In two months time, the impressive municipal stadium at Courbevoie will be completely demolished. Requiem for a building that no-one seems to care about.
In the shadow of the La Defense towers, mechanical machines are busy transforming to dust and ashes a building that has been a feature of the Courbevoie landscape since the 1930s. I have never felt that it is my role on this blog to capture history before it disappears, nor am I someone who thinks that all destruction is a bad thing, but sometimes it seems important to ensure that there is at least one mourner at the funeral.
It will be a shame to see this impressive facade go, but the rest of the facilities have clearly been in a poor state for a long time. Replacing it will be the ultra-modern Cité des loisirs, an architecture which is perhaps more suited to a town that is now intrinsically linked to La Defense business district. And why fight to preserve this now off-white elephant when what will go up in its place will surely be of more use to the community today?
Before it is bulldozed away though, let us pay respect to a place that was once a highly fashionable society venue - during the golden age of dog racing!
The stadium was originally designed as a cynodrome, which - as well as being possibly my favourite French word - also brings to mind something much more refined than a 'dog track'. If press sketches from the time are to be believed, going to the dogs was also once the height of fashion in Paris. These pictures from the 1930s, shortly after the opening of the facility, show a thoroughly modern and comfortable environment with lounge chairs and carpets. Women and men in smart dress sip cocktails, before dining and taking in an evening of racing.