We arrived at the 10-story-concrete building to find a line of people crawling around the block. At first glance it looked like a regular worn down building, but then we started to uncover the art. Giant globs of orange paint dripping down from the roof, detailed graffiti on every wall, anything but the work of amateurs.
I've been in love with street art since I was a teenager spray painting blocks of wood in our backyard and covering all of my binders with Sharpie scrawls. After two friends recommended it to me, it was hard to turn down the idea of seeing "Tour Paris 13", the largest collective street art exhibition with a limited life span.
The Galerie Itinerrance gained use of the building before its demolition in 2014 and invited 80 artists from all over the world to decorate the 36 apartments inside and all of the walls outside. The building now has more than 4500 square meters of street art inside and out.
It was the most impressive exhibit I've ever visited and was more than worth the three hour wait. Every room was covered head to toe in art, each with a completely different style. I've never been so inspired by so many pieces in one space. We took the stairs floor to floor, gasping in some rooms, laughing in others, taking as many pictures as we could to capture what will be destroyed at the end of the month. While it was heartbreaking to think it will be soon be torn down, it also made the experience that much more exciting.
If you are in Paris, Tour Paris 13 is free and due to run throughout October until demolition day. You can also take a tour online here.