre III bridge. by the Seine river!
Some galleries also offer a street art programme, with rich and diversified exhibitions
Mathgoth (13th Arr)
Brugier-Rigail (3rd Arr)
Openspace (11th Arr)
Artistik Rezo (11th Arr)
Celal (1st Arr)
Wallworks gallery (10th Arr)
Magda Danysz gallery (11th).
Since for several decades now, art has appropriated the largest museum in the world: the street, the Paris administration has decided to bring it all together by putting on an exhibition
(From October 15th to February 11th inside the beautiful Hotel de Ville)
Through the creations of more than 70 artists - Invader, Miss Tic, André, Swoon or Banksy - the exhibition "CAPITALE(S)" draws up for the first time in France a rich and sharp panorama of this movement, and of the importance of the Parisian scene in its development over more than sixty years!
You must make your reservations online ahead of time in the official website (here) and select a date and time.
(The last entrance to the exhibition will be at 5:45pm, except for Thursdays, where you can enter as late as 8:15pm!)
Below you will find some of the photos that we took during our visit to this interesting and fun expo that includes de art of over 70 different talented artists that have left their trace in Paris.
Now that you know where to find the best Street Art in Paris, maybe you want to consider a new way to discover the city!
Next time you are in Paris remember that at StrollsParis we love street art and during our strolls there is lots of it around! This is perfect for kids and teens that enjoy finding this creative art pieces specially in our Montmartre's Charm and our Eclectic Marais tours.
Join our Instagram account at @strollsparis to enjoy the pictures we post from the street art during our private strolls and stay connected for more fun and useful information for your next trip to Paris!
We would love to know what are your thoughts on street art?
Are there also specific areas where artists get specially creative in your town?
Let us know in the comment section below 😉✏️
Written and edited by Julia Orr and Pamela Breit