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Thursday, 14 November, 2002, 19:26 GMT
Mystery plaques puzzle Parisians
Fake plaque on Paris street
The signs are made to look like the genuine article
Locals and visitors to Paris have been baffled by a series of memorial plaques that have sprung up on buildings across the city.

It has long been a tradition to mount such signs on the outside of buildings where noteworthy people lived or events occurred, but on closer inspection some of them turn out to be fake.


It makes me smile and it gives my building a bit of celebrity

Pascale Desnos, local resident
In the eastern part of the city one that appeared on a building read: "On April 17, 1967 - nothing happened here."

Local opinion on the new phenomenon is divided, but some are clearly not amused - with one city councillor, Claire de Clermont-Tonnerre, demanding an inquiry into who is behind the prank.

"They're funny, but only for about five minutes," she said.

Tip of the iceberg?

The plaques all seem to be the work of the same person - the words are stencilled on imitation marble and the plaques placed high overhead where they are glued in place, although they appear to be screwed in.

So far, around half a dozen have been discovered, although it is believed that there could be many more.

One claims that the building it is attached to was the home of civil servant Karima Bentiffa.

It reads "Karima Bentiffa, civil servant, lived here from 1984 to 1989."

However, no such person ever lived in that building and indeed there is no record of anyone by that name ever having lived anywhere in the city.

Divided opinion

Another plaque, this time in the old Jewish quarter simply reads: "This plaque was laid on December 19, 1953."

Some people think that the plaques display a sense of humour and should be retained.

One woman who lives in the building bearing the sign that says "Nothing happened here" is certainly more than happy to see it stay.

"It makes me smile and it gives my building a bit of celebrity," Pascale Desnos said.

But others are not convinced.

"Paris is a city of history. It should be respected," said one local, Marie-Pierre Amblarda. "I find them ridiculous."

See also:

28 Jul 00 | UK
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