Château de Goussainville

Goussainville: graffiti in the Old Town district

Vestiges of an ancient village, the Old Town of Goussainville, in Val-d’Oise French department, is an enclave in the middle of the suburbs. A sort of hybrid urban and rural cluster, with old abandoned houses covered with graffiti.

Vestiges of an ancient village, the Old Town of Goussainville, in Val-d’Oise French department, is an enclave in the middle of the suburbs. A sort of hybrid urban and rural cluster, with old abandoned houses covered with graffiti.

Actually, the place hasn’t been completely deserted. The Old Country is similar to what was originally supposed to be a village, but which the city has taken over by incorporating it into its suburbs. Goussainville developed and this area became a little marginalized. In the 1960s, its proximity to Roissy-Charles de Gaulles airport caused some of its inhabitants to flee, leaving behind them empty houses, now in ruins and covered by nature.

To get there, we stopped at the Goussainville Station on the RER D. We walked for about twenty minutes along a commercial area to reach, completely unexpectedly, the corner of rue Brulée, the entrance to the old village. This road with a very evocative name is the only segment of the hamlet that is really in a state of ruin. For the sake of anecdote, I read that this name was often attributed to places that had been destroyed by fire in the past. Besides, the atmosphere is not gloomy, it has a certain charm. You can appreciate the graffiti on the street facades.

In this area, all but one of the houses have been walled up. Planted in front of the gate, which was greenened by the oxidation of zinc, we finally decide to push the door open and cross the nettle forest in the garden to enter the house. The ground floor is very dark but we manage to make out a few stencils. Upstairs, the light coming in through the broken windows allows us to discover the walls of the first floor entirely covered with spray cans by the graffiti artists. Here are some pictures!

After that, we started looking for the old castle of the city. What is left of it is located a little further on the main street, in the municipal park. Unfortunately, the roof has collapsed and barricades are closing the access. To get closer, we went through them, but a few minutes later a police patrol spotted our presence and escorted us to the exit.

This little adventure is for me the opportunity to address the question of urbex (from English urban explorations). It consists in visiting abandoned and, a priori, inaccessible places. Street-art is intimately linked to this practice for its vandal side as much as for urban exploration, which essentially embodies the game of graffiti: to mark one’s territory or where one is passing through! These are great places of freedom and experimentation for graffiti artists. It is also seen as a form of alternative tourism that more and more adventurers are indulging in.

However, this activity is illegal and dangerous. In this excursion to Goussainville, we didn’t really take any risk, even if in truth the ground could have collapsed under our feet. What is certain is that the police could have really punished us (and not simply escorted us as was the case).

That’s it for the little getaway! We discovered this place thanks to a recent article published on Le Bonbon. Feel free to read it if you would like more information about the history of the village. Another resource here!

Our photographs were taken by the talented Manon Descamps, thank you for supporting her work ♥


If you search on Google or Youtube, you will find an infinite number of resources on urbex. Here are some of the links I found interesting:

– An article on the Mausoleum, a must-see spot for graffiti and urbex.

– The instagram account of the artist Rone who paints frescoes in abandoned places. A short article that presents his approach.

– The platform of the photographer Thomas Jorion. A very artistic look at abandoned places around the world and an essential work of history and memory.

– A Youtube video of Mamytwink at the castle of Villers-Cotterêts, a place that is very close to my heart personally.

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