Emerging from the metro at Place d’Italie in the southern part of the city does not inspire: huge buildings, a confusing traffic circle and a fast food restaurant or two. But the contrast, just a few blocks away, with the little village of Butte-aux-Cailles always delights, reminding me how much can change and be discovered within a street or two in this city.
Flying over a pedestrian street not far from the metro, a chalk bird has been serenaded by a leaping flute player for a few years.
The bird artist, Philippe Baudelocque, draws beautiful animals and his menagerie appears in several spots around the city.
Recently joining the party, two happy pink elephants with impressive balance play double dutch with the flute player.
Nearby, a Baudelocque hippo calmly gazes over a small courtyard. Walls throughout the neighborhood are canvases for other artists’ work, making it a great area for street art treasure hunts. And an apéro at one of the cafés.
Passage du Moulin des Pres, 13th (bird). Hippo is a few blocks away down a pedestrian alley.