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‘French Scotland Yard’ celebrates centenary

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-08-01

Paris’s legendary 36 Quai des Orfèvres, the headquarters of the police's criminal investigation division, celebrated a bittersweet 100th anniversary on Thursday amid plans to move the unit to a more modern building.

An address that haunts the imagination of the French and has been made legendary by detective books and films, the "36 Quai des Orfèvres" turned 100 on Thursday, with a commemorative stamp created to mark the occasion.

The equivalent of Britain’s Scotland Yard, it is the headquarters of the French capital’s criminal investigation police unit, known in the country as the Police Judiciaire.

The building has inspired many authors and filmmakers, most notably Belgian novelist Georges Simenon, whose fictitious inspector Jules Maigret appeared in over 100 detective novels and short stories cherished in France and abroad.


More recently, the address was used as the title of the 2004 police drama starring French film stars Gérard Depardieu and Daniel Auteuil, in which the two leading men battle bandits and each other to become the next director of the elite police unit.

It is located on the Île de la Cité, one of two natural islands on the Seine river in central Paris, adjacent to the Palais de Justice.

To mark the occasion, France's national post service said the building’s façade would grace 1.5 million stamps available for purchase from September 13.

But the landmark's 100th birthday could also be one of its last as the HQ of the Police Judiciaire.

The investigative unit is scheduled to move to more modern premises in Paris's 17th district starting in 2016.

Law enforcement officials have told French media that while the “36” held a mythical status among them, the 100-year-old facility presented too many challenges for modern-day police work.

Date created : 2013-08-01


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