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Review: Street art walking tour with Paris Polaroid Tours

Review: Street art walking tour with Paris Polaroid Tours Posted on October 12, 201645 Comments

With King of the Mountains off on a football jolly in Stockholm, I needed something to keep the kids entertained on a Sunday afternoon. In stepped Paris Polaroid Tours with the offer to take us on a Paris walking tour to see the street art in Belleville, north east Paris (straddling the 19th and 20th arrondissements).

Paris has amazing art galleries, Lourve, Musee D’Orsay, Musee Rodin, but Paris also has a thriving, edgy urban street art scene,  waiting to be discovered which you can do with Paris Polaroid Tours.

Paris Polaroid Tours and the Polaroid Cameras

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Steph, Paris Polaroid Tours’ operations and marketing director met us outside Café La Place Verte. And right there was our first street art exhibit, a Japanese inspired work of art.

Steph issued us with our  Fuji Instax Wide Polaroid cameras and a polaroid film packet that contained ten shots. She gave us a quick tutorial on how use the camera (point and shoot) how to load the film, how to take long distance and close up pictures and how to hold the camera to get the best shot.

The cameras are really easy to use. But it’s not digital so you have to think carefully about what you want to capture before you point, shoot and click. With ten shots each, we had to use our film wisely. But this did mean we took in our surroundings and only took pictures of what we really loved.

The kids got excited about having their own cameras, it meant they could decide what they could take pictures of, be real photographers for the afternoon. And even better they got their prints there and then.

A Belleville Rendez Vous

auxfoliesParis is home to a vibrant, underground, street art movement.

Urban art adorns walls, shop fronts, street signs and even bollards are are turned into works of art. Paris Polaroid Tours introduced us to a different side of Paris, one I many never have ventured into with my kids. I loved it and they loved it.

Belleville is a diverse neighbourhood, home to one of Paris’ two Chinatowns (the other is in the 13th arrondissement). Belleville was traditionally a working class area, in the 1980s artists and musicians, attracted by the cheaper rents and the old style buildings, moved in. This is what gives Belleville its unique charm. But the area is changing as gentrification creeps in.

The legendary French chanteuse Edith Piaf grew up in Belleville, and you can even stop off and have a glass of wine in the bar, Aux Folies where she used to perform. The bar is on the corner of one of Belleville most famous street for street art, rue Denoyez.

Paris Polaroid Tours introduced us to some big names in street art:

Shephard Fairey

hopeposter

You might not know the name, but you will know Shepard Fairey’s most famous and now iconic pieces of art, the portrait of Barack Obama, the Hope poster. This has image has made him world famous. His art combines  graffiti, pop art, business art, and Marxist theory. His work has been seen in galleries around the world and even museums. But you can see him right here in Paris.

Mr BMX

mr-bmx

We actually first met Mr BMX in Montpellier, we just didn’t know it. Mr BMX recovers, saws, welds and repaints old BMX bikes before fixing then to the wall. He does this during the day, trying not to get caught.

Retro 

retro

Retro is a new street artist, his art only started appearing in Paris this year. It was pretty cool to see this new artist work here in Paris. Retropolis was Wonder Boy’s favourite piece of art.

Clet Abraham

clet-abrahams

Clet Abraham one of France’s most famous street artists or street sign hacker. His style adds a little humour to the every day and mundane. His hacked street signs can be found all over Europe. Now we can’t stop looking at street signs to see if we can spot a Clet Abraham hack.

 Seth Globepainter (Julien Malland)

globepainter

Street artist, Julien ‘Seth Globepainter‘ Malland has a dreamy cosmic style. We met Seth’s artwork at the end of the tour at Parc de Belleville. The park was built in 1881 and covers a part of Belleville hill. It offers one of the best views of Paris. When you climb to the top, Seth’s works are spread across the building at the top of the hill. He is famous for creating art that features children, and his works are bursting with colour.

Was the tour child friendly?

atakesashot

  • Absolutely, Steph took great pains to talk to the children and really engage them with the art, and the kids loved the art, and the camera. They weren’t bored at all
  • The tour takes around two hours, but we walked at a slow pace, taking in our surroundings. The kids weren’t tired out at all. And even better that we ended our tour in the beautiful parc de Belleville
  • The kids loved the cameras, it made them feel like real photographers, they could choose what pictures they could take, and they started to stage manage their own photo shoots!
  • Yup Paris Polaroid Tours is totally kid friendly, but your children should be able to walk for about two hours at an easy pace

