As you know from my rather bizarre cemetery story, I was in Paris a couple of weeks ago. When I have a bit of spare time in a new city I like to try to find more unusual things to do, rather than the obvious tourist stuff. Anyone can visit the Eiffel Tower – I wanted something a bit more off the beaten track.
I’ve always been a big fan of graffiti, so I decided to see if I could find some cool graffiti in Paris to take pictures of. I know that technically it’s vandalism, sure, but when it’s done well, it’s amazing – the skill that goes into good graffiti is incredible.
First up, I went to have a look at a little bit of the Petite Ceinture. The Petite Ceinture is a 20 mile loop of railway, built about 150 years ago and abandoned in the 1930s. It’s an incredible phenomena – this vast expanse of neglected land running through the heart of the city, that has become a much needed home to animals and humans alike. I accessed it through a little open door in a side street, and had to walk past some makeshift shelters and tents and climb some old stone steps to get up to the track.
If you’re a graffiti fan and like exploring quirky places, the Petite Ceinture is definitely worth a visit.
I then went over to Belleville, a really fun and funky part of Paris that is home to the Cimetiere Du Pere Lachaise. It was also once home to Edith Piaf, and if you fancy it you can go and check out her childhood home. Belleville still has a very arty vibe and nowhere is this more evident than the Rue Dénoyez.
Rue Dénoyez is a little alley just a few minutes walk from the metro Belleville, and is a sort of open air graffiti gallery. At one end of the street is a lovely little cafe that doubles as a bookshop. I had an excellent coffee there while I caught up with a bit of work in a gorgeous little room, lined with bookshelves.
I sat in that chair on the left with what looks like a giant duster draped over the back. You can imagine me now sat there, having just having used my best French to order a coffee, sat reading my emails and looking out of the window.
There was only me and one other photographer in the Rue Dénoyez. He had a proper camera and I just had my phone, so I didn’t feel as professional as I would have liked, but still.
If you are looking for graffiti in Paris, Rue Dénoyez is the place to go.