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Hello, I’m Anna. Enchantée! I’ve been charged with the unique responsibility of knowing Paris inside out and handing you the captivating details. I go where chance takes me – from futuristic skyscrapers to time forsaken curiosity cabinets… Adventures and discoveries are my specialty!  So, get ready! On today’s agenda: one entire street, bathed in art…

Rue Cavallotti - Artisans du film

Rue Cavallotti – Artisans du film

Well, here we are. Meet rue Cavallotti. Birthdate: 1897. Width: 120m. Length: 12m. These measures officially make it the smallest open-air art museum in Paris!

Rue cavallotti epicerie

A workaday street during the day, rue Cavallotti begins its second life after dusk… It’s when the shops roll their heavy iron shutters, that this narrow street really comes alive! All beautified by vivid paintings (old-time commercials), the images on the stores’ shutters act together to constitute a walk through Parisian history. Moulin Rouge, the public baths, the famous theatre Cigale, they’re all there…

Rue Cavallotti - Moulin de la Galette

Rue Cavallotti – Moulin de la Galette

The history behind this curious art project is just as noteworthy. For years, the merchants on rue Cavallotti saw nothing beyond their grim grey shutters. Until one day, two young artists actually did. Canvasses! Inspiring, permanent canvasses! Despite grabbed by the idea, none of the merchants could actually afford the street’s “complete makeover”. So the artists petitioned the city of Paris, winning most of the financing, then a paint company donated the materials… et voilà!  Drab old rue Cavallotti became the “Gallery of Art of the Open Sky”!

Rue Cavallotti - Place Clichy

Rue Cavallotti – Place Clichy

Today each painting matches the unique personality of the store behind. They’re all like beautiful hand-drawn business cards, inviting you to drop by and celebrate life sometime during shopping hours.  There’s a painting each for the florist, the pharmacist, the fruit vendor, the baker, the restaurant owner…

However, if you want to pay a visit to this unlikely museum, don’t waste your time coming here during the day. Because, as a common rule of thumb, if the shops are open, “the museum” is closed! So wait for the “happy hour”, pass by in the evenings or wait for the weekend, when all stores are asleep and the area allows for thorough and peaceful examination.

rue Cavallotti - La Cigale

rue Cavallotti – La Cigale

Rue Cavallotti is the best open book of Paris, because there all the history is written down in colourful paint. Once you’ve seen it, you can also prolong your trip to the nearby Montmartre cemetery. But this charming steep street is just as pleasant to get lost in on its own…

How to get there : Metro line 13 / metro station: La Fourche

Metro line: 2, 13 / metro station: Place de Clichy

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