Tuesday, October 29, 2013

French ghost signs

Just back and disoriented after a three-week trip to other countries, including a week or so in Paris and Lyon.

Here then are the ghost signs I stumbled on in those parts. What's interesting is that in the four to five days we spent in Paris - which involved us walking around so much we were physical wrecks by the end of each day - few signs revealed themselves. Why? The Paris Is Invisible blog says it well:

"What is clear though is why there are so few examples in Paris. Hand painted adverts need brick to survive! Paris, with its neat stone facades, limited blank wall space and the obligatory sandblasting of buildings could not expect to keep many traces. "

This makes sense...property owners told me that doing anything to buildings in the Arrondissements of inner Paris is a bureaucratic nightmare. Inner Paris is under heavy protection, including the height restrictions that have been around for hundreds of years.

Any large wall signs I did find were invariably in the poorer, less cared-for parts of the city - particularly the north. In fact, I saw quite a few from inside the taxi taking us from Charles De Gaulle airport through the industrial outer north - but alas not long enough to be able to take pics.

Of the signs I did spy, only a few seemed to signal the mass painted product advertising you can see in other countries. Instead many were small in scale, intricate and advertised shops on boards or lintels. These were often beautifully painted, with fine detail.

Anyway here are some pics including ones in Paris and a few in Lyon and Annecy. For more on French ghost signs, Sam Roberts has a good roundup on his site, via his "France" tag: http://www.ghostsigns.co.uk/tag/france.

Nicest fire hydrant sign I've ever seen.

A beauty. Wish my zoom was better...in Montmartre/Pigalle where we were staying

An outstanding couple...the top one has a 1930s date on it. Obviously the locals think so too - this is the first ghost sign I've ever seen protected like this. 

Now out of Paris on train to Lyon...snapped what I could.

That's not a cassette tape - it's my iPhone case. 

The next few are in Lyon

Taken from above - signage of a different order, in the ruins of Roman Lyon. Stelae marking the achievements of dead notables were placed throughout the city (see below ) 

Beautiful deco sign...unfortunately taken at night

Train, in the rain, on the way to Annecy

Annecy: not a ghost sign, but an actual recent painted ad in the covered walkways of the brilliant old city

Ghost coat of arms in the old city


And Annecy...

..and back to Paris. The rest are from the capital. 

Same sign, different sides, night and day.

An uncovering.
In a covered arcade

Not a ghost sign, but one of many fabulous mosaic signs

Ghostly form, ghostly representation

Couldn't quite get a good angle on this one


Jewish ghost sign in Le Marais

Two kinds of ghost signs: the one below and the more sobering one above, a memorial to victims of the Nazis

More mosaic...for a closed public toilet

Still operating

Look above the new gold lettering

Spied by chance in a covered driveway...see the next two too.

Painted in the 1930...somethings

Advertising a shop that has been there since 1846

The perils of vinyl lettering

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