© Street Art Panier Marseille Provence Jootcm

Top street art spots in Marseille

Like Lisbon, Paris, Melbourne, Berlin… Marseille is one of the capitals of street art. Graffiti, frescoes, stencils and mosaics rub shoulders along its narrow, colourful little streets where we love to wander. From Cours Julien to the Vieux-Port, is the street art of Marseille livening up its walls? Here’s a checklist of the best places to get an eyeful!

 

The quarter of La Plaine and the Cours Julien: Marseille’s street art landmark

Cours Julien, one of the liveliest places in Marseille, is more like a village right in the heart of the city centre, a stone’s throw from Noailles and the Vieux-Port. It stands on one of Marseille’s seven hills. A fun, family guided tour in the town will help you discover it… Come and meet the biggest quarter devoted to street art in France, which has become a meeting point and a landmark for creators, musicians, artists, the locals and night owls. The first graffiti artists appeared here during the 1990s, as can be seen on the walls, the car park ramp and even the school door, all covered in graffiti and frescoes signed by local and international artists. This ultra-colourful and exciting universe always amazes passers-by. These highly esthetic creations in their blend of genres convey a real thought-provoking message. Some of the frescoes cover the whole height of the facades of buildings, such as in Rue Vian. There you can see a diver in conversation with a giant turtle in a poetic face-à-face created by the artists Mahn Kloix and Gütan. Rue Ferdinand-Rey, the Japanese-style characters by the artist Stex will capture your attention.

Le Panier, the reign of urban art

It’s great to wander around Le Panier, the oldest quarter in Marseille, with its original shops whose shopkeepers are real enthusiasts. The Brasilian graffiti artist Nohbi has brought the little streets of this quarter to life with colourful characters and all sorts of patterns. One of his fellow artists, Batch, has fun creating fake events with humorous posters inspired by the graphics of the 50s and 60s. And you can admire King Kong in Marseille on one of these creations. And as you can see as you wander around the streets, street artists are very much inspired by birds. Pretty multi-hued parrots adorn the streets of the quarter. Nhobi, who lives in Marseille, has created a puzzling work known as the “Pieuvre en cuisine” (octopus in the kitchen). And you just can’t avoid the magnificent portrait by Vale Stencil, a world-famous Mexican artist.

The cultural Wasteland of Marseille

For several years, the former Manufacture des Tabacs of La Belle de Mai has housed the Friche de la Belle de Mai. The rehabilitation project is a playground and cultural venue and a delight for artists who have found a workspace and a performance venue in the middle of Marseille. A playground and sports area, restaurant, a show and concert venue, shared gardens, a bookshop, exhibition areas… it’s almost a little town inside the city. Street art has made itself a nest here! Frescoes, stencils, collages with spray, brush or pole, graffiti artists from all over the world have come here to express their talent. In Cour Jobin, a huge fresco by the TKO crew hits the eye. And as you get nearer the dance floor, you can see Mr. Difuz’s characters with their unusual appearance and on the wall of the tower, on the terrace-roof side, the artist REMED has left his mark with a letter ou can have fun trying to decipher.

 

Space Invaders conquer Marseille

Space Invaders, illustrations of extraterrestrials in a mosaic inspired by an 80s video game, are now part of the Mediterranean city’s decor. Around a hundred of these creatures can be seen in several of the city’s streets, between L’Estaque and the Calanques, and from Les Baumettes to the Vieux-Port. These are the work of one man, the internationally-famous French mosaic artist Invader. His artwork  invites us all to an original and creative treasure hunt to find his pictures. From the faces of Zidane and Fernandel bottles of Pac (a local cordial), Ricard or 51 and references to the marine world in an anchor or a gull, Marseille is a never-ending source of inspiration for him.

 

Focus on the Expo de Ouf in Nîmes

Every autumn in the Gard, the frescoes of L’Expo de Ouf in Nîmes are a delight to the artistically minded! The street art itinerary is an invitation to a recreational and artistic adventure you must not miss.

 

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