The Way of Saint James through Paris and beyond
As with the Mitt Romney post, this was an enjoyable exercise partly because it was also one-half (one-third really) of a twin post with Invisible Bordeaux. After remarking that the trail (or one of the trails) passed through both of our cities, we set out to walk along them and see what we could learn.
I did the walk one very hot day in August, and decided that it would be best to do it as a kind of drift with the scallop shell as a theme. It was therefore nice to get a message in the comments saying that "this is what I call real contemporary psychogeography" from someone whose work I very much respect.
A Ukranian mystery
This one was a real accident. I was researching a question I had received for one of my challenges (which - many apologies - I still haven't managed to answer) when I came across this sign. Who was this person, and why was this sign in this particular place?
The research took me in many different directions, and it was a mystery that people also tried to help answer in the comments section. Although the conclusion seemed to be that this was some kind of artistic hoax, it is a story that won't go away.
I recently received new comments linking to a post on a French website outlining the links the Ukranian poet had with France, then another pointing out that there is an Urgus Tabarovitch street in Romania. The first would have us believe that an artist from the former Soviet Union would have been able to make regular visits to see a lover in Paris in the 1970s and 80s, whilst the second - although appearing on Google maps - seems impossible to verify (especially as I found a message from someone online who says they added the street name on Google maps. Do I have any readers in Satu Mare who could help?)
I suspect the authors of these messages of being part of the mysterious 'Cercle des Artistes Disparus' - the chief communicators and agitators - and also of writing their posts/comments as a means of answering some of the questions I posed in my original post - but if that's the case, it all adds to the fun!
The Strange Journey of Victor Noir
I'd long been aware of Victor Noir's tomb at Père Lachaise, but considered that the story was already too well known to feature it on Invisible Paris. However, when wandering around Neuilly one day, I was surprised to find myself on a Rue Victor Noir. What were his links to the town? After some quick research I found that he had originally been buried in the town's cemetery, before being moved - by popular demand - to a more prestigious resting place at Père Lachaise.
I had therefore found my angle into a fascinating - and strange - story, and it showed me once again that even the familiar can become unfamiliar if looked at from another angle.
Le Déclin and a fall from grace
A trip to a vintage postcard fair at the beginning of the year proved very fruitful for research and inspiration - but it's always quite a painstaking job! Firstly you have to elbow your way into place alongside some serious collectors, then flick through literally thousands of postcards until something stands out.
I was immediately struck by this card, partly because of the melancholic statue, but also because of its very working class setting. The goal of this post was therefore to find out what had happened to the statue and the city behind it, and it lead me to some interesting finds...and I still desperately want to visit the city of Paris's art collection storage space in Ivry!
I picked up another postcard that day that became a very long, interesting and rewarding project - and one that I will be publishing more information about very soon. The next postcard fair is in January, so I hope to make a few more discoveries soon.
1 Bis Rue Chapon: the address that doesn't really exist
Sometimes there are things that are genuinely surreal, and need very little additional explanations! Suffice to say that I remembered hearing about this story quite a long time ago, and didn't imagine that it would still be in place when I went to find it. It was though, and it's still there today!