Over the last few weeks I have watched history being washed away from the street in which I live. This may seem a strange thing to say when the result is a suberbly renovated ancient building, but the peeling away of layers of grime has also peeled away a layer of time. The walls of this structure are now magnolia white, but two timeworn handpainted advertising panels have disappeared forever.
The generally accepted term for these traces of promotional history is ghost signs. There are comparatively few around Paris, very largely for the reasons shown here. Enviromental regulations in Paris demand that homeowners sandblast the façades of their buildings on a regular basis (approximately every 20 years), and most painted elements have long since been removed. Paris is very much a stone city too, whereas many examples of surviving ghost signs around the world were painted on brick (indeed, another term for them is brickads).