You might think you see a stone turret, a bunch of celebrities hanging out on a balcony, construction in progress or a man precariously dangling from a clock, but what you’re actually looking at is a clever trompe l’oeil work of trickery in paint. Artist Patrick Commecy heads up a team of muralists that transform facades throughout France from blank walls to wacky scenes full of life.
The most dramatic example is a Montpelier building, the back of which is within view of a nearby park (pictured top). Worn and neglected, the structure was a bit of an eyesore as-is. Commecy’s team A-Fresco transformed it with a full faux facade including a tiled roof, windows with balconies and a small tower. The figures seen in the outdoor spaces are famous and influential Montpelier residents throughout history.
Another project involved painting 20 pioneers of mountaineering on the side of the first Guides Office within view of Mont Blanc. The painted-on windows and balconies so closely resemble the real ones on the front of the building, it takes a minute to realize they’re not three-dimensional.
See more of these murals, each tailored to its unique location, at the A-Fresco website (in French.)