The generally accepted term for these traces of promotional history is ghost signs. There are comparatively few around Paris, very largely for the reasons shown here. Enviromental regulations in Paris demand that homeowners sandblast the façades of their buildings on a regular basis (approximately every 20 years), and most painted elements have long since been removed. Paris is very much a stone city too, whereas many examples of surviving ghost signs around the world were painted on brick (indeed, another term for them is brickads).
This example in my street was therefore something of a rarity in Paris, making it even sadder when I saw it washed away forever. I wanted to tell the workers to do all they could to protect this piece of history, but I cannot blame them for doing their work nor the building owners who wanted a spotless façade after years of living in a decrepid, peeling structure. The building dates perhaps from the 18th century and is an admirable piece of living history itself, so did it need this somewhat gaudy commercial trace?
Why did I want to see this slogan cleaned up and preserved when many today are already protesting against the proliferation of advertising in public places? Firstly I was curious to see what the ad actually said. Although I only ever caught glimpses, I saw enough to discover that it was for a soap product that was used on clothes before the main wash (you may just make out "l'apprêt du linge" above). Secondly, it was the way the text had crept out from a previous covering of paint, and seemingly in immaculate condition. It was like seeing a viking longship appear on a beach after a heavy storm, and I was hoping that archeologists would appear with their delicate hands and gentle brushes and dig this relic out too.
Above all, it seemed to me that it would be an attractive addition to the cityscape, a reminder of the street's past and a splash of colour amongst a collection of whitewashed walls. Those with the power to make the decision chose otherwise, and the city council obviously judged it to be of very minor historical importance. It's just another little bit of history disappearing...