Teetering on the edge of the wallet-meltingly chic Marais, looking over the dark plains of Gare de l’Est and the abyss of Gare du Nord, it is both a confused and confusing quartier.
Blink, and the group of BCBJ fripperie fanatics turns into a gum-spitting, tyre slashing racaille mob. A well-dressed mother and baby duo taking a stroll before Church might morph into the local crazy, who as far as I can gather has been stealing my post for the last month and leaving plastic bottles of wine outside my door. Even friendly Brian from the epicerie downstairs (no, that is not his name, but it’s too late to ask now) may actually be the man who asked if I was a hooker the other week (on my way to the laverie in my PJs). No-one seems to belong…or perhaps it’s more that anybody can belong here.
So it’s no surprise that graffiti round here is of a different class. Softer, more “arty”, more understandable and appealing to people, like me, who see no beauty in tagging the windows of the metro. Political, fun and thought-provoking, I had to sprint past the 3 men playing frisbee to have a proper nose at all the images and wild colours crammed onto a single wall.
So if you are wandering up the canal, have a look at the small play area by Rue de Lancry, and see how the images change every week. It’s really very beautiful.
ps Brian I am onto you.