The 13th arrondissement is renowned for its monumental street art. XXL-format works produced as part of Street Art 13 feature on the district’s building façades, including many by big-name artists. From place d’Italie to the quai de la Gare, the Street Art 13 trail includes some fifty spectacular frescos, most along boulevard Vincent-Auriol and the surrounding streets.
International names abound, including US artist Obey, made world-famous by his “Hope” poster of Barack Obama. Among his creations for Street Art 13 is a Marianne - the personification of the French Republic - in memory of the victims of the 13 November terrorist attack. There is also a pixelated Dr House by Invader at the Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière, the signature cat of C215, a ballerina by New York duo Faile, and one of the biggest frescos in Europe by Portuguese artist Pantonio. These works are also visible from the over-ground trains on metro line 6. The works are lit at night, so you can even admire them after dark.
For a more intimate feel, head to Butte-aux-Cailles, where you’ll find works by artists including Nemo, Jef Aérosol, Miss. Tic., Speedy Graphito, Philippe Baudelocque, Jace and Seth. At the foot of the slope, don’t forget to check out the surprising anamorphosis by Zag & Sìa painted along the stairway on rue Eugène-Atget.
At the heart of the BNF district, close to the iconic Frigos de Paris, is the Galerie Itinerrance - the city’s leading street art gallery. The initiator of the Street Art 13 trail and the La Tour Paris 13 pop-up exhibition, it presents a wealth of street art talent.
More info on the Galerie Itinerrance
For a decade now, Vitry-sur-Seine has been giving artists carte blanche, affording street art the opportunity to flourish in total freedom. In all, more than 400 works are featured on the town’s walls, façades, street furniture, fences and sliding curtains, transforming it into a capital of street art. Vitry-sur-Seine is also home to one of the leading lights on the French street art scene: Christian Guémy alias C215. Along one street, you can admire his celebrated post boxes – one of the artist’s favourite media - along with an electrical cabinet decorated with portraits of ordinary people, and a fresco of his daughter Nina.
You’ll also come face to face with a giant bird created by Belgian artist Roa, a rendering of Samuel Beckett by Irish artist Fin Dac, an unsettling female face painted by London's David Walker, a colourful mural composition by Brazilian artist Nunca, a pop geisha by Australian artist Jimmy C, portraits by Italian artist Alice Pasquini (Alicè) ... and works by local artists, including Bebar, Meushay, Avataar and Brok.
At Ivry-sur-Seine, urban art goes green in the Parc départemental des Cormailles. Works include a monumental 30-metre-long fresco entitled "Grey Day Melancholy" by the Sismikazot duo. New works by different artists are regularly added to the park’s displays. The town has been a thriving centre for street art and graffiti since the heyday of hip hop culture in the Greater Paris region.
Urban art in Créteil is up there with the best. Since the town opened a public space devoted to urban culture, graffiti has brought an added touch of colour to its streets. In 2016, the town began commissioning a series of monumental frescos, including in the Mont-Mesly district. The annual Urban Focus festival organised by the MAC de Créteil, promotes street art and its close cousin, hip hop culture, through a packed programme of events.