Street Art Tours in Paris
Street art tours in Paris – a new way of discovering the city. And, to some, a controversial and exploitative way to make money out of this populaire artform.
Street art tours, will never fully bypass this exploitation, so long as money changes hands (and, by the way we need to pay rent, as well). Street art is by its essence a free art form. However, at Underground Paris we try to counter the negatives in a number of ways.
Street art tours by Underground Paris are not Art History graduate-led museum walks around ethnic neighbourhoods.
Yes, we know our art history, and, yes, we take our guests around ethnic neighbourhoods. We’ve been to university, which means we speak the same language as many of our guests. But, we also ‘get’ graffiti – the tags, the stuff you probably dislike. We speak lots about this, too.
And, yes, we understand that graffiti tagging isn’t why people join our tours. Usually, they’ve seen art by Banksy (and even watched the Banksy movie), they know Shepard Fairey and his Barack Obama ‘Hope’ poster campaign, or, perhaps, have even bought an Obey Giant t-shirt at one of the thousands of urban fashion shops around the planet that sell his clothing line. Maybe they know Paris’ most iconic street artist, Space Invader, and his mosaic pixel art (from Exit Through the Gift Shop – Mr Brainwash is also his cousin). Some of our guests are even familiar with TED Prize winner, JR, and his photographic portraits on the separation wall in Israel-Palestine or the favelas of Rio de Janeiro.
People come on our street art tours for a variety of reasons, but by and large, our guests are interested in just that, street art (by this, we mean the uncommissioned stuff that isn’t ‘graffiti’).
However, as much as the people who join our street art tours in Paris want just to see street art, and not look at tags, usually they come with very little a priori knowledge of street art, nor graffiti, and so, this is why we feel it’s so important that we give the whole story on the street art movement, and not shrug off the graffiti tagging. Reason: Banksy may be as famous today as Andy Warhol, but he started out graffiti tagging. It was only later in his career that he began to make more ‘artistic’ artworks. And, that’s the same path as the great majority of street artists today producing work around the world.
We know our Caravaggio from our Haring, sure – art history is present in graffiti and street art – it’s important stuff. But, what we feel is more important is to know the history of graffiti: the New York school, Subway Art by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant, Style Wars (how books and movies marketed a sub culture which in fact distorted its authenticity, making kids in Europe and other parts of the world believe graffiti was, and still is, a synonym for Hip Hop). And, all of this means understanding graffiti tagging, even if it’s what people often fear and find unattractive, while usually knowing very little about its stylistic conventions or the culture.
Street art is subsumed by graffiti. Graffiti is by far and away the biggest art movement in the world. What we do on our street art tours, here in Paris, is show you beautiful street art, as well as explain and show you about graffiti.
Here’s what’s going to happen on one of our Paris street art tours:
- Paris street art and graffiti – the artwork of dozens of artists in a range of media
- Learn all about the street art and graffiti culture, its contradictions, and the political artistic culture of Paris.
- Visit a street artist run gallery – buy a piece of Parisian urban art
- Discover an astonishing alternate face of Paris – see the city with fresh eyes
Profits made from the tours are invested into our documentary work, looking at street art in Paris.
To reserve your place go to our bookings page. For more information on our different tours, continue reading.
Street Art Walking Tours
See Paris’ finest street art, learn about the culture, visit a street art gallery, and meet the artists.
Every Saturday at 11am (3 hours approx)
Departs from 105 rue Oberkampf, Paris, 75011, in front of Café Place Verte (near to Parmentier metro station – line 3).
Cost: €20 (€15 when booked online)
We also offer private group tours. For more information, send us an email, including full contact details.
Street Art Bike Tours
See and learn about Paris’ best street art and graffiti by, erm, bike. The tour covers the freshest street art and iconic graffiti locations across North-East and South Paris (11th, 20th, 13th Arrondissements).
(3.5 hours approx)
Available only as a private group tour. For more information, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, including full contact details.
Gift cards by Underground Paris
You can buy Underground Paris gift cards for all our tours and workshops.
The gift cards come in a range of denominations, which are emailed to the recipient as a printable PDF, and tied with an invisible red ribbon.
We can arrange private tours any time of the day or week, whether you have a special focus or would like to receive an orientation to Paris street art and graffiti, and fringe culture.
We are able to arrange tours to suit your schedule and interests. Studio visits and private viewings can be arranged. Contact us for pricing and more details.
To inquire about making a private booking email us at email@example.com.