Street art might not be one of the first things you’d associate with Marseille, a port city in the south of France, but I have to say that the local street art scene is very impressive!

When I visited the south of France last year, our host kindly took us out to Marseille for the day. We ended up in the bohemian Cours Julien district, a very laid-back area where you can find plenty of bars, restaurants, curious little shops and indeed a wild collection of street art.

I noticed there was a great amount of stencil art and was excited to find some by French artist C215 among them. In the feature image at the top of this post you see a building that’s been entirely taken over by the crazy Monsieur Chat, also known as M. Chat. The maker of these grinning cats is Swiss-French artist Thoma Vuille who’s been painting them since 1997. In 2004 artist and film maker Chris Marker took the iconic symbol for his 2004 documentary The Case of the Grinning Cat.

Marseille street art

Stencil art

As I mentioned in the introduction, I noticed there was especially a significant amount of stencil art. I’m not sure what the reason for this would be. Perhaps there are just a lot of French stencil artists? Or perhaps it’s the fast nature of stencilling that makes it more appealling and convenient for artists to paint on the walls? Whatever the reason is, I was happy to discover works by the world-famous French stencil artist C215, also known by his real name Christian Guémy. Unfortunately some of his works were covered in graffiti, but here are some photos of the best conserved pieces.

C215 Marseille street art stencil art

Besides works by C215, I was extremely pleased to find work by Italian artist Alice Pasquini (below, on the right) , who’s so famous she only needs to add her first name as a tag. I was having a discussion with a friend about the works by C215 and Alice and that I sometimes have problems distinguishing between these two artists. He told me that in fact C215 used to be Alice’s mentor. I’m not sure if this is entirely true, but it does make sense if you look at their work.

To the left of the dog by Alice, you see a portrait of Julian Assange by Mahn Kloix.

stencil art Marseille street art

Variety of media and styles

It’s pretty interesting to see such a great variety of media artists use in the Marseille street art scene. Besides stencil art, I saw a bunch of stickers, spray-painted tags and murals, but also found material such as the mannequin you see being devoured in the photo below. Or the Mexican Day of the Dead-style mask next to it. Not only do artists employ different materials, they also each have their own amazing style as you can see in the photos I selected for this post.

Marseille street art

Sarti Mahn Gutan Marseille street art
Colourful figures by Sarti, Mahn and Gütan. Why is there always a car parked right in front of a great piece?!?
pencil drawing Marseille street art
Elaborate drawing of wonky buildings, echoing Escher in a way
Walter White Breaking Bad Marseille street art
There’s also space for popular culture. Here you see a portrait of Walter White, celebrity meth chef

King Without a Crown Marseille street art

Rue Bussy L'Indien Marseille street art

In this post I only shared a fraction of my Marseille street art photos with you. If you want to see more, I recommend a visit to Cours Julien and its surrounding streets. Have fun!

Have you ever been to Marseille? Did you get the chance to see some of the amazing local street art? Share your experiences/thoughts in a comment below!
Thanks, Zarina xx

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