Monday, 27 March 2017

Challenge 11: the WW1 memorial that never was

Tracking down a war memorial last seen in the Père Lachaise cemetery nearly 100 years ago seemed like a tough task, particularly when the challenge came from Paris graveyard art expert who did not recall ever having seen such a thing before. But despite the photographic evidence to the contrary, what if the memorial had simply never actually existed? 

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

The allée Guy Debord: real!

Nearly a year ago I published a post on this blog about a mysterious address on the edge of Paris. Although the allée Guy Debord was mentioned on maps, there seemed to be no evidence of it in the location itself. So did it really exist? The question was all the more interesting given the identity of the person concerned and the post-modern landscape in which the street was supposedly located. 

Sunday, 29 January 2017

The lost world at the heart of Paris

Although it is difficult to plot the centre of a city coiled into 20 different arrondissements, geographically the spot wouldn’t be too far away from the Place du Chatêlet. Despite this centrality, the square and its surrounding streets wear an air of melancholic emptiness, as if imprisoned by their stifling past.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

"Le France" d'en bas

When you live alongside giants, being tall is nothing special. This might be the perspective of the 'Le France' tower in Puteaux, which stretches up to the sky, only to still find itself in the shadows of the neighbouring La Défense constructions. Worse still, it cannot even claim the crown of the tallest residential tower in the Paris region. Though more down to earth in character, the Tour Défense 2000, also in Puteaux, beats it by 8 metres.

Does this then also explain the modesty of the 'Le France' development, which also includes a covered shopping centre, and its inability to change with the times? Let's go back to the beginning.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Welcome to Pantin, the new Paris

Everybody is talking about the future Grand Paris but nobody seems quite sure what this label represents. Through its move from Paris to Pantin, could a major advertising agency be pointing the way forward? 

A mile or so beyond the Paris city limits, unofficially defined by the winding périphérique motorway, stands an imposing concrete and glass edifice. Although softened by the canal that runs alongside, the robust industrial origins of the building remain written large. This structure – the Magasins Généraux - was originally built in the 1930s as a grain warehouse before being taken over by French Customs. It was finally abandoned in the early 1990s.
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