Paris has many architectural surprises. One of the most unusual is located in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, rue Pierre Nicole. A surprising ground floor that has caught the eye of passers-by for over 40 years.
At 11 bis rue Pierre Nicole, a few steps from Val-de-Grâce, a modern building was built in the 1980s, at first glance without much architectural interest. Yet beneath its façade of white ceramic squares lies a Parisian curiosity. The entrance hall represents a false ruin, where a column, a temple door and a partially destroyed fountain mingle. A modern trompe-l’oeil fresco is added to this original decor. Successful pastiche or haphazard work? It’s up to you !
This small ancient ruin is actually inspired by those of Pompeii. Work of architects Patrick Demanche, Alain Peskine, Daniel Bertrand and Jean-Pierre Roullé, who are also at the origin of the design and construction of the building, the fresco was created by the visual artist Ncoc Duong Varoqui. Two blissful-looking tourists, quenching their thirst with a Coke, seem to be posing in front of an ancient palace.
This building entrance is not the simple result of crazy ideas from architects and artists in search of recognition. The building at 11 bis rue Pierre Nicole adjoins the site of an old chapel, one of the oldest in Paris. It is here, between 13 and 22 rue Pierre Nicole, that Saint-Denis converted the first Parisians to Christianity. A crypt, unfortunately inaccessible to the public, still exists under the building at 14bis of the street. The work of 11 bis is an ode to the mythical past of this street and its founding history of Paris.
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