In the south-east corner of the city, this large Paris neighborhood expands west from the river banks to the Parc Montsouris, encompassing three neighborhoods with distinctly different vibes: Grande Bibliothèque, Place d’Italie, and Butte aux Cailles.
Main metro stations in the 13th Arrondissement:
Start at 1). Place d’Italie and head down the Boulevard Vincent Auriol. After two blocks, you’ll spot your first eye-catching piece, 2). a calligraphy-covered building by Crypt at N°171, just next to Hownosm’s “Sun Daze” and Hush’s untitled work.
Keep walking along the wide boulevard and you’ll soon pass by 3). D*Face’s all-blue “Turncoat” (look behind you!), before crossing a cat – 4). “Le Chat” by C215 – and the Rue Nationale.
Behind the friendly feline, you’ll see possibly the Frenchiest fresque in the city – “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” by famous American artist Obey, aka Shepard Fairey – the same artist behind Barack Obama’s iconic “Hope” poster. The bleu, blanc, rouge artwork shows the personification of the French Republic, Marianne, surrounded by the national slogan. Unfortunately, you can’t get a great view from down on the street, but don’t worry, you’ll get a chance to see it better at the end of the stroll.
Continue down the Champs-Elysées of street art until you spot 5). a flamingo on a bright yellow wall. Take a minute to appreciate the humor of this piece by Southern artist Maye, then turn right just after the mural. Duck down Rue Jeanne d’Arc to see two more of Shepard Fairey’s works – 6). at N°60 and 7). N°93 -, then turn around and return to the Boulevard Vincent Auriol.
A block farther down the boulevard, you’ll see two more magical murals 8). “La Madre Secular 2” by INTI and “Etreinte et lutte” by Conor Harrington. After admiring the artworks, turn left and cross under the metro tracks, continuing one block more to 9). 46 Boulevard Vincent Auriol to spot Invader’s biggest artwork, Dr. House – yes, you read that right! Here, on the wall of a hospital, the famous Parisian street artist created one of his signature mosaics in the form of TV’s Dr. House!
As your self-guided walking tour comes to a close, make your way back up the opposite side of the Boulevard Vincent Auriol. Peak your head around the corner at Rue Jenner to see 10). a mural by David de la Mano, then continue on the boulevard until you once again reach Rue Jeanne d’Arc. Turn the corner and you’ll immediately see two colorful creations with 11). Globe Trotteur’s child-centric mural playing with angles and changing as you approach it.
Pass straight through the Square Gustave Mesurer on your left and be sure to look up before exiting the little park at the Place Pinel to see 12). D*Face’s “Love Won’t Tear Us Apart.” On your way to the Nationale metro station, you’ll get another glimpse of Obey’s “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” between the trees and above the train tracks, but go hop on the metro to get an even better view.
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“I have my routine in the 13th Arrondissement memorized.
Commonly known as the Chinatown of Paris, it’s the district where you’ll find the best banh mi sandwiches and bibimbap. (I highly recommend the Korean restaurant Misso.)
But le treizième is more of a melting pot of different cultures and identities. It’s home to immigrant street vendors, and foreign exchange students from all over the world searching for the cheapest crêpe around Cité Universitaire and Rue Mouffetard. (And they’re in luck).
Parc Montsouris is the first place I cut through when I arrive in Paris. I’ve seen it in its various seasonal stages. But as a Bostonian, my favorite part about the park will always be greeting poules d’eaux, water hens. I’m used to ducks and hen—separately—but not ducks with chicken legs. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, they’re worth the visit.
Let’s not hold our breaths, though—the best bakery is in the 13eme. Brun is the boulangerie where, if you time it well, you can walk away with loaves of hot baguettes that burn your fingertips through the paper. That is, if you can make it to your apartment without devouring them all along the way.”