When you hear the word, “squatters”, you likely think of people occupying an uninhabited, abandoned building. What you probably would not realize is that there is a “squat” that has become quite famous in the city of Paris. Initially occupied by 3 squatting artists in 1999, six years later the city bought the property at 59 rue de Rivoli, which is just down the street from the Louvre museum. Since 2009, 59 Rivoli provides studios for artists in Paris—-permanent artists, visiting artists, and performances—-legally.
While the street, rue de Rivoli, is primarily occupied by clothing and shoe stores, the front facade of 59 Rivoli certainly stands out. Entrance to the “after squat” is free and it is the graffiti that first hits you. Very colourful. Very creative. The designs permeate every square inch of the interior including the staircase and the ceiling. The hardwood floors, however, have remained intact.
59 RIvoli is open 6 days a week to the public, free of charge. The ground floor houses the performance and exhibition areas and the upper floors are the studios and galleries for the artists. There are 20 permanent artists and 10 artists who are in temporary residence for 3-6 months. “59 Rivoli” provides studios for artists so they only work on site and do not live at 59 Rivoli.
An eclectic range of concerts take place every Saturday and Sunday at 6:00 pm. between September and June and the art exhibitions run for only a couple of weeks; however, there are constantly new ones.
The studio space is tight at this artist collective. On each of the six floors there are 4 or 5 artists working and displaying their work which is often for sale.
Rue de Rivoli is a popular street and at some time you’ll likely be walking down or past it as the Hotel de Ville is just to the east and Ile de la Cité is just south of here. Drop and and have a peek at what could be the next trend in art.
59 Rivoli: http://www.59rivoli.org
Open: Tuesday-Sunday 1-8 pm September to June
Nearest Metro: Châtelet (lines 1, 7, 4) or RER (lines A, B, E)