Walking the streets of Paris is one of the pleasures of being in this beautiful city. The French have a word for this wandering aimlessly with no particular destination in mind; it’s called “flâner”. One fun thing to do while you’re taking a stroll through the streets of Paris is to keep your eyes open for Mr. Chat. He’s this wonderful fat yellow cat that appears in some of the most out of the way places imaginable.
This chubby feline with an infectious Cheshire smile began to mysteriously appear on walls in Orléans around 2001 and soon afterwards in Paris. Mr. Chat was typical of what cats are known for, being independent, agile, and able to climb. And climb he did! To the top of rooftops throughout Paris. One day he wasn’t there, and the next, he would be smiling at you. Parisians and tourists were intrigued to say the least.
So who was this graffiti artist and how did he manage to draw Mr. Chat without being seen and having the abilities we attribute to Spiderman and other super-heroes? And how did Mr. Chat start appearing throughout other European cities, and as far away as South America and Asia? As a matter of fact, Mr. Chat has made an appearance on every continent except Africa! Is it his angel wings he sometimes has that makes him fly? Is he a super-cat?
A documentary film by Chris Marker called “Chats Perchés”, (English title; “The Case of the Grinning Cat”) came out in 2004 and was shown at the Pompidou Center in Paris. The artist, however, was still an enigma and wanted to keep it that way. Thoma Vuille from Orléans, or Monsieur Chat, gave up his anonymity in March of this year when a confrontation with police while painting finally brought him into the public eye. Ow….or should I say, “meow”!
Photo Credits: Flickr