Saturday, 5 March 2011

Paris Places ~ 'Blue Door Bizarre'

POSTED IN:  ~ PlacesCuriosities ~ Buildings ~ 20th

Blue Door Bizarre

My original question on the Paris Photo Quiz was:

"What's strange about this little blue door?"

As I said in the quiz, there are hundreds of blue doors in Paris, so why should this one be any different and any more special.

I'll tell you. Look closely at where it starts. Wouldn't you agree that we are, in fact, talking about half way up the wall? Not a particularly convenient place for a door to start, to the extent that they had to build a (rather cute) little staircase to allow access.

But that staircase wasn't always there. Once upon a century and a half ago the occupants of numbers 134 and 136 rue de Bagnolet (there's another door like this one next door) could saunter up to their house and skip straight in without so much as a hint of a hop or a jump.

The bottom of that blue door, you see, used to be well and truly anchored at street level. So what happened?

Well here we are in the 20th arrondissement of the city, and things used to be a lot... humpier than they are today. So much so that your average cart horse would have a few problems as soon as there were a few barrels or sacks aboard.

For this reason, the street was levelled off in the middle of the 19th century, leaving these two blue doors hanging in mid-air. Absolutely lovely little staircases they made though, don't you think, with their iron railings and twisting steps framing the little Hobbit-hole door leading to what would have been underground around 1840.

Both these pictures (including the much less sexy and far more realistic second one) come from a great walk I did recently with my Paris If You Please Meet Up group in the 20th arrondissement as one of a series we're doing taking us through every arrondissement of the city, spiralling in to the centre. I thoroughly recommend it, as the 20th has a ton of surprises if you wander around a bit.

Do let me know your favourite quirk of the 20th, or any other arrondissement for that matter, if you have one, as I collect them, you see.
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This item first appeared on my Paris Photo Quiz blog, where you can test your knowledge of Paris curiosities and maybe win some cool bookmarks. Check it out, and say Sab sent ya!
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© 2011 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Suggestions, questions, requests and commissions always welcome!

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