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Illegal Paris

Starts at:

Lapin Agile Cabaret, 22 rue des Saules (nearest Metro station Lamarck Caulaincourt) Montmartre


60 minutes

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Forget about the romantic past of Montmartre. On this walk, you will explore the rebellious and contemporary side of the hill. Radio producer Jeanne Robet will lead you through a world of the fringe economy. Our journey will make you think about the way we use public space, as you witness how Paris’s strict laws, ranging from comical bureaucratic regulations to controversial laws to meaningful restrictions on darker vices, play out in the streets. You’ll meditate on how we choose what we show and what we hide in public, what we condone, and what we punish.

You will first climb the hill of Montmartre among the tourists, and then walk down to La Goutte d'Or district with a large population of African immigrants. You will meet a grumpy painter, Barry Black the Goulou-Goulou, the Cowboy and his illegal flyers, a pickpocket and other lawbreakers and observers, including the police commander of the whole district. You will search for Eiffel Tower miniatures and stocks of contraband cigarettes, salute a crew of fresh fowl, and remember how beautiful an Imam can sound. Hopefully after this walk, you will feel just as comfortable downhill in the vibrant chaos of illicit activities, as uphill in the polished postcard.

Tips & Hours

  • Begin this Detour between 10am - 6pm during summer and between 11am - 4pm in the winter. Avoid Mondays and rainy days and don't take the tour at night. Weekends are very crowded, but good also days to experience this Detour.

  • This Detour is recommended for ages 16 and up.

  • Be aware of pickpockets and keep your phone in a safe place.

  • This is an energetic walk. There is one hill to climb and a long flight of stairs.