France: Rue Cavalotti- a walk down (Belle Epoque) Memory Lane in Paris

A museum that's only open when all the others are closed: this odd little street has taken Belle Epoque posters and turned them into street art.

Why visit?
Because it's pretty quirky. Right next door is Montmartre, made famous at the end of the 19th century by its bohemian lifestyle and artists, glorified in films like Moulin Rouge and the opera La Bohème.

And here, in this dull little street, these glory days are brought back to life by posters that hark back to these heady days.

And this Sight has had so little publicity, there's only one article in English we could find online (and just a handful in French). So let us take you for a walk down this memory lane...

In the 18th Arrondissement of Paris, right around the corner from the Moulin Rouge and Place de Clichy. Map.

IT ONLY MAKES sense to visit Rue Cavalotti when everything else is closed. Why? Because the the canvasses used by the artists here are actually the shutters of the local shops. So come during the day, and you won't see much. But come at night, or on a Sunday, and you'll suddenly find this street transformed into an open-air gallery.
Rue Cavalotti- a run-of-the-mill Parisian street.
Rue Cavalotti is fairly unremarkable by Parisian standards. A typical bourgeois street, built between 1897 and 1900, following the standard regimen of post-Haussmannian architecture. There are streets like this all over Paris. The architect,  a certain Henri Cambon, has a fair number of buildings to his name in the 18th, none of which are remarkable. He proudly had his name carved in practically every house in Rue Cavalotti.
Henri C. was here.
It took more than a century for Rue Cavalotti to find its groove- which happened in 2011.

There had been street art here before. But it was badly damaged, and in 2011 a group of artists started a project, subsidized by the City (that's your tax Euro at work!) to beautify the street with a new series of artworks.

This being the edge of Montmartre, these works would glorify the Belle Epoque, the end of the 19th century when Rue Cavalotti was built, and the Moulin Rouge and other establishments were in full swing, giving Montmartre its reputation as a center of bohemian creativity and excess. (A scene that has long been erased by armies of flag-following tour groups and, horrors of horrors, a mini tourist train.)
You may recognise some of these posters- they are old advertisements for some of the most (in)famous bohemian hang-outs, like Le Chat Noir and of course the infamous Moulin Rouge. The kind of places where Henri Toulouse-Lautrec used to let his hair down. 
Come visit if you can-can!
One of the posters is actually for the public baths- apparently, even bohemians had to have a shower every once in a while (something their shabby housing of course lacked). 
Fully clothed, fully modest. 

Getting there:
The easiest would be to ride the metro to Place de Clichy. As you exit you will see a big ugly block housing a Flunch and a Castorama. Just to the left of this concrete monstrosity you will find Rue Forest, which quickly turns into Rue Cavalotti. 

As said, it's no fun exploring here during working hours: come after 7 pm or at the weekend. 

Useful links:
There's not a lot of information online. When the project started, in 2011, Le Parisien had a short article


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Have you been here? Or are you planning to go? Either way, we would love to hear about it.