Street art at the heart of Greater Paris

Follow the street art trail from the Marais to Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

A stone’s throw from the Centre Pompidou, place Igor-Stravinsky sets the stage for one of the city’s most famous works of street art. Behind the Fontaine des Automates by Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle, a giant face looms overhead. Entitled “Chuuuttt !!!” (“Shush!”), it was produced in 2011 by French street art pioneer Jef Aérosol.

On every corner, over buildings and street furniture, the Marais is teeming with street art, including super famous works by US star Shepard Fairey alias Obey, the black-and-white poster portraits of women by German artist Konny Steding, diamond-shaped mirrors by the Franco-Swiss artist Le Diamantaire, mosaic aliens by Invader, the large beaming tomcats of M. Chat, hacked sign posts by Clet… and many others!

No. 5 bis rue de Verneuil in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the Maison Gainsbourg, on the Left Bank, is well worth a detour. The outer wall of this townhouse, once home to Serge Gainsbourg, is covered in stencils, graffiti and messages inspired by the artist. It’s an explosion of colour! Further south, at 149 rue de Sèvres, a huge, 27-metre-high fresco, painted in 1987 by US artist Keith Haring, spruces up the emergency staircase of Necker hospital.