Paris is world renown for the street art that dots its little passageways, greeting you with a peculiar picture or mesmerizing masterpiece when you least expect it. My sister is an artist of sorts, and is entirely obsessed with street art. As I am more of an old lady when it comes to these types of things, I had always viewed the scene as one that was fueled by kids who made bad decisions in life and were great candidates for future prison careers. I probably should scale back the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air marathons or something…
This all leads to my visit to Paris last year. I had been before, but wanted to take my sister to see the Louvre, eat croissants, and comb vintage markets. Like you do. We were staying at the Woodstock Hostel (Great place to stay- and cheap!), in the neighborhood of Montmartre. I had been through when I visited the Sacré-Cœur Basilica and knew it would be a great place for us to hang out for a few days.
During a random walk, my sister suddenly let out a gasp like she had seen Elvis himself. I turned to see what had her all riled up, and was disappointed to see that it was just a torn picture plastered on the wall of the street corner. She wasn’t amused by my reaction. She excitedly told me that the torn piece of something in front of us, was by one of her favorite street artists- one she had longed to see in person when back in America. Something inside me clicked- I have had that same reaction before, albeit for very different reasons. The day I stepped off my plane into the Beijing Airport. The moment I saw Potato Eaters at the Vincent Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The first time I saw the leaves change in Buffalo. It is that immense happiness you get when some little dream comes true. For my sister, that moment was in a dirty cobblestone alleyway in Paris.
After this moment, I agreed to be more open-minded and to spend the rest of our evening walking corridors, exploring hidden alley-ways, and peeking under every staircase, garage door, and shuttered window we could find. It became a hunt, hide-and-seek, my kind of thing. I must tell you, my mind was changed that day.
I couldn’t believe that such beautiful pieces of art, art I said it, were just haphazardly stuck up in the most random places. We spent much of the next day walking through various neighborhoods like the La Chapelle District (Paris’s Indian Quarter) snacking on Samosas and looking for the next surprise.
I’ll let you judge for yourself. Many of the pictures were taken at night, I won’t necessarily recommend exploring unfamiliar neighborhoods alone at night. If you want to see the street art of Paris for yourself, I recommend getting extraordinarily lost in Montmartre or joining one of the many Paris street art tours.
Are you a fan of street art? What city has your favorite? (I have some amazing pieces to share next week from Shoreditch in London!)