James Gulliver Hancock: An Architecture Tour of Paris

Drawing all the buildings in Paris was the mission impossible accepted by illustrator James Gulliver Hancock as a pretext to wandering through the city and taking in its architecture. From famous monuments to atypical façades and forgotten alleyways, some 100 drawings are now available in a new book, All the Buildings in Paris: That I’ve Drawn So Far, republished this week by Rizzoli.
All images: © James Gulliver Hancock/Courtesy of Rizzoli

After the success of his books on Sydney, Melbourne, London, and New York, James Gulliver Hancock has turned to Paris. A residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts gave the Australian illustrator the chance to observe the French capital without acting like a tourist. “I didn’t want to just wander around taking photos and eating chocolate croissants wishing I’d grown up hanging out in cafés with Jean-Paul Sartre or Picasso,” he said. “Drawing each experience of place I have in a city […] makes me stop and look and really take it all in.”


His meanderings lead him from the Place des Vosges to the Fondation Louis Vuitton designed by architect Frank Gehry, as well as to the Moulin de la Galette and the American bookshop Shakespeare and Company. Must-see monuments are featured alongside little-known façades; the artist’s fluid, seemingly childlike lines take us from the Louvre pyramid to the bottle-green storefront of Maison Aurouze, “inventor of the mousetrap” and “rat extermination specialist since 1872” at 8 Rue des Halles in the first arrondissement.

The region around central Paris is also showcased. James Gulliver Hancock fills the last pages of the book with illustrations of the nearby suburbs, including Nanterre and the Grande Arche in the La Défense business district, Noisy-le-Grand and its Arènes de Picasso buildings, Sarcelles and the Cité du Grand Ensemble tower blocks, and finally, Charles de Gaulle airport and its tentacular terminal to round off the adventure.

All the Buildings in Paris: That I’ve Drawn So Far by James Gulliver Hancock, Rizzoli Universe Promotional Books, 2021. 64 pages, 9.98 dollars.