Saturday, 20 August 2011

Paper-thin & Prêt-à-tomber

In the incessant battle to find new real-estate to exploit in the hunting ground of Haussmann, drastic measures are being taken by developers.

The latest building promoter sleight of hand is to construct only the facade and attempt to sell it on-line as a veritable classic old Parisian apartment block using interior photos swiped from other sites.

It's only when the hapless hander-overer of hard-earned euros comes to inspect their new property that they realise, upon opening the front door to find... an empty back yard or factory or textile sweatshop or Asian fast-food wholesaler that they've been well and truly taken to the cleaners.

Admittedly these crooks often only get away with a deposit, but for a fairly central Parisian block this can in itself be substantial, and well worth their time and effort to build the street-facing pastiche.

Incredibly, even the Paris authorities are often not aware that anything untoward is going on until the complaints start rolling in. And as the buyers are often somewhat shady themselves, they tend to take their losses and look for compensation elsewhere...

So watch out for this strange phenomenon - there are quite a few of these paper-thin ghost facades scattered around the city, and if you get the angle right you can get a very good idea of the scam being pulled. Unbelievable...

(A Paris iPhone street photograph by Sab Will for the 'Paris and I' photo blog @ )

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