If you find yourself walking through Paris one day, be sure to look closely at the buildings around you. Yes, they are beautiful, but they are also home to a vibrant culture of street art. Countless urban artists work in every neighbourhood of Paris, decorating the city with murals, paintings, and sculptures. One of these artists has been working in Paris for over 20 years, and today he is famous all over the world. He goes by the name of Invader, and his pieces, known as space invaders, are some of the most recognizable in the city. Have you found one of the space invaders of Paris yet?
Invader began working in Paris in the late 1990s, installing tile mosaics on the sides of buildings in the shape of space invaders from the vintage video game. The tiles give the pieces their distinctive 8-bit pixelated look, but before long, Invader was branching out into other designs from pop culture. Recent works have included characters from Star Wars, Marvel comics, and Super Mario Bros. He also began expanding his canvas beyond Paris. To date, Invader has installed mosaics in over 70 cities in over 30 different countries, but the majority of his pieces can still be found right here in Paris. There’s over 1,400 of them just waiting to be found.
The next time you’re visiting Paris, keep an eye out for space invaders as you roam the streets. If you want to take it a step further, there’s an app you can download to keep track of the ones you find. Each space invader is worth points, and you get bonus points for each new city in which you find one. Full disclosure, I now check online before I visit any new city to see if I should be on the lookout for space invaders while I’m there.
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While most space invaders of Paris are located on the sides of buildings, they can also be found on fences, overpasses, and city statues. They could be anywhere! Just be sure to keep their location a secret once you’ve found one. Invader has become so popular over the years that his pieces are often a target for thieves. As a result, people have taken to concealing the whereabouts of space invaders when posting about them online. This can be seen in the photo above with the street name blocked out. I encourage you to do the same.
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Laura Moore is a professional storyteller who loves history and the many stories that make Paris one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Join one of her signature tours to learn the story of a city.