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Another Symbol of French Colonialism Defaced

Thursday, December 31st, 2020

Another Symbol of French Colonialism Defaced

Cover image: First floor façade at 10-12, rue des Petits-Carreaux, Paris 2è
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It's been almost two years since I walked down rue des Petits-Carreaux in the Montorgueil quarter of Paris' 2nd arrondissement.  Tom and I strolled through Châtelet and Les Halles on Christmas Day and decided to make our way up this nearby market street before taking the metro home.

At Number 10-12, there is a vestige of colonial France affixed to the façade on the first floor (2nd floor in U.S. terms) - a ceramic painting signed "Crommer" that depicts a black man serving a white man seated on bags of what are presumably coffee beans harvested and packaged in a French colony.  The façade of the building, which dates from 1890 and housed a shop that sold "exotic products" (principally coffee), was classified an historic monument on May 23, 1984.

I immediately noted that the painting has been defaced with black paint balls.

Façade at 10-12, rue des Petits-Carreaux, Paris 2è
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When I saw this, I thought of the similar fate of another colonial image and its accompanying signage - Au Nègre Joyeux - that was once located in a similar position at a building in the 5th arrondissement.  This has been permanently removed.

Au Nègre Joyeux defaced by paintballs
2015 ©Discover Paris!

Above the painting on rue des Petits-Carreaux, the sign "Au Planteur" presents the name of the establishment. (During the colonial era, "planteur" signified someone who owned or operated a plantation.)  The words "aucune succursale" beneath the painting literally mean "no branch."  In other words, the owner of the store had no other outlets for selling his products.

As I took my photographs of the building, several people pulled out their smart phones to snap pictures of it as well.

To my knowledge, there are no plans to remove this painting from the building's façade. 

Defaced: Au Planteur - Aucune Succursale
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