Cool Stuff in Paris. By Manning Leonard Krull.

Fake doorway on Rue Chapon

1 bis, Rue Chapon, Paris 75003 (Map)

I lived on Rue Chapon for two years, a block from this weird little office entrance, and every time I strolled by I used to wonder what on earth it could be. The sign just says, "specialistes" Seriously? Specialists at what exactly? It just sounds delightfully, pretentiously Parisian, which is wonderful.

Fast forward a couple years and a friend of mine links to an article about fake building facades, and Rue Chapon is in it! This office is really just a fake doorway on an otherwise empty wall! Of course I ran over to take another look at the thing as fast as I could so I could get some pictures.

The door, wall, address number, and plaque are actually part of an art installation by Julien Berthier, and it went up in 2006. You can see a "before" picture at the link above, and also a picture of the guys putting the thing up. Back then the wall and this whole little corner were nice and clean, but now the whole place is covered with garbage and graffiti, making it seem like these specialistes aren't exactly speclializing in maintaining a nice, presentable image.

I love how the artist even added a fake but legit-looking address: "1 bis," basically means "1B" or "1½" — when you see "bis" on a French address like this it usually means at some point number 1 got divided up into two apartments and they had to make up an address for the new place that goes in between 1 and 2.

Anyway, this fake doorway isn't one of those things where I'd say, "you need to go see this!" but it's one of those things where if you were already going to be in the area I'd say, "you should go check this out while you're there!" It's a very short walk from the Musée des Arts et Métiers (not to mention the cool steampunk Métro station) and not far from the Centre Pompidou. If you like secret, hidden, and mysterious stuff (and if you don't, then what the hell are you even doing on this website?) then it's worth checking out!


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