Exploring the 59 Rue de Rivoli Artists’ Squat in Paris

Artwork made by squatters in France using mannequin

Rather than starting this blog with an introductory post that nobody wants to read, I’m diving in at the deep end with an unexpectedly cool place that I came across in central Paris. In the midst of high street advertising and desperate recession-bitten traders sat this artists’ squat, which occupied a beautiful old terraced block just minutes from some of the city’s big attractions.

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A view of the squat from the street.
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The sign outside the squat.
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Heading up the heavily decorated stairs.

I couldn’t decide whether it was heartening to see people fighting back against hard times, or whether it was pretty sad that they had (presumably) taken over someone else’s property. Either way, I was curious to see more. Each floor was divided into little sections holding several different artists’ work, from the more commercial pieces with business cards carefully placed in your line of vision, to the sprawling murals filled with rants against pretty much anyone and everyone and accompanied by stern signs banning photography.

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An eclectic doll’s house set-up.
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A selection of paintings from one of the artists.
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Part junk shop, part conceptual art.

Most of the areas were unattended, but I did speak to two over-friendly creatives on the top floor, who were clearly under the influence of something stronger than the intense Parisian heat. They were incredibly keen for me to buy some comically bad emo drawings that the girl had produced, each one setting punters back a whopping €20, but somehow I managed to escape empty-handed. However, some of the other pieces were very tempting to buy, such as huge monochromatic drawings, but I’d never have been able to fit them in my suitcase.

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According to the sign, The Museum of Igor Balut Loves You.
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In case anyone needs an Art Sickness Bag…
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Irresistible insane stuffed cat.

If you’re looking to find the squat for yourself then head to 59 Rue de Rivoli and go with an open mind. You might just find the perfect souvenir (or some great photo opportunities).

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