World In Paris
Travel Inspiration

Underground, Fresh Street Art (@ les Frigos)

This is maybe the only time in my life when I wished I had smoked something before visiting a new place, les Frigos is such an underground, surrealistic place!

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Here is the story: in 1914-18 Paris woke up from the Big War and it was time to provide Les Halles market with fresh products. Built in 1921 Les Entrepôts Frigorifiques de Paris-Ivry, better known as les Frigos (the Fridges), was a huge hangar with many refrigerated rooms used to stock all the products transported by SNCF from the countryside to Paris. With its 18.000m3 of capacity, these refrigerated rooms could stock up to 6.000 tons of frozen meat.

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In the sixties the Halles Market disappeared and les Frigos stopped their activity being abandoned soon after.

In  1980 the SNCF (the French National railway company), les Frigos’ owners since 1945, decided to rent out parts of the warehouse to artisans and artists (some of them were already squatting here) and les Frigos was transformed into some sort of artists’ mothership, taken under the wing of the Paris Rive Gauche program.

Today Les Frigos hosts 87 workshops bringing together 14 different professions: painters, sculptors, photographers, architects share their everyday life in a very special atmosphere.

This place can be visited every day to buy the artists’ production but once a year, normally by the end of May, les Frigos organise an Open Doors weekend where visitors can enjoy dozens of exhibitions, small concerts and much more.

In May 2016 World in Paris finally decided to visit Les Frigos and, well armed with our cameras, we started the exploration of this intriguing place.

At first sight les Frigos is not very appealing: it is an ugly concrete construction, a kind of haunted place not very welcoming.

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The walls are super thick to keep the cold. On workshops and corridors we still can see some remains of its former use but full of Street Art.

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The journey into Les Frigos begins – and ends – with its winding stairwell where every possible surface is covered in paint. These stairs, les Frigos’ old water tank, are the only way to get to the other four floors. Each floor takes you on an expedition into the unknown, every studio is a cave of surprises.

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Apart from visiting the artists workshops, there were many mini events to entertain the public. We LOVED this small improvised poetry-concerts for example.

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Some of our favourite works:

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XIIIth Arrondissement. 19 rue des Frigos, M. Bibliothèque F. Mitterrand L14. Entrance free.

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    paper writing service
    06/16/2017 at 8:02 am

    Unfortunately I do not understand such art, because I am much closer to the classics and the Renaissance.

  • Reply
    Chelsea Brady
    07/25/2016 at 8:08 pm

    Paris has both old and hipster art exhibits to see. So excited to visit again!

  • Reply
    Carmen's Luxury Travel
    07/13/2016 at 5:52 pm

    So cool! I would totally visit. Great pictures, thanks for sharing. Happy travels 🙂

  • Reply
    Izzy
    07/12/2016 at 7:12 am

    I am always trying to scope out the best street art around the world so to have come across this post feels like a real treat! I have never heard about this place but then again, it is an underground haunt. I love how this hangar has been repurposed for the modern-era. It’s amazing to see this place being used as a communal studio space. I pinned this and can’t wait to see it in person some day!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      07/13/2016 at 11:48 am

      Thanks Rebecca! If you like underground art you definitely have to visit this place 😉

  • Reply
    Claire
    07/11/2016 at 7:55 pm

    Wow, the artwork is erm interesting… aha! Never knew that this was in Paris!

  • Reply
    Paul
    07/11/2016 at 7:29 pm

    This places looks so weird and wonderful. Would definitely love to explore here. Reminds me slightly of Metelkova in Slovenia!

  • Reply
    Jessica
    07/11/2016 at 2:47 pm

    Wow! That was full of arts and unique creations. Les Frigos is something a visitor should not missed.

  • Reply
    Kerri
    07/11/2016 at 10:56 am

    This is really interesting Elisa and yet another example of how you can keep on visiting Paris and still find more cool things to see and do.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      07/13/2016 at 11:49 am

      Yep! Hope to have you back here soon 🙂

  • Reply
    Ashleigh Cattermole-Crump
    07/10/2016 at 1:42 am

    woah, interesting street art there! I love checking out street art when i visit a new city, give a completely new perspective!

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    07/10/2016 at 1:34 am

    Very eclectic. I think I would like the poetry-concert. But the doll in pieces? Not sure about that one. 🙂 It’s great that the turned an old building like that into a place for people to express their art.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      07/13/2016 at 11:50 am

      Yeah some artworks were weird weird weird . . .

  • Reply
    Kaylene
    07/09/2016 at 11:12 pm

    Wow, this looks like such an interesting place to explore! It’s amazing what’s all inside this building!

  • Reply
    Tom
    07/09/2016 at 10:26 pm

    I’m heading to Paris in two weeks, and I’m absolutely checking this place out. Great share.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      07/13/2016 at 11:50 am

      Cool, Tom! 🙂

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