Practical stuff

  • Tours lasts approximately two hours
  • Wear comfortable shoes, and waterproofs if it’s wet
  • All tour guides speak English to a high level as well as Spanish and French
  • All tour guides are passionate photographers, and can provide photography tips, and give assistance for you to get the best shot
  • The tour includes the use of the Polaroid camera and a film packet with 10 shots, additional film packs can be bought
  • As well as the street art tour, you can tour the 13th district famous for its murals, or the classic sights of Paris, there are two further tours in development: Monmatre, and the Pere Lachaise  Cemetery (that’s where Jim Morrison from the Doors is buried, and Oscar Wilde)
  • Tours cab be booked through the Paris Polaroid Tours website
  • Tours start at 45 euros per adult, children (under 12, 30 euros) including the camera and the first pack of film

About Paris Polaroid Tours

Steph was inspired to start Paris Polaroid Tours after spotting a gap in the market for an experiential walking tour. There are countless bus tours, but a walking will help people see see the sights but get a feel for real Paris, seeing people go about their daily business; hear the French language spoken on the streets. The Polaroid instant cameras allows people to capture the moment, create their own souvenirs and create instant memories.
For more information:

*I was not financially compensated for this post. We received a tour for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Take a peak at our street art gallery

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45 thoughts on “Review: Street art walking tour with Paris Polaroid Tours

    1. This was great fun, you get to small area, but learn a whole lot more. And much better than being on a bus, if you like the area, you can just stay and hang out.

    1. Thank you! It was such a cool tour. It’s great to see this amazing art out in the street, and when I started reading up on the artists, I realised these guys are seriously world famous, and their work is out there for us to see. It’s so brilliant.

  1. I was given a polaroid instax mini8 in April as a birthday present. I always find it really hard to use as I am always afraid I would make mistake all the time. Compared to digital you just click, click, click and hope that you would at least get one good shot. I think this is such a great guideline for polaroid beginner like me. I love how you let the kids experience it at this famous culture place of art! Thank you so much for linking up with us on #FabFridayPost Now I need to apply your guidelines to my instax mini8. 🙂 x
    Su {Ethan & Evelyn} recently posted…#ExplorerKids – Round Up #30My Profile

    1. Hey be brave go out and take a shot or two, but I think having a fixed number of shots really makes us appreciate the moment we’re in. Enjoy and I look forward to seeing some great pictures!

    1. Thank you, we loved the polaroid cameras – it’s such a brilliant idea, it really helped the kids think about what they were taking pictures of, and appreciate the art around them.

  2. This is such a great street art tour. Paris is one of the best places in the world for street art. They also celebrate it as professional art. I’ve been on an organised one in Berlin and loved it. In London, I conduct my own tours (including buggy ones)! You might like my I heart street art buggy tour post on the blog. Always on the look out for street art. It’s one of my “lucky things” Thanks Tooting Mama, love it.
    Sunita Harley recently posted…Inspire: Seven things I learned from Melanie CMy Profile

  3. This is brilliant I love how you an issued with a Polaroid camera, as you say it means that you are truly focusing on what pictures you are taking rather than taking millions of the same thing on a digital camera. Paris is a beautiful city, and you’ve captured another side to it, the edgier side. Thanks so much for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x
    The Pramshed recently posted…Our yearly trip to Center ParcsMy Profile

    1. Thanks for your comment. Paris is a hugely diverse city with many different communities, and far more interesting than the picture book image portrayed.

    1. Thank you. It such a great idea for a tour, to have an instant souvenir you have created. I loved watching my kids decide what to chose to photograph, and they really got into it. They were really keen not to waste the pictures, and started to create their own art, appearing with the street art.

  4. Really love your pictures. I haven’t been to Paris since having the kids but the way you’ve captured it is amazing! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday

    1. Awww, thank you! The kids really loved it. The street tour was a really good way of exploring a city, so worth doing.

  5. Thanks for sharing. If i get to visit Paris, I will sure sign up this walking tour. Also, I think it’s a brilliant way to keep the kids entertained on a Sunday afternoon, with just you alone! I wonder if I can find one in Singapore. #citytripping

    1. I am sure you can find a tour in Singapore. It was such a great way to keep the kids occupied for a couple of hours, and to have them snapping away getting into the whole photographer mode. Thanks for stopping by.

    1. Aww, thank you. You are right, sometimes we just need to slow down a little and just take in our surroundings, we miss so much as we dash about our daily business.

    1. The kids loved it, a big thrill waiting to watch there photos develop. It really made them stop and think about what pictures they wanted to take, and take in their surroundings rather than be snap happy and capture everything.

    1. It’s so easy not to spot, we see graffiti all the time, it’s only when someone tells you the story behind the art, we start to stop, see and really appreciate it. Next time you’re in Paris, come and check it out.

    1. The polaroid was great fun, brilliant for kids. There’s some brilliant things going on around Paris, it’s a great city to live in.

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