Prisoners to the city’s transport network and electricity supply, these pretenders stand smug, fooling passersby day after day.
Next time you find yourself by 145 rue Lafayette, look up and you’ll see the typical Haussmannien building (the middle block) in the photo above. Despite being complete with door, windows and balconies, you’ll find no knocker or doorbell at the front door.
When the RATP (Parisian transport operator) set about extending the RER B line in the 1980s, they needed to install ventilation for the tunnel and acquired several plots to construct glorified chimneys. During the works, it was decided that the facades of such structures should be preserved, so as not to alter the streetscape.
If you want to check from the comfort of your home, take a look at the satellite view.
Along with the RATP, EDF (Electricity of France) also have a few of their discreet agents dotted about the city.
Here are a few more hollow houses to get you started…
29, rue Quinquimpoix – another chimney painted in disguise
141, boulevard Diderot – an RATP recovery centre
53, rue des Archives – an EDF transformer
False Facades | Art & culture | Free
145 Rue la Fayette, Paris, France
24 hours daily