Urban Sketching On The Streets Of Paris

Paris is the perfect place for urban sketching. Often admired as one of Europe’s most beautiful and romantic cities, or argued as an overrated and overcrowded urban jungle, there’s no denying that the streets of Paris make for compelling artistic subject matter.

Haussmann buildings

The cobblestone alleys, street lamps, quays, Haussmannian buildings, and grand monuments make for perfect subject matter for an artist walking the streets. Meanwhile, modern designs, street art and even underground locales leave plenty more to be discovered for an urban sketcher.

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Some of Paris’ most charming sights are shop fronts, banners and signs, and windows of French businesses.

Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris

Shakespeare and Company is one of Paris’ most iconic English-language bookshops, not far from Notre Dame.

Julien Aurouze and Co Pest Control, featured in Pixar’s Ratatouille

Famed for its inclusion in Pixar’s iconic film Ratatouille, Julien Aurouze and Co Pest Control is a real pest control shop, with real rats which have been on display for decades.

Sundial street art by Salvador Dali

Some simple street art in Paris is more than meets the eye. In this work, we see an original piece by Salvador Dali, a small sundial.

La Maison Du Miel – Honey shop in Paris

La Maison du Miel is a shop that sells honey, much of it collected from beehives located on rooftops around Paris.

Boulangerie St Louis – For great French cakes and pastries

The quintessential Parisian store front might be the humble boulangerie, serving baguettes, croissants and cakes.

There are plenty more opportunities to capture the energy of Paris beneath the streets. Far from being just a sprawling transport system, the Paris Metro has some beautifully designed metro stations to marvel at.

Liége Metro Station

Liege metro station is decorated with murals that celebrate the Belgian city of the same name.

Cadet Metro station

Cadet metro station has a huge American flag imprinted into the walls with colourful tiles.

The steampunk-inspired Arts et Metiers Metro station

Arts et Metiers has a wonderful steampunk look, with bronze walls and fittings.

Of course, Paris is famed for its elegant and monumental landmarks, which represent important points in the city’s history, cultural touchstones, and architectural masterpieces.

Le Palais Garnier in Opèra

Le Palais Garnier is the number one place to attend an Opera in Paris.

Hotel de Sens, with a cannonball lodged in its brickwork

The Hotel de Sens has a curious item up high, a cannonball lodged in the facade.

The Eiffel Tower at night

Drawing the Eiffel Tower at night produces some wonderful colours.

Paris is full of unusual sights too, many of which can be discovered just by walking around the streets.

Passage through a building, Coulée verte René-Dumont (Promenade Plantée)

A passageway passing straight through a building, cut in half.

Sculptural work in Porte Dorée

This red statue decorated the garden of the Porte Dorée aquarium.

The carousel of extinct and endangered animals in Paris

A closer look shows this carousel depicting extinct and endangered animals.

Viaduc des Arts

Archways like this show some of the street level beauty of Paris.

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Paris is a never-ending source of inspiration for urban sketchers, aiming to capture the spirit of this great city on paper. While my sketches just scratch the surface of some of my favourite locations, I will continue to visit Paris to be inspired for many years to come.

8 thoughts on “Urban Sketching On The Streets Of Paris

  1. Nice sketch tour of Paris, your description of either love or dislike is quite accurate as that is what I hear as well. We have been to Paris quite a few times, in fact will be going there tomorrow. Currently we are living in Normandy and as we discovered long ago there are two French experiences, Paris and then all the rest, both are completely wonderful. Thanks for the sketches, and the memories.

  2. Wow you’re so talented. Wish I could draw this well. Brings back great memories of Paris, from a trip I took more than a decade ago.

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