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My honest review about the Belleville Street Art Tour
Disclosure: I was invited to join the tour, but did not receive any remuneration for this article — it’s my unbiased opinion.
When you are planning a trip to Paris, you likely are envisioning yourself walking down illuminated boulevards, passing impressive Haussmann buildings, fancy shops, and cute cafés. But the classic Parisian flair is by far not everything this city has to offer.
If you truly want to explore Paris with all its facets, head over to Belleville. The quarter in the east of Paris is the most unique, eclectic, and colorful corner of Paris, with a one-of-a-kind identity that has very few in common with the rest of town.
Kasia Klon is an artist and the owner of Street Art Tour Paris. She started out by showing fellow artist friends around when they’ve visited Paris, and her tours became quickly an insider tip amongst her entourage. When the demand didn’t ease up, she decided to offer tours regularly and most important: for everyone!
Today, she is offering a variety of private and custom tours that you can book through her website.
If you are interested rather in a Street Art Tour in Montmartre or in a tour about the Murals in the 13th Arrondissement, you can book directly here.
Anyway, this autumn I was lucky enough to join her on one of her tours. I don’t want to spoil anything, but to answer the initial question if the Belleville Street Art Tour is worth it: I had a blast!
We met next to a café close to the Gambetta Metro station and started right away with one of Paris’ most known street art: Space Invaders! You find these little mosaics all over Paris and since a few years, you can flash them by using a free app. You should try it, it’s fun!
After this first little excursion, we started our walk through Belleville. I have to admit that I didn’t know what to expect from Kasia’s tour. It was the first walking tour I ever attended, and I honestly know close to nothing about art. I thought she would more or less point out pieces of art that the untrained eye wouldn’t notice, and maybe talk a bit about Belleville.
Well, Kasia obviously covered all that. But the real value of her tour is her immense knowledge of the Parisian street art scene. Many of the local artists are her friends and, as luck would have it, she does not hesitate to entertain with fascinating insider stories and personal anecdotes.
The tour I joined takes about 2 hours, and you can expect to walk 3-4 km. It is not very far overall, but Belleville lies on one of the Parisian hills and parts of the itinerary are uphill. Hence, your shoes should be comfortable and your water bottle full.
Along the way, Kasia would take frequent breaks to point out some pieces of urban art, provide information on artists or illustrates facts about Belleville.
But she is not only a licensed tour guide and an artist herself, Kasia is as well a historian, and this combination is what makes her street art tour so outstanding.
She knows how to put the different urban art pieces into context; culturally, historically, politically and internationally — but simultaneously interweaves them into the very neighborhood of Belleville and the history of Paris. I was on more than one occasion staggered by her explanations.
Thus, if you are booking a tour with Paris Street Art Tour, you are not simply getting a guide. You’re getting the occasion of having an inside member of the Belleville art scene showing you their neighborhood. I truly could not imagine how this tour could have been any better.
I enjoyed every minute of it and I wholehearted recommend it. Click here to book the same tour.