10 Places to Find Banksy Artwork in Paris
Humans have been drawing on walls for thousands of years. It is no wonder then, that when canned spray paint was invented in the late 1940s, a new form of wall art began to develop. Graffiti is employed by many people for many different reasons but at the heart of it all, its purpose usually lies in the conveyance of messages. Sometimes abstract and sometimes direct, graffiti is a form of communicating ideas.
Before Banksy appeared on the scene, there was much debate on whether graffiti was a form of art or just plain vandalism. With his anonymous profile and minimal stencil art popping up in cities all over the world, including London, San Francisco and Barcelona, the ‘street artist’ slowly started to became a household name.
In 2018, numerous Banksy artworks were noticed around Paris. This marked the street artist’s first ‘business’ visit to the city of love and was confirmed by him (her?) on Instagram. Eight artworks have been found across the city, though it is believed that there are ten to twelve artworks that were created during this time. I have put together a guide to find all the Banksy artworks (that we know of!) In Paris.
1. Parisian rat couple near the Eiffel Tower
Where better to begin than nearest the place that any tourist visiting Paris would want to see: the Eiffel Tower? A 15 minute stroll from the famous landmark will find you at the first Banksy artwork on our list. Here you will come across a sweet pair of rats appreciating the beauty of the Eiffel Tower.
While in this area, it is worth taking a stroll, or a jog down the Allée des Cygnes which runs along the middle of the Seine river. This is a very picturesque and unique street upon which to find yourself and should not be taken for granted!
ADDRESS: Pont Rouelle bridge
Metro Station: Passy, Bir-Hakeim
2. Businessman and dog near the Luxembourg Gardens
A half hour metro trip will get you near to the next Banksy artwork on our list, at Rue Victor Cousin. Banksy takes a stab at capitalism in this haunting work, where a business man offers a dog a bone. The Rue Victor Cousin is a short street that is enveloped by the classic beige buildings and charcoal coloured slate roofing that are synonymous with Parisian cityscapes.
ADDRESS: Rue Victor Cousin
Metro Station: Cluny – La Sorbonne, Maubert – Mutualité, Luxembourg train station
Nearby, you will find the Luxembourg Gardens, which are definitely worth a visit.
ADDRESS: luxembourg gardens
opening hours: varies seasonally from 7am to 8:15am – 7pm to 9:30pm
Metro Station: odeon, Notre-Dame des Champs, Luxembourg train station
3. Minnie Mouse rat near Sorbonne University
The next Banksy artwork in the guide is a quick 9 minute walk from the Rue Victor Cousin. Here you will find another signature Banksy artwork where the subject depicted is a rat. This piece has been carefully placed very near the Sorbonne University which was an integral location of the ‘Mai 68’ riots.
This rat wears a Minnie Mouse style bow on its head. The text “Mai 1968” captions the stencil work, in reference to the French uprising of 1968. The figure ‘8’ from the caption appears to have dropped down on to the rat’s head and become a symbolic mouse ears. Banksy’s message in doing this is left open to interpretation.
The Sorbonne University area is definitely worth a visit, if only for its exquisitely Parisian buildings.
ADDRESS: Rue Maître Albert
Metro Station: Maubert – Mutualité,
4. A Champagne cork rat near Place de Vosges and the Notre Dame
A fifteen minute stroll over the Seine (and past the Notre Dame!) will land you at the next Banksy artwork in this guide, at Chez Marianne. A bit more frivolous than the previous two Banksy artworks, this Banksy rat is having some fun while flying through the air on a recently popped Champagne cork. This piece is located in the Marais District, which is a super central area of Paris.
There are many more great sights to see in this area, including the Musée National Picasso-Paris and Place des Vosges. A guided walking tour of this area would reveal the magic hidden in the Marais district.
ADDRESS: Chez Marianne, 2 Rue des Hospitalières Saint-Gervais
Metro Station: Métro St Paul, Hôtel de Ville
5. The missing rat near the Pompidou Centre and the Louvre
Just a 10 minute walk away, this next Parisian Banksy artwork is somewhat of a let down. Not because of the artwork itself, but rather the fact that it no longer exists here. This piece was created as part of the greater set of works that were discovered in Paris in 2018 and went missing overnight in early September 2019.
The work was of a rat with a bandana dust mask, armed with a craft knife and was thought of as a kind of Banksy self-portrait. It was painted on the back of a street sign and was acknowledged by Banksy himself on Instagram with the caption “Fifty years since the uprising in Paris 1968. The birthplace of modern stencil art”.
ADDRESS: Rue Rambuteau
Metro Station: Rambuteau
Not too far from this artwork, is the famous Louvre Museum.
opening hours: Wednesday to Monday – 9am to 6pm
ADDRESS: Musée du Louvre, 75058 Paris – France
Metro Station: Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre
6. The mourning girl at the Bataclan concert hall
From there, a 25 minute walk or 20 minute metro ride will get you to the Bataclan concert hall. Here you will find a Banksy stencil work sprayed onto a fire exit door. A girl in mourning, this artwork pays homage to those that lost their lives in the horrific mass shooting which took place inside the Bataclan concert hall in 2015.
ADDRESS: Rue Rambuteau
Metro Station: Oberkampf, Filles du Calvaire, Saint-Ambroise
7. The scarfed horse-rider near the Bassin de la Villette
The last three Banksy pieces are a bit more spread out and it will take you around 25 minutes to reach the next one at 41 Avenue de Flandre. This artwork references a well-known portrait of Napoleon on a horse. The commentary comes in where the rider is wearing a full headscarf. In 2011, France banned the use of full-face headscarves or veils in public places. This remains a highly controversial decision.
The nearby Bassin de la Villette is the largest artificial lake in Paris.
ADDRESS: 41 Avenue de Flandre
Metro Station: Stalingrad, Riquet
8. The Champagne cork rat near Sacré-Cœur and the Moulin Rouge
To get to the next Banksy piece will take you about half an hour on the metro. It is worth it though, as there are many other reasons to visit this area of Paris – the famous Montmartre. Located at the Rue du Mont Cenis, up one of the staircases, you will find another adventurous Champagne rat flying through the air on a cork.
You will not find yourself at a loss with things to do, once you have checked out the Monmartre Banksy.
Sacré-Cœur is very nearby and well worth a visit, as is the Moulin Rouge. A guided walking tour of this area is a great idea and will open your eyes to the art and history that bloomed in this centre of Bohemian Paris.
ADDRESS: 41 Avenue de Flandre
Metro Station: Jules Joffrin
9. The Migrant Girl near Port de La Chapelle
A 20 minute walk or 10 minute metro ride will get you to get to the last currently known Banksy artwork to be found in Paris. Stencilled on a wall near Port de La Chapelle, this piece depicts a homeless girl, spray painting a pink pattern over a swastika. This piece is a commentary on France’s immigration policies.
Many immigrants took up refuge in this area, either in unofficial refugee camps or on the streets. Banksy clearly considered the placement of this piece carefully, in order for it to make the boldest impact. Sadly this artwork has since been vandalised, in the true sense of the word, with blue paint.
ADDRESS: Porte de la Chapelle
Metro Station: Porte de la Chapelle
10. ‘The World of Banksy’ at Espace Lafayette-Drouot
There is one more spot in Paris, where you can find Banksy artworks. ‘The World of Banksy: The Immersive Experience’ is an exhibition at the Espace Lafayette-Drouot in Montmartre. This exhibition takes places in an underground parking lot and is unassociated with Banksy himself. This makes the exhibition as mysterious as the man behind the name. While the authenticity of the works on show is uncertain, ‘The World of Banksy’ brings Banksy to you, right here in Paris.