Down below street level in central Paris, a newly painted door opens onto the riverside quay. The door looks quite cosily domestic but what’s behind the barred windows in that dark space under the road?
Some riverside doors have a clear explanation. This was once the home of the lock keeper of l’Écluse de l’Arsenal, the lock between the River Seine and the canal basin. Other doors, functional or closed with masonry, are more mysterious.
Since 1966, when the lower quays along the right bank of the Seine were widened to accommodate a new expressway, many of the old doorways of quayside warehouses and offices have been blocked up. Since 2002 the city council have been experimenting with occasional closure of the highway and old doors have gradually been reopened. This year after the annual summer closure for Paris Plage the expressway stayed closed to traffic. This week the long term closure was finally approved by the full council.
The road closure has been long anticipated and already two new bars have opened in premises built into the quay wall. ‘Opening’ a new business has double significance here as the old doors and windows were previously barricaded or bricked up.
Bijou residence, bin store, pump house or café kitchen? This door is giving no clues yet.
A post for Thursday Doors.