Monsieur Chat in Paris

Monsieur Chat, but what’s that ? People come to Paris to admire the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, its many historic buildings and… its GRAFFITI?!? Okay, maybe not this last one… 😉 But for cat-lovers like our TigrouMeow, it is a lovely pleasure to greet « Monsieur Chat » (more on him later). And we get a kick out of stumbling upon « Space Invader » mosaics and other artistic touches left by anonymous contributors on the walls of Paris. Below is St. Michael’s Fountain (La Fontaine de St. Michel) in the 5th arrondissement, facing the Seine River. Do you see a pair of eyes peering at you? Meooowwww! Maybe you won’t find it right away, but I’m guessing after you go through all the pictures, you will!

The following are various « trucs » we found in our neighborhood in the 13th arrondissement. Funny thing is that we noticed NONE of these before! Always focused on making it from point A to point B, it’s so easy to miss little details!

The « Mario » (or is it Luigi? 😳 ) is on the wall of this café very close to where we live. There are dozens (maybe over a hundred??) of mini-mosaics of classic arcade game characters, like Pac Man and Space Invaders, throughout the city. « Miss Tic » is also very prolific, but the picture is always the same, probably recreated with a cut-out. It’s a nice message, though, translating to « we will stay friends [chemin]. » « Chemin » means path in French and doesn’t make sense in the phrase…

Mario on corner of avenue de Choisy & rue Tolbiac; Miss Tic graces an apt building wall on the corner of avenue de Choisy

We’d read that the sole Monsieur Chat in the 13th was on this hanger 900m south of Gare Austerlitz. It is now covered with the word « Blind » and no trace of it is left. How dare these thugs cover our lovely M. Chat!

Is that from Pac Man? – Not so nice graffiti, grrrrr

Meowwww! Sightings of Monsieur Chat began in 2001 and till recently, his origins were not known. In March 2007, a Swiss-Orléanais, Thoma Vuille, was arrested while in the act! Though he got off with no jail time and a relatively measly fine of 300 euro, now that his identity is known, is this the end of Monsieur Chat? 😯 M. Chat had been quite the world traveler! He’s been spotted in cities all over France, in Europe, even in New York, Brazil and China! Were these all at the hands of T. Vuille, or perhaps some the work of copycats? 😉

On Île de la Cité, there are a few Monsieur Chat, such as these two off of Quai de l’Horloge, visible from Pont Neuf. The one in the foreground is almost all gone, while the background kitty has deteriorated a little. Meow… The one in Place Dauphine (visible coming from the pont) is still in excellent health!

Oh and as we were walking along the Seine, we saw this funny flyer posted by a visitor apparently upset by the lack of public toilets. Hmm didn’t s/he notice the Seine? J/K…… Well I hope he never visits New York! But fyi lots of cafés will let you use your toilet if you pay a euro or buy a drink.
Hmm... that's not polite.

One of the best areas to visit Monsieur Chat is rue Réaumur around metros Réaumur Sébastopol and Arts et Métiers. There are two at 105 and 111, bd Sébastopol (shown left & right).

Faded but still smiling!  M. Chat perches on his tail!

Funky entrance to metro Réaumur Sébastopol.

Down the street, Monsieur Chat sits pretty at 47, rue Réaumur. And around the corner (243, rue St Martin), this cool cat… (hmm how many more cat references can I come up with??)

Sitting, watching, waiting... M. Chat looks ready to pounce!

Further down rue Réaumur, we had an extra-special kitty treat! At the corner of rue Volta, an angelic Monsieur Chat smiles down at us (34?, rue Réaumur). He is large and pristine, and gave us such happiness to see him… the residents here are so lucky to have him! A couple doors down is another Monsieur Chat, well hidden… but we can still see the mischievous glint in his eyes!

Continuing east, we passed by many painted storefronts, a butcher, a market, and this cafe/bar.

Where’s the entrance?!?

While snapping the cafe above, we saw these two little guys on the same corner (rue Debelleyme). I think they’re cute, but Jordy doesn’t like them :neutral:.

In the 6th arrondissement, we passed by this portrait of Edith Piaf. Jordy asked me whether I saw the other image, and I thought he meant it was one of those two-images-in-one pictures, I’m really bad with these and I kept staring… and staring… but nooo, he meant the little Space Invaders mosaic at the bottom corner .

Edith Piaf

A glowing Edith Piaf … and a Space Invader (rue de Seine south of rue Jacobs)

Just to the north, we saw a pretty building wall with one of the Pac Man attacking monsters (dunno what it’s called) and just below the street sign, one of a ubiquitous type of vignette, but of what? We don’t know.

« Graffiti’d » names on shopfront (2 of 4) (rue de Seine / rue Jacques Callot)

On rue de Seine, we passed by this gallery below. Who is this guy? At the exit of metro Cour St. Emilion, a small copy of the same image is pasted in a random (but very visible) spot next to the escalator near to the ground. The guy is totally ordinary-looking and reminds me of Daniel Radcliffe (just a tiny bit, k?). There was no one in the gallery so mystery unsolved… Btw the translation of the phrases below are « you are not of wood » and « no, i have the mouth of [wood]. » The second is a play of words as to have « la gueule de bois » is an idiomatic expression for a hang-over. Hey I learned something useful in France :mrgreen: !

Hope he’s not the artist… cut-out design pasted next to gallery

At the National School of Fine Arts (École des Beaux Arts) on rue Bonaparte hangs this framed portrait of Monsieur Chat. In spite of hanging low enough to be accessible, he has been left undisturbed over the years for all to appreciate! Miaow !

… Did you find Monsieur Chat in the first photo 🙂 ?