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The Peculiar Poetry of Paris’s Lost and Found
New Yorker, by Nadja Spiegelman

Original Article

Posted By:MissMolly, 9/12/2017 5:10:11 PM

On the southern edge of Paris, a five-thousand-square-foot basement houses the city’s lost possessions. The Bureau of Found Objects, as it is officially called, is more than two hundred years old, and one of the largest centralized lost and founds in Europe. Any item left behind on the Métro, in a museum, in an airport, or found on the street and dropped, unaddressed, into a mailbox makes its way here, around six or seven hundred items each day. Umbrellas, wallets, purses, and mittens line the shelves, along with less quotidian possessions: a wedding dress with matching shoes, a prosthetic leg,

      


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Reply 1 - Posted by: hpmatt, 9/12/2017 6:40:22 PM     (No. 11381394)

The last 10 years a lot more heads w/o bodies have been coming in.... very strange and unexplained...

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Reply 2 - Posted by: Timber Queen, 9/13/2017 2:52:39 AM     (No. 11381696)

Actually, this is a nice meditation on private property ownership and the importance of everyday things in our lives, that we don´t notice until they are gone.

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Reply 3 - Posted by: earlybird, 9/16/2017 2:03:12 PM     (No. 11385433)

This article, which I missed when posted but just read at another source, deserves a boost. A very good read.

Not all is “lost property” in the usual sense. Some of the wallets were lifted by pickpockets, who often take money and discard everything else in the nearest trash bin. The story about the woman and her flowered wallet, and some of its very personal, very treasured contents, is especially nice. And one some of us can relate to.

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Reply 4 - Posted by: earlybird, 9/16/2017 2:09:30 PM     (No. 11385438)

(cont’d)

The bureau today contains a small detective service, dedicated to tracking down the owners of particularly precious things—but they have limited access to the Internet for reasons of cybersecurity. Instead, they rely on tried and true methods, such as calling the number on a doctor’s business card, inquiring about his past patients; a lost pouch of diamonds was allegedly once returned to its American owner in this way. Another time, Balsan told me, she came across a lost golden flute. She found the owner by calling the conservatory, whose stamp was on a musical partition inside the case. “The only thing that we haven’t received is a grand piano,” Balsan told me.

This article is typical of the OLD New Yorker, the one some of us used to love. The one that went off and left us.

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