BldgBlog recently posted about a door to nowhere in Paris, installed four years ago in the 3rd arrondisement. Complete with fake address, facade, faux business sign and a Parisian-style door with a central doorknob (now missing), it still exists today. The “bis” in the address is an address that was designated when a lot was split. “Bis” is also used in music, to mean “repeat, “twice,” or “encore.” You will also see addresses labeled “ter.” Though “regularly graffitied it is even cleaned by the city service,” reports artist Julian Berthier who installed the facade with Simon Boudvin in thirty minutes on an early Sunday morning in 2006.

When I saw the photographs in BldgBlog, the signage of the store next door looked terribly familiar. Cut off in the picture, the store is actually COMPTOIR LUX at 113 Rue du Temple and Berthier’s door is located at the intersection of Rue du Temple and Rue Chapon. This area is full of wholesale accessory retailers and a small strip of Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants. Just nearby is the Hà´tel de Ville (Town Hall) of the 3rd arrondisement, the Arts et Métiers  museum, and Republique, a large square and metro hub.

From top: Fake address sign, company sign and the real window of the building to which the fake door is attached to
Photograph ©  Untapped Cities by Michelle Young

It was a typical May day in Paris with sporadic torrential downpours. I was thankful for the lens-hood on my camera, enabling me to snap a few photographs but I’ll be back soon.

Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.

4 thoughts on “Berthier’s Door: Found in Paris

  1. For french readers :
    Billet dans lequel vous pourrez trouver une petite analyse supplémentaire sur l’adresse et le rà´le de l’art et des “non-lieux dans la ville”

    “Julien Berthier et Simon Boudvin remettent en jeu l’apparence de l’espace urbain et la possibilité pour une entreprise artistique de s’immiscer dans la ville. Jusqu’àƒ   ce que les services de nettoyage, en enlevant les tags inscrits sur la porte quelques mois après la pose de la faà§ade, avalisent l’existence de l’adresse. […] La matérialisation d’une adresse réelle pour abriter une profession apparemment fictive crée un non-lieu qui ne relève ni de l’utopique, ni de la pratique.”

    Clément Dirié, « Le Non-Lieu Commun »

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