Here are a few trail markers to help you get oriented.
A self-guided walking tour you can do any day
• Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes, as there are steps and stairways on this tour.
• Duration: one hour, not including visits to exhibits or dining locations.
Welcome to La Friche! This urban cultural project was created in 1992. The site is open 365 days a year. With 100,000 square meters to explore, we hope you’ll feel free to wander as you please.
Please note that this tour does not include the rooftop, which may only be accessed by visitors with a ticket to the exhibitions!
On your left as you enter, you’ll find a display of the day’s events, as well as a map. Our team is ready to give you all the information you need about what’s going on at La Friche!
Grab a coffee and croissant, or something a little more substantial, at Café La Salle des Machines (“The Machine Room”). Find a seat in the spacious interior, or at a picnic table outside. And don’t forget to say “bonjour” to Eric or Momo at the counter!
From Cour Jobin, you can visit the Playground and Skatepark. The Skatepark is home to the mural “Skateboarding Is Not a Crime,” by Lionel Scoscimmaro; just a little farther, on the wall facing the railway tracks, are the eyes created by the photographer JR for the project Inside Out.
If you look up, you’ll see the Panorama, a white, cubical building constructed in 2013 by Matthieu Poitevin. It holds contemporary art exhibitions.
Playground and Skatepark: These areas are free and open to the public. Borrow a basketball or skateboard and get practicing!
At the rear of the courtyard, take the red staircase (“Escalier Rouge”) up two flights. As you climb, notice the words painted on the stair risers by the artist Gérard Paris-Clavel. These words were collected from the vocabularies of people who work at La Friche: pétouille (typographic flaw), girafe (boom microphone), ohm…
Once you’ve reached the second floor, swing by Pakito Bolino’s Dernier Cri printing studio, where the master of the house is often present to greet you, with exhibits and silkscreen prints to boot.
As you continue along the red path, you’ll notice more words painted by Gérard Paris-Clavel: hors-champ (off-camera), contre-pied (off balance). Finally, you’ll arrive at the restaurant Les Grandes Tables de la Friche.
Notice the walls by Pierre Gattoni, as well and the space and light fixtures designed by Matthieu Poitevin. Come here for lunch, coffee, or a drink all day long, and for dinner on weekends. Every Monday evening at 5:00, there’s a farmers market, as well as frequent concerts and performances.
Come out onto the Place des Quais, where you can catch some rays on a lounge chair (at the far end, on the right), play pétanque (borrow a set of boules at the ticket and reception desk), have a picnic, read a book, or just daydream. You can even have a barbecue! Take some time to linger in the gardens: La Belle Friche des Quais showcases the flora growing on railroad wildlands (known as friches), which have been replanted at La Friche. At the far end of the the site you’ll find community gardens that change with the seasons; the plots are tended collectively. If you’ve come with children, continue beyond the gardens, where you’ll find Le Wagon-jeux (the “game-car”), a playground designed by the architectural collective Encore Heureux. Neighborhood kids love this repurposed train car, complete with a double slide.
Follow the red path down Rue de la Manufacture, and underneath a peculiar round structure on skinny legs: the Module (this is the most recent construction at La Friche, and it houses the music studio for GMEM, the National Center for Musical Creation). Just beyond, you can see Les Manufactures, the workspaces for “Frichistes.” At the end, on the left, you’ll find the covered walkway (yes, it’s a bit dark) that leads back to square one, Cour Jobin.
You’ve finished your free tour of La Friche, but why not stay for an exhibit or performance?