It is precisely in this forgotten part in the heart of France that a globally unique sight should be found? And yet it is exactly like that. Anyone driving towards Lurcy-Lévis from the D978A road will notice a strange circular course on the right. We think we’re already there when it becomes clear: No, this is a cycling stadium that is more than 100 years old. Open-mindedness for new things is nothing new in this town.
Get around town with car rental services. In our visit to Norway, car rental (Leiebilnord.no) helped us reach places with a minimal fee.
“Street Art City”
In the place itself, there is initially little evidence of anything spectacular. This Lurcy-Lévis is a cozy French provincial town with small houses and rows of trees in front of it. Everything seems somehow sleepy. Only a small sign shows the way. “Street Art City” is written in English, although the French all too often see English as a danger to their culture and language. We want to go there. Two kilometers outside the city there is another sign, whereby in France everything is a city that has more than 1500 inhabitants. It goes right onto a freshly paved road that cannot withstand oncoming traffic, it is so narrow.
And then our navigation system speaks in a tinny voice: “You have reached your destination.” A white town sign with a red border, as is customary in France, reads Street Art City. Apparently, there is a particularly active mayor at the start.
We have arrived in a modern fairytale world, 22,000 square meters in size. A young lady welcomes us cheerfully at the gate as if she had been waiting for us a long time ago. Which is also true. Sophie and Boyke had called and announced we were coming. The German guests are warmly welcomed.
Street artists from all over the world were invited to come to Lurcy-Lévis for room and board. And they came: from the USA, Argentina, Japan, Colombia, Peru, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, England, Denmark, Russia, Germany and of course France, where street art is particularly well regarded. From March to August, the artists have been coming to this remote area with their paint buckets and spray cans for three years now and inspire each other.
No less than 80 artists have found their way here in these three years and immortalized themselves with some unique works. Ugly concrete facades, as they are common in dreary French satellite towns, now create a contrast of colors and shapes. For those who have previously only been graffiti or damage to property, they will be amazed.
True street art masters were at work here
True masters were and are at work here. The Greek Simpleg, for example, took a cell phone photo of a steam locomotive as a template, painted a man with a hat and cigarette with a huge hand, and threw it all on a house wall in nine hours to create his massive picture “Arrival at the station”.
Or the Argentine Caro Pepe. He painted two women’s faces on a wall, each with a huge eye. One eye is blinded in every portrait: sometimes left, sometimes right. The artist even took a climbing plant into consideration, which he practically built into his work.
And the next wall of the house is amazing again. A huge woman’s face with colorful patterns on the face stares at the viewer. It is the work of the French Snake – an extraordinary work. Hardly any less breathtaking is the multi-story work by the German Costwo from 2017: La Belle et la Bête, Beauty and the Beast.