Très street art--watch your step
"Even so, Versailles is the only place where I've ever seen a fleur-de-lys stenciled as graffiti," I said at a morning coffee with French friends when the conversation turned to graffiti and tagging.
"Oh, that must have been my crazy cousin!" exclaimed one of the ladies.
"Really? How old is he?"
"Forty-five! He's a die-hard Royalist."
The next time I went out, I looked for the neatly spray-painted emblem of the French monarchy, but it had already gone the way of other graffiti and tags in Versailles, which are quickly removed by a city crew.
For the past couple of years, however, another genre of graffiti in Versailles has had longer staying power. Unobtrusive, and even beguiling, are fluid quick studies of human figures that an anonymous artist has painted on pedestrian markings. The artist probably executed the works dribbling paint from a squeeze bottle, sometimes adding whimsical captions.
The pedestrian markings do get repainted from time to time and the streets repaved as a part of regular maintenance, but this hasn't deterred our local street artist; it's only provided him with fresh surfaces to work on. Engaging and non-aggressive, the charming, ephemeral figures fit the genteel mood of this very livable city and have transformed a simple walk around town into an amusing photo op adventure.
Text & photos ©2009 P.B. Lecron