Tuesday, 21 February 2017

The allée Guy Debord: real!

Nearly a year ago I published a post on this blog about a mysterious address on the edge of Paris. Although the allée Guy Debord was mentioned on maps, there seemed to be no evidence of it in the location itself. So did it really exist? The question was all the more interesting given the identity of the person concerned and the post-modern landscape in which the street was supposedly located. 

Wrapping itself around the Millénaire shopping centre and inside the V of two stretches of canal, in the most part the address is little more than a footpath. Paris apparently cuts half-way through the allée, but readers from last year will surely be pleased to know that the bright red bridge does now offer direct access to and from the city. 

Following Twitter discussions on whether the address did really exist or not, and finding myself in the area, I decided to have another look for proof. The bridge may now be operational, but the landscape has changed little. The shopping centre is still marooned in the mock pastoral, lapped by scruffy lawns and grey water. Along the Canal Saint Denis, industry has been levelled but nothing industrious has developed since. This is where I finally find the missing evidence.

There remain no street signs along the arteries labelled 'Allée Guy Debord' in the map above. Instead, the sign below was found just at the point where the thin black line - a genuine footpath - begins.  

Further along there is a second, before the footpath ends in a complete dead-end. New housing borders the allée, but I'm not sure who lives here. This part of Aubervilliers has become a centre of Chinese wholesale traders, and a Chinese family were sitting on a wall, quietly observing me whilst I took photos of their street sign. 

They must have wondered exactly what I was doing - and why I was smiling. It was though not just a mystery solved but also exactly what an address named after Guy Debord should look like. 


Dom Ciancibelli said...

Good to hear from you again Adam. A very interesting story. I shall visit on my next travels to Paris. Thanks a million for keepinng this blog going.
Best regards,

musard said...

Sans doute en référence à cette promenade que Debord qualifiait de "dérive" : "C’est par la belle et tragique rue d’Aubervilliers que Debord et Wolman continuent à marcher vers le nord. Ils y déjeunent au passage. Ayant emprunté le boulevard Macdonald jusqu’au canal Denis, ils suivent la rive droite de ce canal vers le nord, stationnant plus ou moins longuement dans divers bars de mariniers. Immédiatement au nord du pont du Landy, ils passent le canal à une écluse qu’ils connaissent et arrivent à 18 h. 30 dans un bar espagnol couramment nommé par les ouvriers qui le fréquentent “ Taverne des Révoltés ”, à la pointe la plus occidentale d’Aubervilliers, face au lieudit La Plaine, qui fait partie de la commune de Denis. Ayant repassé l’écluse, ils errent encore un certain temps dans Aubervilliers, qu’ils ont parcouru des dizaines de fois la nuit, mais qu’ils ignorent au jour. L’obscurité venant, ils décident enfin d’arrêter là cette dérive, jugée peu intéressante en elle-même." https://infokiosques.net/imprimersans2.php3?id_article=357

Adam said...

Merci musard. Je ne sais pas si c'est lié, mais c'est en tout cas une connexion fascinante !

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