Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Rivoli Squat (chez Robert, electron libre)

This building is very famous in Paris. It stands in a large shopping street called La rue de Rivoli, in the middle of Paris and it's been squatted since November 1999 by several artists (that is why they call it a "Squarts"). It was possible to "visit" it freely and possibly buy the artists' work but since March 1st, 2005, for security reasons - among others... - it has been closed to the public. The situation is pretty tense for this has been widely exposed to the medias and no politician will take the risk to kick the artists out. If you want to discover the artist works, go to their site (in French).


  1. Eric, do you mean that the artists live there for free since 1999, and in return work on their art and sell it?

  2. Sophie. Not exactly. The building belongs to a bank that left it empty for a while. The artists spoted it and simply moved in.

    The law is very protective; although it is definitely a felony to move in a private property without permission (that is a lease for instance), if you can prove that you have been in the place for more that 48 hours, you cannot be thrown out of the place without a legal procedure that can take years. (Here, it has been 6 years already...)

    Since you speak French you can have a look at this site which will tell you exactly how to do.

  3. 48 hours ?? That's a very short amount of time within which to establish so called "rights" to the property The legal owner may not even find out about the squatter until several days later. When did the bank start their legal proceedings ?

  4. > No, you're right and that is often the problem.

    Banks will only sue the owner if he does not pay the mortage, otherwise they don't give a damn whether the house is legally occupied or not. The owner can take a legal action, but like I was saying it can take years. So in the meantine the owner has to pay. Generally these buildings belong to large institutions (like here a bank) so they can afford to deal with that. When it's a small owner it can be dramatic.

  5. Eric, I think you didn't understood dev's question. En français, il disait que 48h, ça laissait peu de temps au proprio pour s'apercevoir qu'un squatter occupait ses locaux. Et il demandait quand la banque avait commencé à aller en justice pour essayer de virer les artistes-squatters. Mais, euh, je me trompe peut-être aussi...
    Back to english : squatting is not a good thing, OK. But there are lots of free buildings in Paris with nobody living in. At the same time, the rents are so high that only rich people can nowadays live in Paris. So, it's not a surprise that some squat those empty buildings. It's better than being homeless... And I don't cry about a "poor" bank...

  6. It's a difficult issue - right to shelter and making use of abandoned property which is clearly being wasted vs. respecting property rights. I don't cry for the big bad banks either (they'll just pass their losses/costs on to their customers) but I think property rights need to be respected for the sake of individual owners.