Have you ever walked down the Rue du Temple in the Marais? If so, you’ve probably walked by an address that doesn’t exist. 1 Bis Rue Chapon. While there actually is a door marked with a 1 Bis at this location, behind this door is nothing but a wall. Is this just an egregious oversight on the part of France’s legendary bureaucracy? Or is there something else going on? In this case, the door to nowhere is very much there on purpose. It is yet another example of the thriving culture of street art in Paris.
The plain green door that sits at 1 Bis Rue Chapon first appeared on a Saturday morning in 2006. It came complete with a buzzer, a mail slot, and a surrounding facade. To the right, a small gold plaque reads, “J.B. & S.B. Specialistes”. The total installation time? Just 30 minutes, done by artists Julien Berthier and Simon Boudvin, the aforementioned J.B and S.B.
The entire artwork, including the doorway, address sign, and the surrounding wall, was meticulously designed in order to adhere to all of the building codes in the neighbourhood. As a result, 1 Bis Rue Chapon blends seamlessly into its surroundings, to the extent that most passersby don’t give it a second glance. However, if you decide to knock on the door to ask just exactly what J.B. and S.B. specialize in, you’ll be waiting for a very long time. Like so many other mysterious doors found in cities across the world, it is up to your imagination to determine where this one leads.
FIND ME HINT
The door to nowhere can be found at the intersection of Rue du Temple and Rue Chapon. Like most walls in Paris, it is often tagged in graffiti, giving this artwork ever more artistic dimensions.
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Laura Moore is a professional storyteller who loves history and the many stories that make Paris one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Join one of her signature tours to learn the story of a city.