Everywhere in France, the interest in street art explodes, which makes people today often referre to as ‘post-graffiti’. Paris and the Seine-Saint-Denis district are the home of many french urban graffiti artists and host a glorious street art scene. In different areas, the various styles of ancient and modern arts mix. The result are trends likeCalligraffiti or Graffiti Art.
Pretty much everyone knows colourful pieces of street art today from the walks in certain areas – or at least you know it from your instagram feed. Whether political, colorful or cheeky – the pictures sprayed on stencils (or just wallpapered stencils), glued posters, tags or sculptures… they all sweeten the way to work in every major European city. But it keeps getting better: There is a particularly attractive urban art history to find in the north of Paris. The reason is clear: Paris and Seine-Saint-Denis are the home of many urban graffiti artists and a fantastic street art fan crowd.
In addition to a certain fan base, the neigbourhood in the north of the city of light is also known for the typical ‘Camions Parisiens’. If you leave a white transporter unattended for too long, it will soon be covered in colorful graffiti and characters. Best mobile advertising for an urban artist or activist.
Calligraffiti can be seen every now and then, but is rather rare. In contrast to classical street art, it’s is much more original, namely the combination of calligraphy and graffiti.Calligraphy is the art of beautiful and abstract writing and can take on different forms.For example, that of a so-called “mural” on the gray walls of a big city like Paris, Bordeaux or Lyon.
The eye-catching Graffitiart in Paris is often the work of artists who use public space innovatively or want to exhibit and sell graffiti later in a gallery. The non-public “works” are exhibited in small galleries in Saint-Ouen or Montmartre (by the way, admission is almost always free). But you can also find them in the form of intercultural projects that are easy to find even included in a touristic tour. Best areas giva a walking tour a try: Montmartre and Saint-Ouen.
Graffiti walking tours in the north-east of Paris are becoming increasingly popular. A group excursion will make you discover the best pieces of local northern artists. Thanks to the growing public interest, the district of Saint-Denis is from time to time promoting urban art walks. And there are a whole bunch of quite fun tours available. Most of the guided walks have been organised in collaboration with the resident artists and cultural collectives. If anyone does not feel like walking in a group, no problem: just plan your own tour by bike or boat. There are enough hints on this list of top 5 places to see the graffiti and street art in northern Paris:
1. Saint-Denis & Canal d’Ourcq
If you have already climbed the Eiffel Tower, admired Mona Lisa and walked along the Canal Saint-Martin, it is time to dare to head to the north of Paris. There you can gaze a Paris that you have hardly seen before: It’s colorful, wild and urban. After a quick walk to see the Guaté Mao portraits in Saint-Denis, it is best to head to the Canal d’Ourcq. The easy-going flaneur will soon catch sight of graffiti spots near the canal or in the Rue de l’Ourcq.The spots are all located in the 19th arrondissement.There are many paintings of sprayers like Artof Popof, Dacruz or Sañez.Here you also find some abstract frescoes and various collaboration paintings by different street artists.This hidden gem of Paris is also an insider’s tip among Parisian street art connoisseurs.
2. Le mur des femmes au Nord de Paris
Just around the corner from the Mairie de Saint-Ouen metro station (behind the futuristic ice hockey arena), young hipster are bustling around with big lenses. Whether blogger, Insta-Influencer or professional photographer – the graffiti wall in the Rue du Dr. Bauer is a popular motive. Why so? Well, you find it just a stone’s throw away from the XXL flea market, the ‘Puces de Saint-Ouen’. In addition, particularly female artists were at work here. They have dedicated themselves to the topic of women’s power in the Paris banlieue and immortalized their heroines here by drawing beautiful female motifs. Incidentally, there is another ‘Mur Saint-Ouen’ in the ‘Village des Puces de Saint Ouen’, which is constantly being repainted. Also worth a visit!
3. Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen
In Saint-Ouen, the prism of the urbanan coast is generally colorful: there are graffiti and paintings with stark perspective, mosaics and of course Monsieur Chat. Here you look every day at new and recent street art: Many artists work on the walls of the city, which they paint over, over and over again. Thus, Saint-Ouen is with every visit a differently designed area attentive passer-by. And above all, the artists turn the gray suburb into a kinder, more colorful part of the banlieue.
If you like to explore the illustrations in the area in an ideal way, orient on the Rue des Rosiers, which kind of the main axis across the market district. Take some turns every now and then and explore the small side streets. True pearls of urban arts might hide here. Wander!
4. Le 6B – Saint-Denis
Electronic music party, graffiti artists and social projects: In Saint-Denis, the former office complex with the number 6b has blossomed into a hotspot of urban art and cultural life. It is a building that looks a bit like an occupied house or squat. But it is not. For certain, it is colorful and for a night out, a great alternative to the hot spots in Paris city. Encircled by the River Seine and the Canal Saint-Denis, “Le 6B” has been home to some of the best Parisian parties for over 5 years. But nowadays the activities on the people living there focus more on the functions of the community project. This is why many bands have their rehearsal rooms here. You’ll find artist studios and exposition spaces. But most of all: Lots of graffiti on every corner. After the party fun is over, the building is again only privately accessible. But if there is another ‘expo’ here, you should not miss it. Keep up to date about the latest expositions in Saint-Denis on our Instagram ❤.
Or just join a virtual tour via YouTube:
5. Pigalle & Abbesses
Pigalle is known as one of the, well, sloppy districts of Paris. He he. There’s a lot of party going on at the week end, bars are crowded and music everywhere… put on the red light! And that is a good thing. But the district in the north of the parisian city center is also a place where people actually live. The side streets and alleys around the Boulevard de Clichy on the one hand have everything you need for everyday French life: bakeries, homes, schools. The architexture is quite unique, too. And on top of that, there is a whole lot of street art. Only conclusion: go for a walk on a sunny weekend!
In the direction of Place des Abbesses, things get a bit fancier and the street art appears to be more extravagant. It is the painted streets, the murals and sculptures as well as the nightlive of Pigalle with its ‘Street of Sex’ that attracts people. Art is less political here. But you also find a lot on sights. Nevertheless, such unique sculptures, objects and posters can hardly be found anywhere else as in unique Montmartre.
The density of artists in Pigalle and Abbesses is already quite high anyway, but the artists no longer hide in dark streets to express their urban art and install their sulptures.On just does it actually quite openly and of course everywhere: Legal? Illegal? They don’t give a shIt! 😉 And whether local or tourist, people love this trend!
More photos and snapshots from the beautiful banlieues :
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All pictures taken by: ⓒSinah Vonderweiden ⓒKristin Tiffert